From a Navy Boy to His Mother
U. S. S. South Dakota
It is about time that another of our crew letters found its way to
you. Here it is and we hope that you enjoy it, in all three
the time being our troubles are over but the past weeks have been full
of activity and invaluable experience. In the first place we have
been members of a mighty team wearing the uniform of our Uncle
Sam. We have been cogs in a collossal wheel which has ground into
the dust a few more Japs. It has been a great privilege to do our
part and do it well. Perhaps in all of our letters you should
keep that in mind. We are doing the part that is assigned to us
as well as we can. Some outfits have greater parts, some have
lesser so that no unit deserves the glory for a victory all help in
was like listening to a football game home on a Saturday afternoon for
example, to hear the marine landings, as reports came over the ship's
public address system. We had to admire the practical matter of
fact manner in which they went about the grim business of blasting the
Japs. They did much more than we in the operation, yet it was the
work of our group to prepare the way for the invasion. As we
heard of them reaching the beaches which had been blasted with ship
shell fire we knew that our work had undoubtedly saved the lives of
hundreds of the leathernecks.
were thrills on this operation of a different nature from the
last. during phases one and two we did not see a single enemy
plane overhead. the destroyers with us were responsible for some
of the "fun". One of them, came along side at sea, sent a patient
over in a stretcher and rushed off on the prowl. It is quite an
experience to see a man transferred from one ship to another with the
water rushing between the two ships as they keep right on their
course. Another destroyer came by a few days later with a
patient, one of the flyers, they had picket up in the water. It
was a beautiful job of transferring him. They too went off
looking for Japs but had to wait a short time for permission to leave
our formation and join their own. Finally it came and off they
went into the dark. They had proceeded only a short distance when
they ran into four Jap ships and what a picnic they had! Finally
they returned to our formation very happy about the whole thing.
But who wouldn't be after sinking four valuable Jap ships, not to
mention keeping supplies and reinforcements from the islands.
sight of Jap ships burning at sea certainly lifts your morale.
Two of the medium sized craft glowed and flamed in the darkness so that
the smell of burning wood filled the air for miles around. Our
ship asked if the destroyer needed assistance. "No," came the
answer. "We have the situation well in hand."
afternoon before we did our job, a very noisy part of the operations,
we had church services on the fantail of the ship. The pennant
which signifies "Divine Services being held" was being flown from the
masthead while over it and all around us great flights of planes were
taking off and landing on the carriers, doing their job. Leaving
us they dropped their bombs, fought off Jap planes and came back for
more fuel and ammunition. So the church services, as far as we
were concerned, were very appropriate. They showed the Lord that
we were doing the best we could and at the same time asking his
help;. It is getting to be quite the thing now to have our church
hymns mingled with the roar of the plane motors.
while our carrier planes on their missions, were ruining two of the
best Jap bases in the area, destroying shipping, knocking down planes
and strafing those on the ground, we were carrying on a little vendetta
of our own and the final score for our part of it -- night and day
attack was sixteen planes. The final score of our whole carrier
task force will have been in print before you receive this.
However, you know that we are busy and in so far as we can, doing a
good job. this third phase treated us to a magnificient and
awe-inspiring spectacle. No fourth of July compares to the sight
of a formation of ships firing at planes in the dark -- no bonfire ever
lit up a horizon as does the flaming crash of Jap torpedo bombers at
night. It has taught us too, not to underrate our opponent.
His courage is superb and his determination to get us lacks
nothing. That's all for now. Will write again soon.
Remember me in your prayers.
Yours truly, Bill.
W. R. Brooks