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George W. Carlson, SEA 2/c

    My wife and I planned to be with you at the 50th reunion but due to my heart attack were unable to attend. We plan to be with you next year.

    You mentioned if we had any recollections of the sinking of the Rich. I was rendered unconscious, but I do remember going to GQ that morning. I was in my bunk and jumped out -- putting on my shoes. I put on one of mine and a much larger one. A machinist mate's bunk was below mine. To this day, I wonder how he got into the smaller one. I know he survived because I saw him at the survivors camp in England.

    My CQ station was with Harry Peterson on the large search light on the port side. I was the recorder with headphones. Harry was reading the message to pick up survivors off the Glennon and I was recording it.

    The first explosion occurred. In a minute or two every-thing was reported OK. Don't recall ever finishing the message when the second explosion occurred. I must have gone into shock, because I can not remember the third explosion at all. It was my duty to give the code books to an officer on the bridge, who would throw them over the side in a weighted bag. I went up to the flying bridge and was told to throw them over myself.

    I remember seeing the executive officer pinned under the mast in his chair on the flying bridge. He was commanding to get the young off first. Going back down to the wheel house, I do not recall seeing anyone there. At this point I do not recall anything except someone helping me off the ship onto a PT boat. I came to four hours later aboard a LST headed for England. I was not hurt too bad. A sore back, a cut on the chin, loose teeth and a few missing teeth.

    Sent back to the states for dental work and a new ship.


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Last update: Sunday, May 16, 2010