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(continued)

  
    When Destroyer Escort Rich steamed to the aid of the disabled destroyer Glennon on that ill-omened morning of June 8th, her skipper, Lieutenant Commander E. A. Michel knew th DE was entering dangerous waters. Rich had been patrolling to seaward of the Task Force 125 Bombardment Group - Nevada, Quincy, Tuscaloosa, and HMS Black Prince - when she was ordered by Admiral Deyo to lend Glennon a helping hand. Not only was the sea in Glennon's vicinity a probable mine nest, but it was also within range of the Quineville shore batteries. However, the DE's skipper did not hesitate. In the dry, official language of the Navy, he "proceeded in his vessel with utmost dispatch, with disregard of the danger from enemy gunfire and possible mines, and stood by close aboard the stricken ship to render assistance."

    As she neared the Glennon, the destroy-escort lowered a motor whaleboat which headed for the disabled ship. At that point, as related in the Glennon story, the destroyer signaled Rich that her assistance was unnecessary, and warned her to beware of mines.

    Observing that the Glennon was in no need of immediate help, Lieutenant Commander Michel turned the DE close under the destroyer's stern, and passing Glennon's starboard side, headed away. Recall was signaled to the whaleboat, and seamen stood ready to hoist the craft aboard.

    Rich's captain was taking every precaution - slow speed; the ship squared away for emergency; all hands topside instructed to maintain a sharp lookout for enemy planes and drifting mines. But there were undersea mines which a lookout could not detect - mines which drifted deep under in the tidal currents and were set to explode by "influence" when they entered a ship's magnetic field.

    About 0920. Rich was about 300 yards from the minesweeper Staff, which was then engaged in taking Glennon in tow. The minesweeper and the DE had passed through these waters not long before; they were clean enough, then. But now...

    A stunning explosion burst the sea about 50 yards off Rich's starboard beam. The seaquake shook the DE from stem to stern; sent sailors stumbling from their stations; tripped the circuit breakers, and knocked out the ship's light and power. Three depth charges in their arbors were flung from their projectors into the water, and two others hurled to the deck. 

    But the charges did not explode, and there was no serious damage from the mine blast. The forward engine-room reported "light and power regained, ready to answer all bells." Some gauge lines had suffered injury, and instrument glasses had been shattered. Nothing worse.

    But that was only the beginning...


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