Friday, May 20, 2005

Survivors from The Battle of Coral Sea - USS NEOSHO (AO-23)

While checking the referring links, I followed one of the inbound search engine links back. They had come looking up "whaleboat." One of the other links presented with one of my posts was to a 1st person story about the sinking of the USS NEOSHO (AO-23), a fleet oiler, at the Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942. for those without an understanding of the significance of that battle in WWII, it was the first time the US forces in the Pacific took offensive action against the Japanese. It was pretty much a draw, but it stopped the advance of the Japanese in the Pacific, and after that, we just kept pushing them back to their homeland. I am always facinated by 1st person reports, and this link provides some good reading. This quote is of particular interest, as there was some similar discussions on this topic when I spent the afternoon with Dick Rohde, regarding being in the rafts after the Battle Off Samar:
"Three whaleboats were put safely over the side of the tanker," continued the sailor. "One of them took me and the other wounded from a raft and the other two boats were also rapidly filling with men. "When it became apparent there wouldn't be enough room for all the men struggling in the water. Lieutenant Bradford suddenly stood up and said: ‘I guess those of us not wounded will have to get off.’” “Then he dived into the water. “Several other uninjured men in our boat followed his example and we later learned that fifteen men in all had voluntarily quit the whaleboats to make room for the wounded. The lieutenant and two enlisted men of the fifteen survived."
Read the link on the NEOSHO. It will give you an appreciation for the perils of the sea service, when you have a capable enemy to confront. To get even more info on the story, this link will provide more detail on the NEOSHO, as well as having links to Bill Leu's video interview (the person who did the 1st person report mentioned above)..

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