Sunday, April 10, 2005

Living History - Dick Rohde

I had the honor of spending yesterday afternoon with a man who was a part of the last naval battle: The Battle Off Samar. I blogged about this battle here on the 60th anniversary of the battle. Richard Rohde was a radioman aboard the USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (DE-413) on Oct 25th, 1944. The battle is well documented in Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by James Hornfischer. Imagine running at full speed towards the YAMATO, all 68,000 tons, in a 1745 ton destroyer escort. It's somewhat of a skewed battle, taking 2 5"/38 caliber guns up against 9 18.1" guns. The battle is the last naval battle to have taken place, and it was a fierce one. Dick was there, and was wounded, and then suffered throught two days in the shark infested waters off Leyte Gulf before being rescued. He graciously spent almost 5 hours with me, sharing some stories, and listening to a few of mine, and it's amazing how so much of Navy life is still the same. One man killed that day aboard the "Sammie B" was Paul Henry Carr. I was XO aboard USS CARR (FFG-52), which is what has made the opportunity to meet Dick a special occassion, as I have heard something of Paul, who won the Silver Star for his heroism that day and to get a sense of the battle that day. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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