Edward P. Hayes – Biography 1940-1945 – The War Years

This document describes biographical information for Edward P. Hayes. He served in the United States Navy, joining the Navy Reserves before the United States entry into WWII. He served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

Description: C:\Users\fhayes.HAYES\Pictures\EPHayes\EPHayes_AMR3_1944a.jpg
ARM3 Edward P. Hayes, circa 1944. His rate was Aviation Radioman 3rd Class. He was promoted in 1945 to ARM2 (2nd Class). He has combat crewman device and a number of campaign ribbons.

This information is based on personal recollections of his son, Fred E. Hayes. There are some sources from various books, web references and some remaining paperwork including the Flight log of Edward P. Hayes.





Joins the Navy Reserves in Wheeling, WV soon after high school graduation


In New York – recalled to active duty – USS Texas BB-12


Assigned USS Lea, DD-118. Neutrality Patrol duty in the Atlantic


Various schools culminating in designation of flight duty as a Radio Gunner. School in Miami, Fl (?)

Dec 1941

In Norfolk Navy Base Virginia – when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor

June 1942

Assigned USS Washington, BB-56 in the ‘V’ (aviation) division. Radio-gunner on a OS2U Kingfisher, Observation Scout plane


USS Washington serves in the Atlantic part of Task Group 99.

August 1942

USS Washington transits Panama Canal – operations in vicinity of Guadalcanal

Nov 14-15, 1942

2nd Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Night action against Japanese – IJN Kirishima (battleship) sunk


Continuous operations against Japanese

January 1944

Father, Thomas Patrick Hayes dies of heart attack (?) in Wheeling, WV.

February 1944

Collision with US Battleship, USS Indiana. Bow crushed. Eventually, ship is sent to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington for repairs

June 1944

Battle of Saipan

June 1944

Battle of Philippine Seas

August 1944 – June 1945

Instructor Duty, Memphis Naval Air Station, Tennessee

July 1945

Assigned Hutchinson, Kansas. Training on Navy Patrol Bomber, PBY4

August 1945

Japan Surrenders

Late 1945

There was a ‘point system’ for armed force personnel to return to civilian life. The overseas service allows him to get out of the Navy relatively quickly.


1940 – Joins Navy Reserves

Edward Hayes joined the Navy Reserves in Wheeling, WV in 1940 – sometime after high school graduation from Triadelphia High School. That building still exists but is now a middle school. I believe that he was working as a stock boy for one of the downtown department stores at the time of enlistment.

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If my dates are correct; he would have only been 17 at the time of enlistment and would have required his parent’s permission to join.

His decision to join the Navy Reserves was undoubtedly influenced by his older brother, Thomas Patrick Hayes, Jr. Thomas Hayes, six years his senior, had joined the Navy earlier in the 1930’s. The Navy Reserve Unit was in a building in Warwood, WV (don’t know if the building still exists). The reserve unit was a communications unit. Later, the majority of the reserve unit was sent to Mongolia (China?) to provide communication services for a weather unit.

1941 – New York City – recalled to active duty

In 1941, the war in Europe was in its 2nd year (Sept, 1939). The United States was re-arming. The draft had been re-instated and reserve units were being recalled to duty. I do not know the exact circumstances, but Edward Hayes was called to active duty and was sent to New York City where the USS Texas BB-35 was stationed as a receiving ship for some of these reservists.  The Texas was a Battleship, built before WW1 and no longer a front line ship. Nonetheless, the Texas did see extended service in WWII including being a bombardment ship for the Normandy Invasion of Europe in June, 1944 and later service in the Pacific. But Edward Hayes time aboard this ship was likely short. As a Navy Reservist, he had not attended Boot Camp and this would have been his first experience with Navy life. As a new recruit, he would have likely been in a deck division – holystoning decks, chipping paint and similar jobs.

1941 – USS Lea, DD-118

Description: http://www.uboat.net/allies/warships/photos/am/dd_uss_jacob_jones_dd130.jpg
Another ship of the same class

In 1941, Edward Hayes was assigned to the USS Lea, DD-118. This ship was a Destroyer. It was built in 1918. This class of destroyers was called ‘4-pipers’ after the four funnels. The ship was 314 feet long and weighed 1200 tons. Destroyers are used to protect the capital ships (Battleships and Cruisers) from Torpedo boats. (Their original name was Torpedo Boat Destroyer). As submarine threats grew, destroyers were used to escort convoys of merchant ships.

The USS Lea was used on ‘Neutrality Patrol’ in the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Coast – escorting convoys. Even though the United States was not at war, President Roosevelt had declared an exclusion zone in which enemy submarines (German or Italian) would be sunk.  American destroyers escorted convoys eastward to a longitude where British destroyers would pick up responsibility. Similarly, the US Destroyers would pick up westward bound convoys at that longitude.

4-piper destroyers like the Lea were not good sea-keepers and tended to be wet in heavy weather (in other words – easy to be soaked and seasick). I do not know Edward Hayes’ exact duties on Lea, but assume at some point he was a radioman striker. This means that he showed sufficient aptitude and intelligence to learn Morse code and radio gear. This would have gotten him out of the deck division (chipping paint). The enclosed image of the USS Lea only shows three funnels; at some point during a refit the 4th funnel had been removed.

Another source of information on the USS Lea - http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/118.htm

1941 – Radioman Schools

The increased danger of impending war meant that there was lots of expansion of the United States Navy. Schools were opened and enrollment increased to support the build-up. Edward Hayes was sent to various schools for the Radioman rate. Unfortunately my memory, and documentation does not provide many details. I believe that Edward Hayes attended a school in Miami, Florida that had special training for enlisted crewman on airplanes. This would have included gunnery training as well as training on the radio equipment that was carried on Navy planes of that era. Much of the radio communication used Morse code.

Dec 1941 – Pearl Harbor Attacked

Just a recollection but I think that he told me once that he was in Norfolk, VA at the Naval base there when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. My memory does not extend to why he was in Norfolk. I do recall being with him when he came to Norfolk to visit Trude and me when I was in the Navy. This would have been in 1977-1980. We were on the Navy base and he pointed out the concrete ‘boat launch pads’ next to the bay (on the Norfolk Navy base) that was used to pull float planes out of the water. The concrete construction was slightly slanted pads that reached out into the bay. The floatplanes would maneuver close to the shore over the pads. The ground crew would attach a small wheeled trailer to the plane and then they could pull the planes out of the water – just like what is used to launch and retrieve small boats.

June 1942 – USS Washington

Edward Hayes was assigned to the USS Washington BB-56, in June, 1942. The USS Washington had been commissioned several months before. He was assigned to the ‘V’ or Aviation Division. A Battleship like the Washington carried 3 float planes, OS2U Kingfishers, which were used to scout, anti-submarine patrol and naval gunfire spotting. The V division included officers who piloted the planes, crewman such as Hayes and maintenance personnel.

Since the Washington was new and the United States had just entered the war, there was an increased tempo of training and operations to bring the ship to full readiness. The USS Washington operated off the east coast of the United States included a trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for various inspections and drills. She went into dry dock several times to try to correct problems with the ‘skegs’, support structures for the two inboard propulsion screws.

1942 – USS Washington Atlantic Task Group 99

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“Arctic Guardian” with British Battleship Duke of York in background.

The British had previously detailed two of their capital ships to the Far East to meet the new threat of the Japanese. They requested that the United States provide replacement vessels to counter the main German threat in the Atlantic, the German Battleship Tirpitz. The newly commissioned Washington was assigned to this duty with American cruisers and destroyers. The Washington traveled to Iceland and operating from there. During the time in Iceland the Washington was reviewed by the King of England, George VI.

 Description: http://www.heroletters.com/WWII_Aircraft_Photos_L5,_OY-1,/IMAG006.JPG

 At that time the British were sending convoys to Murmansk, Russia. These convoys were threatened by German U-Boats, aircraft from German controlled Norway and the German Kreigsmarine (Navy) including the Tirpitz. Convoy PQ17 was one of the Russian bound convoys. The Washington with other United States ships steamed in distant support of PQ17. The Tirpitz came out to threaten the convoy.  For reasons never explained, the British chose to withdraw the several groups of support warships and direct the convoy to scatter. The Tirpitz did not sink any ships but without escorts a large proportion of the merchant ships were sunk by U-Boats and German aircraft.

August 1942 – Guadalcanal Operations

The USS Washington was reassigned to the Pacific theater. After a refit in Boston (?), She steamed from the Atlantic, through the Panama and directly into the South Pacific for combat operations against the Japanese. At the time United States Navy resources were thin. The Washington and North Carolina were the only available Battleships. Following the Battle of Midway in June, 1942, when the Carrier Yorktown was lost, only the Enterprise and Hornet carriers were available. During the various sea battles around Guadalcanal in 2 1942 – November 1942 both of the remaining carriers were damaged or sunk.

During this time period Edward Hayes flew combat missions on the OS2U Kingfisher. One non-combat flight is listed as ‘practice air combat with Army P-40 Warhawks.’  When he wasn’t flying or helping on maintenance for the aircraft, ARM3 Hayes, stood radio watches with the ships Radio Division. At some point his General Quarters battle station was as a gunner for one of the Anti-Aircraft batteries; probably a 50 Caliber machine gun. As the war went on, it was found that the 50 Caliber machines guns did not have enough punch to knock down Japanese planes; particularly ones committed to kamikaze attacks. The pilot may have been killed and the plane uncontrolled; but if it continued on its original trajectory, it could still hit the ship. The Washington originally had 1.1” anti-aircraft guns that proved to be ineffective and prone to various failures. Throughout the Navy, a 40 MM quad-mount gun replaced the 1.1” guns.  The ten 5” twin mounts that the Washington were also used for anti-aircraft. When paired with radar direction and proximity fuses, the 5” guns were capable of knocking down attacking Japanese planes at extended ranges.  Battleships were used more often as large anti-aircraft batteries to protect the more vulnerable carriers.

November 14-15, 1942 Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

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USS Washington fires on the IJN Kirishima, the USS South Dakota follows. Savo Island in the background

I don’t propose to go into details about this battle in this article. ARM3 Hayes was there.  You should read the web references listed below. Suffice it to say that this was one of the more important sea battles of WWII.  The Washington sank the Japanese Battleship, IJN Kirishima and a Japanese destroyer.  They claimed more – but as in most battles, the claims far exceeded the actual damage. The United States lost 3 of the 4 destroyers in the battle. The South Dakota suffered damages and 38 men killed. The Washington was not hit and had no casualties.

The lead Kingfisher pilot volunteered to fly spotting missions at night against the oncoming enemy, but Admiral Lee would not allow this. One of the pilots and the chief aviation radioman had previously flown off for a mission. Their plane had landed near Guadalcanal (?), but could not take off again because the water was too calm – the planes float could not break the suction effect to take off.

Edward Hayes told me that he spent at least part of the battle on deck. His battle station at that time was to be the radio gunner on one of the Kingfishers, but since they weren’t flying, he did not have an immediate task. He stated that he and several others would hide behind the #3 16” turret (aft) whenever things got too dicey. I have wondered about this. The blast from a 16” gun firing is significant; enough to cause physical damage.

 Description: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/51/NavalGuadalcanalWashington.jpg/220px-NavalGuadalcanalWashington.jpg The imbedded image is the only known photograph from the battle and shows the two forward gun turrets firing.

I certainly wish I had gotten him to talk about this more, even to the extent of getting an audio recording of his experiences. But like others of his generation, he was very reticent about talking about combat. He was there, it was terrifying and not a subject to be easily talked about.

During the battle one of the battle one of the destroyers was sunk ahead of the Washington and as the Battleship steamed past at Flank Speed (26 knots), the survivors in the water shouted up ‘Go Washington’. The Executive Officer had the presence of mind to run down to the main deck and direct that life preservers and inflatable rafts be tossed overboard.



http://www.navweaps.com/index_lundgren/index_lundgren.htm  - This reference is revisionary. It implies that the Washington hit the Kirishima more times than the historical nine 16” hits out of 75 fired. This article also implies that the Japanese did not scuttle the Kirishima, rather she sunk as a result of progressive flooding and damage control attempts to counterflood to correct a list.

1942-1943 Continuous Operations against Japanese

With the exception of a short refit in Hawaii, the USS Washington spent most of 1942-1943 in continuous operations against the Japanese. The Naval battles around Guadalcanal are described in the previous section. The USS Washington was part of task groups that raided Japanese bases in the Gilberts and Marshall Islands. When in ports such as Noumea, New Caledonia, he flew submarine patrols.

This image shows members of the Aviation “V” Division. I’m not sure of when it was taken; it may have been in 1944. Edward Hayes flew often with LT Kiser and LT Pothumus. Edward Hayes is in the middle row – in the middle. He’s the one with the black baseball hats.

Top Row: Stone, Pothumus, Kiser, Reeves, Hartman, Forbush, Gilbert

Middle Row: Goering, Offiney, Hayes, Ingersol, Graham, Segers, Waring

Bottom Row: Holland, Fic, Satterfield, Barnaby, Kreg, Salver

January 1944 – Thomas Patrick Hayes, Sr. (father) dies in Wheeling WV

Edward Hayes father, Thomas Patrick Hayes SR, died of a heart attack (?) on January 2 or January 5, 1944. I found two references; I do not know which is the correct date. I remember Dad talking about how terrible he felt when he found out. The Chaplain (Roman Catholic) tried to talk to him but he told me that he just wanted to be left alone. Thomas Patrick Hayes was Catholic and his wife Edna L (Pratt) Hayes was Episcopalian. Edward Hayes was brought up as Catholic. Thomas Patrick Hayes SR is buried in Mt Calvary Cemetery on National Road, Wheeling WV (next to Wheeling Park and across the road from Triadelphia High School). As an aside, Edna L (Pratt) Hayes is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery also on National Road between Triadelphia High School and the 1st Baptist Church.

February 1944 USS Washington collides with USS Indiana

In February 1944, The USS Washington collided with another US Battleship, USS Indiana. The accident occurred at night. Six men were killed on the Washington. The fault was entirely on the Indiana; her Captain was relieved for cause. The Officer of the Deck on the Washington got a medal for his actions – it could have been much worse than what it was.

Description: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h68000/h68352.jpg
Washington in Marshall Islands, she’s tied to the ship alongside as her anchors were lost in the collision

The bow of the USS Washington was crushed. Temporary repairs were made in Majuo Atoll, Marshall Islands. The Washington was sent to Hawaii for further temporary repairs and eventually to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton Washington where the bow was replaced. She was back in action by May, 1944.

I add this ‘sea story’ in this section about Edward Hayes leave in Wheeling, WV. I know the story but the time that this occurred cannot be completely determined. My father’s aunt, Jess (Pratt) Forbes had married a Canadian, Jock Forbes. Major Jock Forbes served in the Canadian Army in WWI in a Highlander (Scottish) regiment. He was wounded in action in France. His son, Don Forbes, was my father’s cousin. Captain Don Forbes served in the same Canadian regiment as his father in WWII. During the war Captain Don Forbes visited Wheeling, WV when my father was also there on leave. As my father described it, it was a very productive leave – to have a returning Navy Veteran and a Canadian Officer complete with Kilts (remember – Scottish regiment!) together as they walked through Wheeling (or visited a pub).  When this actually occurred is a question. I know that Captain Don Forbes landed in Normandy (June 6, 1944) as part of the D-Day invasion. He was later wounded – on the same day that his father had been wounded in WW1. This does not fit with a leave in May, 1944 (when Washington was in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard). I don’t even know if Dad had leave and made it back to Wheeling during the refit in the Puget Naval Shipyard.

June 1944 – Battle of Saipan

The USS Washington was part of the surface force the bombarded Saipan Island in preparation of the invasion.  ARM3 Hayes flew two combat missions over the island directing gunfire from the Washington’s 16” and 5” guns.

I’ve included the relevant pages from his flight logbook. They show two flights for a total of 7.2 hours – both with LT(jg) Kiser. It seems incredible to me. The Japanese still have aircraft on nearby islands.  A Japanese Zeke Fighter (‘Zero’) could fly 300+ knots compared to an OS2U Kingfisher at 170 Knots. The Japanese had anti-aircraft guns on the island. There was even the possibility of being hit by the shells the Battleships and Cruisers were firing on the island. Yet he flew over 7 hours to help direct the shore bombardment.

You can also see an entry on June 26 for Seaplane rescue over West Pagan Island in the Marianas. I don’t think that they actually rescued anyone but were possibly directed to fly to that location to be able to pick up fliers from carrier planes that may have bombarded or strafed that location.

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June 1944 – Battle of the Philippine Seas

The Battle of the Philippine Sea is sometimes described as “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”. It was the largest carrier battle of the war. AMR3 Hayes was there aboard the Washington. The Washington provided anti-aircraft fire to protect the American ships when the Japanese attacked. The Americans shot down hundreds of enemy planes for relatively small losses.  Three Japanese carriers were sunk (two by US Submarines). Japanese Naval Aviation was essentially destroyed by this battle from the loss of so many pilots and planes.

August 1944 – July 1945 – Instructor Duty, Memphis Naval Air Station

The last flight entry from the USS Washington aboard an OS2U Kingfisher is in July 1944. It was not uncommon to rotate personnel back to the states for instructor duty.  I don’t know exactly how he got back to the states – or whether he got leave to Wheeling. He was transferred to the Memphis Naval Air Station – which is in a small town north of Memphis – Millington, TN. The site is still a Navy base – but no longer an Air Station. While in Memphis, AMR3 Hayes was an instructor in a radio school – likely for aviation radiomen. He met a couple Roberta and her husband (sorry no memory of the name) that he kept in touch with after war. Robert and her husband were both in the Navy during the war. Roberta lived in Princeton Maine, and Mary Elizabeth and Edward went on several vacations there. I was there once myself, in 1974, after completion of my 1st Class Midshipman cruise on the USS Lapon (SSN-661).

July 1945 – Naval Air Station Hutchinson, KS

In July 1945, AMR2 Hayes (don’t know exactly when he was promoted) was transferred to a Patrol Bomber squadron for a 4-engine plane, the PBY4 Privateer. He was the radioman on that plane. They were in training for eventual transfer to the Philippines in September 1945.

He flew in both the PB4Y-1 which was the Navy version of the Army Air Corps B-24 Liberator.  He also flew in the PB4Y-2, a variation on the B-24 which had a different tail and longer fuselage than the original B-24.The fuselage was 10 feet longer to accommodate extra radar/radio equipment. The plane was designed to performed long range patrol.

Description: http://www.members.tripod.com/airfields_freeman/FL/JacksonvilleMuni_PB4Y-1s_44.jpg
PB4Y-1 – Jacksonville, FL. Description: http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRr_tiR-8EH3RMHOqHWiIfoqO8LEizQ8V6YfRL5G7i0VpDaYqI&t=1&usg=__785DZl69T9Aa2TCbif2vctV-dYM=

Description: http://steveblank.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/pb4y-2_convair_privateer_vp-23_1951.jpg
PB4Y-2 Privateer – similar to the PB4Y-1 except different tail and longer fuselage Description: http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRr_tiR-8EH3RMHOqHWiIfoqO8LEizQ8V6YfRL5G7i0VpDaYqI&t=1&usg=__785DZl69T9Aa2TCbif2vctV-dYM=

When the war ended in August 1945, the overseas transfer orders were cancelled.

His last flight was on August 14, 1945 which is the day that Japan surrendered unconditionally.


August 14, 1945 – Japan Surrenders

After two atomic bomb attacks, the Japanese government surrendered on August 14, 1945. Surrender ceremonies were held aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

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Late 1945 – Release from Active Duty

There was a point system for armed force personnel that controlled who could get out more quickly. Because ARM2 Hayes was already in the states this would have been somewhat easier. With his pre-war experience and time spent in the South Pacific, he likely got a quick discharge. I had but cannot presently locate the DD-213 form that would have shown specific dates.



Edward Hayes Medals

The combat aircrewmen device is at the top of the picture. The medals are (top to bottom; left to right)

WWII Victory Medal
American Defense Medal with 2nd award (bronze star)
American Theater Campaign
European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign with 2nd award
Asia Pacific Medal with 3 subsequent awards
Good Conduct Medal  (4 years honorable service)

The medals indicate service in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of operation.



OS2U Kingfisher

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One of several paintings by Dwight Shepler, a Navy Combat Artist assigned to USS Washington in Dec 1942  - this could have been a plane that AMR3 Hayes was in.

The Kingfisher was a float plane used by the United States Navy on cruisers and battleships. The plane had a crew of two; pilot and radio-gunner. Top speed was 170 Knots. Armament was a .30 caliber machine gun firing forward and a 2nd .30 caliber gun, firing aft, operated by the radio gunner. Two (2) 100 pound depth charges could be carried.

Note: Naming convention for Navy Planes in this time period can be obscure. OS stands for Observation-Scout, the plane’s purpose. U is the abbreviation for Vought Aircraft who originally designed and built the machine. ‘2’ means the second model. Later, a Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia built the same plane which was designated OS2N. There were variations on the model and the largest numbers built were the OS2U-3. Hayes flight log shows that he flew both OS2N and OS2U models.

The purpose of the plane was scouting, anti-submarine patrol, and naval gunfire spotting.  The float planes were also used for anti-aircraft gunnery practice. The plane could carry a sleeve at the end of a long (long!) line that the various anti-aircraft guns on the ship would shoot at. The planes could also fly attack profiles similar to those that the enemy would use to exercise the radar controlled 5” guns.

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The radio-gunner on a Kingfisher faced aft. He had one machine gun.


When in port, the Kingfishers were often used to patrol around the anchorage or in the vicinity of the port for enemy activity. A Kingfisher could carry two (2) 100 pound depth charges. Some of Edward Hayes’ flight log lists anti-submarine patrol when the USS Washington was in port such as the main base at Noumea, New Caledonia.

Naval Gunfire Spotting

A battleship’s 16” guns could fire 20+ nautical miles. The Kingfisher was used to monitor the fall of shells and provide corrections back to the ship. This could be used for both sea and shore bombardment (however, I have never read of cases where Kingfishers were actually used for sea bombardment).

USS Washington was used for shore bombardment both for raids on Japanese held islands and as a prelude to invasion by the Marines. In particular Edward Hayes flight log shows that he spent 7 hours over the island of Saipan during shore bombardment.


At sea, the Kingfisher was launched by a catapult located on the stern of the ship. The ship steamed in a direction and speed to provide required wind speed for launch. An explosive shell provided the motive force to get the plane up to sufficient speed. When in port or anchored, there may not be enough speed to launch from the catapult. A crane could lower the plane into the water and the Kingfisher could then affect a takeoff like other seaplanes.
Description: http://battleships.freewebsitehosting.com/images/BB61-7.jpg

There were several recovery methods. At sea, the ship made smooth stretch of water by turning. The plane landed and maneuvered into the smooth water slightly behind the battleship. The battleship streamed a canvas and rope mat. The Kingfisher maneuvered onto the mat. A small hook on the bottom of the float would latch onto the mat. This allowed the ship to tow the float plane. Then the radio-gunner would attach a hook from the ship crane to the plane and the plane would be hoisted aboard.

Air-sea rescue

Floatplanes like the OS2U Kingfisher were used for air-sea rescue. When the carriers (or the Army Air Corps) bombarded a Japanese position on the islands the Floatplane was stationed off-shore to be able to rescue downed crewman. In some cases the Float plane worked in concert with a submarine. The Float plane could land and maneuver inside the reefs into shallower water. Then it could taxi out beyond the reef and transfer to the submarine. In one case a Kingfisher from the USS North Carolina saved several downed airman. The Kingfisher pilot got a Navy Cross. Another Kingfisher saved Eddie Rickenbacker (WW1 flyer and ace – most planes downed by an American). Rickenbacker was on an inspection tour in the Pacific when the B-17 bomber he was traveling on crashed at sea. He and the other surviving crewman spend several weeks adrift. The Kingfisher found the lifeboat and rescued the downed crewman. It couldn’t take off but taxied 40 miles to a base.

Description: File:OS2U-3 Kingfisher.jpg

This image shows a Kingfisher being recovered aboard the USS Baltimore (a cruiser). This picture shows the radio gunner getting ready to attach the hook from the crane. You can see that the plane is being pulled along by the canvas/rope mat that the ship is towing. The Kingfisher has rescued an F6F Hellcat pilot who was shot down. The Radio-gunner and the rescued flier had to squeeze into rear gunners area. It would have been tough to take off – a Kingfisher did not have the capability to carry much more than two crewman.


USS Washington BB-56


Description: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/USS_Washington_(BB-56)_in_Puget_Sound,_10_September_1945_(color).jpg

The USS Washington BB-56 was a North Carolina class battleship (there were only two ships in the class). These battleships were the first built by the United States since the early 20’s. They had nine (9) 16” guns in three turrets. The main battery fired shells with a range of over 20 miles. An individual shell weighed 2000-3000 pounds (i.e. a Volkswagon). The ship also carried 10 twin 5” turrets. See the references below for more information.

The USS Washington was sold for scrap in 1960. The USS North Carolina, BB-55, was preserved as a museum and is in Wilmington, NC. 




IJN Kirishima

The Kirishima was built in 1915 originally as a Battlecruiser and based on a British “Lion” class Battlecruiser. A major difference – note the Japanese ‘Pagoda’ superstructure.

 A Battlecruiser is a ship the size of a Battleship with less armor. The weight savings allows for a faster speed. The idea is that a fast Battlecruiser could run down and kill anything smaller than it (cruisers and destroyers), but could run away from the enemy’s Battleships. Or use its superior speed to control the nature of an encounter to even take on an enemy battleship.

The Kirishima had two major upgrades in the 20’s and 30’s. The net result was a ship with more armor and higher speed, and better torpedo protection. She was reclassified as a Battleship.

The Kirishima had eight 14” guns in four turrets as the main armament.

The Kirishima was sunk by the USS Washington in the 2nd Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 14-15 November, 1942.