Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Did a Kamikaze pilot save my father's off of Okinawa?

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by gaweidert, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. gaweidert

    gaweidert New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2015
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    16
    While my mother knew of the story I never knew of it until just before my father died. My father was a gun captain in the 3# turret of the U.S.S. Washington during WWII. They spent the entire battle of Okinawa in the battle zone leaving only to refuel. He was also the most patient man I ever knew. Nothing ever seemed to get him riled up. My mother merely said he had the patience of Job.

    Right after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, I got laid off from my job of 24 years. In some ways this was a blessing as I was able to drive him to his chemotherapy and radiation treatments. As I was driving him to the doctor's one day he told me that he had no fear of dying and that he should have died some 44 years before. A lot of men of his generation never got to live the life he lived as they were cut short in their prime. Then he told me of the Kamikaze attack.

    He was leading a work detail outside of the #3 turret when a Kamikaze came diving at the ship out of the sun. Nobody saw it until it was almost too late. As leader of the detail he was responsible for the safety of the crew so he immediately ordered them into the turret. He never made it. The plane seemed to be diving right at him when at the last minute it veered off and flew down the side of the ship whee the AA fire form the ship shot it down. The plane passed about 50 feet from him and he could clearly see the pilots face as he flew by. He never knew if the swerve was deliberate or not. This attack is actually mentioned in the book "Battleship At War" which is a history of the ship in WWII.

    But to him that was the day he was supposed to die. Every day since, good or bad, was a gift from God so he accepted them as such. Right after he died I mentioned to my mother that I wonder if he will get to meet the pilot of that plane. She said that that was her first thought too.
     
  2. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    3,114
    Likes Received:
    349
    Location:
    New England
    Thank you for sharing that story. God bless men like your father.
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,591
    Likes Received:
    2,181
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    A good story. I guess we'll never know if it was a deliberate act or not, but the fact remains that your father believed it to be so. He lived his life to honor that. I am currently reading Toll's second book on the Pacific war and I'm constantly amazed at the casual heroism of the ordinary man.
     
  4. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,534
    Likes Received:
    182
    Location:
    Pannonia
    Why doesn't Hollywood make movies based on the real yet interesting stories from history like this one?
     

Share This Page