My recollections of that fateful day in 1944 are hazy but vivid in a few details. My station was the Secondary Con. After the first hit and with the fantail gone
just a few feet from me, I am under the impression that an order came to move forward. I moved to a spot on the port side near the bridge and was standing right next to Ernie Fox, GM 3/c (he was killed). I remember the big one hitting and then there was a blank. The next thing I knew I was below the surface of the water, fighting to make my way up. As I rose I felt the side of the ship and pushed off from it. Thank God for my life preserver. I bobbed around for a few minutes, spotted a PT boat, waved and hollered, and was picked up by it. I was taken to a
LST and eventually back to Plymouth. Among those on the LST was George Gass,SK, who was
severely wounded and did not make it.
One of the great heroes to me was the
torpedo man Smith (Could this have been Mize, Peyton H. TM2)? As I heard it, when the
torpedoes began to steam, he attempted to turn them out to sea. While he was doing this we took the second direct hit and he was injured to the extent that he became a paraplegic. If this is the case and he has been unrecognized for his heroism, a grave injustice has been done.
God bless all of you.
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