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From The Last Voyage of the USS Rich by Edwin B. Black

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    She was brand new. She was laid down by the Defoe Shipbuilding Company on 27 March 1943 and was launched 22 June 1943. Who could tell that 15 days short of one year later, she would die a hero off Utah Beach in the Normandy invasion in World War II. 

    So many of her men were still in their teens, the commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. E. A. Michel, Jr., USNR, may have felt like a dad taking his sons on a cruise.

    It just didn't seem real. The duty of the USS Rich was to escort convoys across the Atlantic to England and to lounge in Londonderry until the supply ships and troop ships were ready to return to the States. She would join them and escort them back across the submarine infested Atlantic. Just before she was to sail back to the States in early June, 1944, another DE broke down in Plymouth Harbor and the Rich was fingered to take that DE's place. Whether they ever expected it or not, the young crew of the USS Rich was in the war. It just didn't seem real. The Rich was given more armament and assigned as a protective ship for the Battleship USS Nevada (BB 36).

    And so begins the story of their road to glory for the crew of the USS Rich. Unseasoned men, many of whom were still only 19, fresh out of high school, bravely volunteering to do their part in winning the war for freedom; men who had not seen blood, death, friends and comrades blown to pieces: men who had not heard the thunder of a battleship's great guns, the roar of enemy aircraft, the scream of passing bullets, who had never felt the sickening shock of being blown straight up out of their shoes - up as high as 50 feet into the air!

    But, they rose to their calling and gave all that they had. Many, many made the ultimate sacrifice. Some did survive.

    Herein, they tell their stories of the deeds done on that awesome day in June, 1944, as a world struggled against the Nazi tyranny. Ed Black has taken their stories and has woven a narrative to make those men and their stories live in history to show the world the hell of war and the great worth of good men - some who fight and live to tell the story and some who die and live in honored glory.

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Experiences Table of Contents

Note - Ed Black would like to thank Edmond Locklear, Jr. for his help in editing The Last Voyage of the USS Rich.

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Last update: Sunday, May 16, 2010