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Reader Response

Editor's Note: When this site's first Service Provider ceased operations, contact was lost with most readers because Search Engines where no longer able to access the new site location. Consequently, there is a time period with no incoming mail from readers.


From: "chazzmitzi" <>
To: "Dave McComb" <>; "'Terry (Office)'" <>; "'Warren H. Gabelman'" <>; "'John C. Everett'" <>; "'John C. Everett'" <>; "'John H. Stone'" <>
Cc: "'Douglas Perret Starr Ph. D.'" <>; "'Vice Admiral Raymond E. Peet'" <>; "'John O'Neill'" <>; "'Arnold Fluster'" <>; "'George S. Eisenberg'" <>; "'Capt. Crenshaw'" <>; "'Dave Craigmile'" <>; "'Doris Robinson'" <>; "'Ernest A. Herr'" <>; <>; "'Curt Clark'" <>
Date: Thursday, January 18, 2007 10:22 PM

On our trip out to the Solomons some five years ago, my wife and I rented a dive boat and crew in Honiara, Guadalcanal; and we set out in that open boat for the trip to Purvis Bay. It was rough as all get out, but it was well worth it. I was disappointed that we could not see any indication that the Navy was ever there., After circling the bay, and checking out the Jap DD that was grounded up in the bay and finding that it had been totally stripped except for the keel; we were about to leave when I spotted a group of children under a large Banyan tree out on the point the left side of the entrance, apparently in a school class. The boat dock was destroyed with parts sticking up out of the water, and that had helped me to come to the conclusion to just leave. I then thought, "I have come all the way from North Carolina and I am not about to leave without going ashore. So, the crew put the boat's bow up on the sand and I jumped out.

As I was looking around, an elderly native in a white tapa cloth came over. I requested permission to come ashore. I explained that I had been there some 60-odd years before and was looking for anything that would indicate that we were there. Mother nature had done her work and all vestiges of our having been there were either cleaned up or covered by the jungle growth.

The gentleman asked if I would like to see the monument. I thought, "What monument?' No tourist people had knowledge of a monument. I couldn't get to that monument quickly enough. He led us to a spot in the trees, almost overgrown with weeds; and there stood the monument that is in those photos. I had a hard time fighting back the tears, and lost the fight. The monument had been built by the management of the CLUB DES SLOT on the closing of the base at the end of the war. I still have my charter member card for that club and I know that Vice Admiral Peet had one at one time. All the wardroom officers of DESRON 23 contributed to found that club.

Just to the right of the monument there is a wide stairway, carved out of the side of the promontory, that led up to the spot where the club stood. The urinal with "TOJO" was gone, but, on the concrete slab that supported the thatched roof, a native had built his corrugated steel home.

Those photos triggered my reverie and I just had to tell you about it.

Warm regards, Charlie S. Nelson, A CLAXTON sailor, who like all of you gets a jump in the heart beat when vivid memories of those times come back.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dave McComb
To: 'Terry (Office)' ; 'Warren H. Gabelman' ; 'John C. Everett' ; 'John C. Everett' ; 'John H. Stone'
Cc: 'Douglas Perret Starr Ph. D.' ; 'Vice Admiral Raymond E. Peet' ; 'John O'Neill' ; 'Arnold Fluster' ; 'George S. Eisenberg' ; 'Capt. Crenshaw' ; 'Dave Craigmile' ; 'Doris Robinson' ; 'Ernest A. Herr' ; ; 'Curt Clark' ; 'Charlie and Mitzi Nelson'
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:27 AM

Terry, Buck, John & John and all DD Friends,

Attached are two photos of the monument at Purvis Bay-from today!


As you can tell from the e-mail below-a response to one I sent way back last March-they're from a dive shop owner at Tulagi who finally got over to Purvis Bay with his camera!



From: Tulagi Dive []
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2007 7:08 AM
To: 'Dave McComb'; 'Kerrie and Danny Kennedy'; 'Alex'

Hi David,

Happy New year to you, and thank you again for the map for our web site. It took a while to find you memorial and in the end it was unbelievably out in the open. Please find attached two shots I took today of said memorial (I'm behind the camera the guys are some of my crew). It is located at Taroaniara. I also CC'd Brad Sheard on this email, he was with us late last year and is an incredible photographer and keen wreck historian, he's dived the Mid-Atlantic wrecks for many years and published a couple of books on them. He is currently working on a book about ships lost in war, thought you guys could swoop some stories.


Solomon Islands Diving / Tulagi Dive
PO Box 1798 Honiara Solomon Islands

Tel: +677 32131/ 32052/ 26589


From: <>
To: <>
Subject: Re:
Date: Friday, November 29, 2002 8:47 PM



From: "Ron van Rijt" <>
To: "Ernest Herr" <>
Subject: Living in the Dutch mountains.
Date: Monday, November 25, 2002 4:40 AM

Hi Ernie.

Aha, there you are. -- I thought to try your new address to find out if it works. --- And Yes, it does !!!
Even if all the Dutch dikes will break, I still will keep my feet dry down here in the very South of Holland. -- We live at least 200 yards above the sea level.
Next Wednesday I will be with a large group from the Army at the Hürtgen Forest. -- I was asked to arrange a meeting with some of my German Veteran friends.
Last week a new memorial was unveiled at Simonskall at the Hürtgen Forest. -- It's a memorial for the men from the Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion XXIV. -- A very bad picture from the newspaper is attached. -- I'll send you some better ones soon but this gives you already an idea how it looks like.
Also attached are two pictures of Hürtgen village. -- You may place them on your website if you want. -- These pictures were made around 1947.
Hang in there; I'll be back. Bullfrog.


From: "moozbah" <>
To: "Ernest Herr" <>
Subject: Re: Change of Service Provider and e-mail address
Date: Sunday, November 24, 2002 11:16 AM

Hi Ernie! Glad to hear from you. Did I ever send you a copy my book? It is just a Xerox, but I'd be happy to send you one. I think you are the greatest. Your site looks gorgeous. Eileen DE 439

\Hello Friends,

Finally got caught having to change my service provider -- again -- if you care to, please note my new address and new site location listed below.

Ernie Herr of "Combat Stories of World War II"


From: "Bryant Jordan" <>
To: <>
Subject: Photo of Smith, Mangum and Cameron
Date: Monday, August 19, 2002 10:43 AM

I'm trying to reach the Ernie Herr who operates a Web site devoted to World War II, and which includes on it the image linked below. We'd like to use the image in a Marine Corps history article for Marine Corps Times. Please contact me regarding use of the photo, the source of it and how the web site should be credited.

Thank you,
Bryant Jordan
Deputy News Editor
Marine Corps Times
703 750 8113

Photo is linked below:
Smith, Mangum and Carl



From:          Snow Philip <>
Date:           Wednesday, September 05, 2001 3:33 PM
Subject:       George Philiip

Dear Ernie,

By all means add to your website whatever I've written that you think would mean something to someone -- none of it is too personal to share, especially when I know that many of the people whom it will reach are in the same situation as mine.

I had dinner here night before last with an older couple whose son is interested in Naval history, so I e-mailed them my account of the Okinawa trip that George and I made two years ago. They returned home to Illinois yesterday, and when I got home just a minute ago, there were two messages from Stan -- the first saying that he'd found your TWIGGS story (I hadn't mentioned it to him) and had I seen it? Then a second phone call a while later saying that he'd continued reading and realized that I did indeed know about the site. So thanks again for being such a loyal admirer of the father I don't remember.


To:              Snow Philip <>
From:          Ernie Herr
Date:           Wednesday, September 05, 2001 11:44 AM

Dear Snow,

    Your quest for a better understanding of your father will probably grow stronger over the years so I think it is wise to find out as much as possible about his life and experiences.  As I mentioned, I get quite a bit of correspondence very similar to yours as many children and grandchildren develop quite an interest along those lines.
    If you don't mind, I would like to put your e-mail at the end of the Twiggs story as it puts a continuance to the story and I think people who like that kind of story would read your input with great interest.  And, it is history.  I can remove any part that you might think as too personal.

(From an earlier e-mail)
    In case you might feel that you are alone in your emotional search for more information about your father, I am answering three other e-mails that just arrived this day.  The digital signature (below) that was at the end of the e-mail surely tells a story:

Patricia "Pat" Fabri/Phoenix
dau. of Edgar B. Tiemann "Boots"
1st Army Division, 3rd Battalion
16th Infantry, CO L, The Big Red One
Wounded Battle of Hurtgen Forest 11/23/44
KIA, Tanne, Germany 4/17/45


From:          Snow Philip <>
Date"           Tuesday, September 04, 2001 12:43 PM

Dear Ernie,

The photo of your daughter (and her husband?) transmitted beautifully!  I'm so curious to know who the photographer was.... This is such a small town that it's entirely possible that some day I'll find out. I must say,
the Arctic Circle looks pretty balmy in this picture. When I was up there in April, 1975 in Finland, it was still very snowy and cold, although the days were already getting long.

Thanks again for your continuing correspondence. I will continue in my efforts to learn more about my father and to reconcile myself to his loss. What else can I do??

My best to you and your wife,

From:      Snow Philip
Date:       Sept. 1, 2001
Subject:  George Philip

Dear Ernie,

Thanks so much for your quick reply to my e-mail request for things you remember about my father. I love that you say you might not be around today if it hadn't been for him -- makes me realize that his sacrifice was worthwhile if other men owe their lives to him. I must say that this yearning to know him has taken me quite by surprise as I leave middle-age and head toward my sixties! Very strange, but I guess it's happening to a lot of us who were left fatherless in WW II.

I'll be sure to check out the web site. And I LOVE your story about the Key Wester at the Arctic Circle! I wonder who it was -- probably someone Iknow. This is a very small town.

Where in North Carolina do you live? Forgive me if you've already told me -- my memory, along with the rest of me, isn't what it was! But I've got your phone number now and will perhaps telephone you some day.

Thanks again, so much, for your help and interest.


From:       Snow Philip <>
Date:        Saturday, August 25, 2001 12:17 AM
Subject:   George Philip

Dear Ernie,

This month I had the amazing experience of reading some of the letters that my father wrote to my mother before and during the war. Reading the letters made me feel for the first time in my life that I was getting to know him as a real person through his own thoughts and words rather  than through other people's recollections of him. It has been an intensely emotional time, and I am now consumed with curiosity to know more. If you have the time and inclination, I would love it if you would write to me with some of your own memories of him, specific things he said and did
that impressed you and made you think so highly of him. I'd like to try to write something about him for myself and my brother and my children.

From:                Snow Philip <>
Date:                 Thursday, March 15, 2001 12:18 AM
Subject:             greetings from Snow Philip

Dear Ernie,

Let me introduce myself -- I am Commander George Philip's daughter, Snow.  Recently a high school friend of mine sent me the letters for your web site, and I immediately checked it out. Now, I have been accused more than once of having more than one person's share of the gift of gab, but when I watched a picture of my father materialize on my little computer screen, I was, for once in my life, speechless. You are wonderful to have put together such a wonderful site, and I've made sure that my children, who are my father's only grandchildren, have seen it too. And I've passed it along to a number of friends as well. So I am writing to you with a profound thank you for remembering this wonderful man whom I never knew, but whose memory I revere.

The USS George Philip is coming to Key West day after tomorrow! It's been a dream of mine during the seven years that I've lived here that someday the Philip would make a port-of-call in Key West; and that dream is
actually coming true. I've spoken with the PAO at the base here and referred them to your web site. I'll be quayside when she ties up on Wednesday morning, and have been invited for lunch aboard later that day.  I AM SO EXCITED!!! It won't be the first time I've been aboard, but as her sponsor, every visit to "my" beloved ship is an intense and emotional event.

I gathered from your site that you served aboard O'Bannon with my father, and it humbles me to think that all these years later he continues to live so vividly in your memory. I've felt very cheated over the years for never having known him myself, but it is thrilling to know that he impressed so many people so favorably in his short life.

Immediately after lunch on Wednesday, I am going to California to help my half-brother juggle his kids while his wife recuperates from surgery, but I'll be back here in a couple of weeks, and I'd love to hear from you.

   Did you by any chance see the article I wrote about my brother's and my trip to Okinawa two years ago? I think it has been posted on the Hammond High School web site, but I've never seen it. Also, a somewhat watered-down version appeared in December 2000's issue of Naval History magazine.

Looking forward to hearing from you -- and thanks again.        Snow

From: <>
Date:         Tuesday, August 07, 2001 1:56 AM
Subject:     Huertgen Forest Account

Dear Mr. Herr,

    Impressing your report, however, a few corrections are recommended.

A) The 78th InfDiv 'Lightning' arrived in the European Theater in November 1944. It never fought in the other places you mentioned. I have reasons to believe that you confused it with the 82d AbnDiv. Their CO, MG James Gavin, described the scene at the Kall Trail in early February 1945, as he experienced it during a recon mission.

B) Castle Hill (400) at Bergstein had never been seized by German troops again. It had been occupied by various US units after its seizure such as of the 8th and 1st ID, the latter before crossing the Roer and by the 517th PIR of the 82d AbnDiv as a jump off site in the early February attack towards Schmidt.


Klaus Schulz

German WII Veteran
Huertgen Forest Historian and Guide in the framework of the US Army Officers and NCOs Development Scheme
as also for numerous groups of American veterans

From:     huinga <>
Date:      Thursday, July 05, 2001 11:39 PM
Subject:  thanks ernie

hi ernie
jamie here from new zealand.  in case you forgot im 16 and am still in school.  i believe i've sent you mail before decribing my thoughts on the battle of hurtgen forest, the kall trail and the race for the dams in 1944 - 45.  pretty interesting stuff.  when i was ten me and some friends shot a movie in a pine plantation on our farm using our grandfathers remains of war items like an old BAR (browning automatic rifle), a lewis gun and a couple of M-1 carbines.  with that and a few old gi uniforms complete with webbing, helmets, boots and gloves we bought from an army surplus shop.  i dug up the old tape and watched it the other day.we overdubbed sound from the film "battle of the bulge" and used that for effects along with some smoke bombs and small fires on the trees with diesel and petrol.  we got grounded for a while for doing it but our overall effort was pretty good for a couple of ten year olds.  if only we had a miltary advisor!!

ive just been reading some of my great grandads war diarys and discovered some pretty horrific stories.  he was in france on the western front during the years 1916-1917.  his stories involve a friends head being blown clean off beside him by stray fire and how after a raid on a german defense he crawled back with a bullet in the leg about 2 1/2 kms to the nearest red cross set up.  theres heaps more but i dont want to rave on.  my grandad was in africa against rommel as a truck driver, and he was in cassino as an infantryman.  have you heard about in crete in 44 when german paratroopers came down in their thousands dropping hand grenades as they came, while new zealand and australian soldiers were forced to shoot them out of the sky?  my grandad manned one of the guns there and nowdays germany complains how dishonourable it was to mow them down like that.  if you ask me i think we didnt have a choice,it was kill or be killed.

my other grandad was in guadacanal with the marines taking the airfield.  i understand you were in the US navy at the time.  maybe if you had anytime you could tell me about your experiences.ive recently been reading up heaps about the US navys involvement in the pacific, with midway and the battle of the coral sea.were you involved in the island hopping movement?that wouldve been something else.  so thanks for your dedication to those who fell in the war, its brilliant that you can find information on famous or infamous battles and campaigns on the net, and when youre as intersted as me in history, its a great help.
thanks again ernie.
jamie morton.
if you want to write me back,my address is"

From:      Juanita
To:          Ernie
Date:       Thursday, July 05, 2001 10:11 AM
Subject:   HELLO MY FRIEND!!!!!






From:      Jan van Zyl <>
Date:       Saturday, June 30, 2001 8:31 PM
Subject:   Military Blunders


I absolutely loved your piece.  It is so frustrating when the true message does not get through or even worse, when the powers that be do not even know there is a true story!

I am doing some research on military blunders, with a view to using the ruslts of my resarch in a marketing brochure for our consulting company.  I arrived a few years ago from South Africa.  I am now a permanent resident and plan to become a US citizen in 3 year's time.

Your message was hitting the nail on the head in terms of the message that I would like to convey.  If my research leads me to the point of using parts are all of your story in our marketing material, would you be prepared to give us such permission?  We will naturally give you the appropriate credit as the source if you should give us permission and if we should use it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jan van Zyl
(pronounced as Yun fun Sail)

From:       Paul Lepper <>
Date:        Monday, May 28, 2001 12:38 PM
Subject:   Possible Information


I was just at your site on the Huertgen Forest and found it to be a great site.  I am very intrigud by this battle since my grandfather was seriously wounded in this battle.  I was wondering is there somewhere that I can go to find out more information about his time there or his decorations?   He did not talk about it at all even to my father.  According to his sister, he was wounded in the chest and laid on the ground for 2 days before he was found.  He was in the hospital for the next two years.

I am active duty military and I would love to find out more, any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.


Paul Lepper

From:      Ken Fairbrother <>
Date:       Saturday, May 19, 2001 7:10 PM
Subject:   Combat stories of WW Ernie Herr

Hi Ernie....
And many thanks for the comeback

Like all Airedales, I have a  few stories WASP CV7.

The next Reunion is on Sept 13-16 in San Diego.  Am not sure if the data is on our Web page, made up by a Son of one of our shipmates....but if you are interested in San Diego, give me a jingle ..916) 853-2100, or Email it.        I'll  attach the WASP CV7 Web page.

Our Historian is:.... (Not on line. Most are not)    ED ZARN ....(Yeoman type and good !)
   4136 Elmway Dr     Toledo OH  43614             Ph  (419)  382-0750

I am asking Ye Editor the next issue of the Stinger (three time a year), to ask members if they have the back issues of 1988-89  which was loaded with History....I only have one, but recently he scraped up an issue for
someone else...and I'll pass it down on Our E-line (all 30 ?).  When I can get one, I'll send it you for your Perusal (my new word of the it !).

So...You were on the  Carrier  CVE75.."Hoggatt" .. (Casablanca Class)
None left now...all scrapped...the Brits gave their some 35 CVE's back to US for more scrap...

I was one of those,  The PYBUS CVE34.  After we commissioned (Tacoma), it cruised right to Pearl... delivered & dumped all  Airdale Equipment.... thence to Panama to Brooklyn ....and  the Brits took us over.  It became the "HMS EMPEROR"

While the Pybus ran around the oceans...we had NO escorts for anti-submarine.   But we had a two Piper Cubs to take for look see when in close to busy traffic.  And at AR & LTV Pearl , we had a one day tin
can escort.

Up the East coast to  Brooklyn, we had a Blimp over most of the time.

SO what were you on  the Hogatt... you mentioned the Wetback....that was my Bag for the whole 20...a weatherglass.  on the Hogatt, I think it was just under the flight desk, forward, port side, close to the Catwalks.... I slept on the Catwalk under the steel netting... in tropic weathers ...Cool !

Real old timer  and good friend of mine, he swam off the WASP and thence after out of Hospital ...he got assigned to the "Liscome Bay...CVE56 .  He and another weatherguesser from WASP CV7 were on it when it went down..... They just left the WxShack, into the Catwalk,  and walked off.... It was that fast.

This coming weekend, in San Diego, all the old weather-guessers have their Annual Reunion....It should be fun.

Where  do you live at ??

Enough chit chat... and questions... you are doing a great job... Good and easy reading !

Adios for now....Ken

From: <>
Date:       Sunday, June 10, 2001 10:50 PM
cc:  <>
Subject:   Re: Liscomb Bay

For maximum amount of straight dope on USS LISCOME BAY (CVE-56) and Composite Squadron (VC) 39 you should write to our association Secretary-Treasurer at this address:  Mr. Leonard Bohm, 625 South Eleventh Street, Salina KS 67401, Tel 785 823 2572.  He does not do E-mail.

While there is a designated historian in the L/B association, he is currently putting accumulated memorabilia in order for turnover in 2003 when the L/B assoc will be disbanded.  That event will take place in San Diego during April 2003.  We hope that L/B memorabilia can be turned over to the USS MIDWAY Museum when she arrives in San Diego and is moored alongside Navy Pier near foot of Broadway.

Those L/B crewmen who wish to meet annually may participate in the Escort Carrier Sailors and Airmen Association (ECSAA) reunions after 2003. ECSAA is preparing to hold next reunion in WashDC during August 2001. I'm planning to attend since I live across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA.  Have never participated in any ECSAA festivities previously and L/B crewmen have given ECSAA the cold shoulder thus far. In other words, L/B did not accept ECSAA invitation to conduct jointreunions as many CVE groups did.

L/B does not maintain a website.  Some of my personal biography is now on  Ken Fairbrother and I swam off USS WASP (CV-7) in September 1942 and there are two other survivors from our Aerology gang in WASP still living -- Bruce and Black.  Bruce was with me in L/B later.  He lives in southwestern Virginia.  Black lives in Puget Sound. Fairbrother in Sacramento.

Why are you interested in the L/B?
All the best, Don Cruse


I happened to run across your website detailing the Battle for the Hurtgen Forest, and I wanted to let you know about an incredible book that your readers may want to check out.  It's called "If You Survive,"  written by Lt. George Wilson, one of the men discussed in the letters of you site.  It's still in print and in bookstores today.

Wilson wrote this book around 1987, and it gives his first-person account of his battles from Saint-Lo (and
Villebaudon Ridge), to Paris, the Siegfried Line and the Hurtgen, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Schee Eifel (his second time in that area).  Wilson was in on the attack on Grosshau, and he mentions at length his commanding officer, Colonel Lanham, who is alsomentioned in your text on the webpage.

Wilson spent 15 months overseas, fought in 5 major campaigns, received 3 Purple Hearts, 2 Bronze Stars, and a Silver Star.  He was only 24 when he became a civilian again.

His descriptions of the battles are the most objective, honest, and chilling accounts of WWII that I've ever read--no embellishing, no bragging--just an honest account.  Those who have read this book no what I mean.  And his accounts of the Hurtgen are so vivid, you almost feel like you are there.  He even mentions the one hot meal they received--the hot turkey sandwiches that were mentioned in your webpage text.

Anyway, I often wonder about the Hurtgen, and why it isn't discussed more.  Did the Battle of the Bulge come so quickly after Hurtgen that this terrible battle was forgotten?  Did those absent higher-ups who never showed their faces on the front lines realize their folly and try to cover it up as best they could?   The 24,000 killed, wounded, and missing deserve more, as do those who survived but still relived it each day of their lives.

Again, I urge those interested in the Hurtgen Forest to read "If You Survive."  It really gives a good insight into just what went on. Also, HBO had a movie out a couple of years ago called"When Bugles Fade," about the slaughter of the 28th Pennsylvania Division in the Hurtgen.  It was a drama based on the battle, but it gives you a little taste of how cruel those woods were.  It is in video stores now, I think.

Thanks for the webpage.  I'll be sure to check back from time to time.  I enjoy reading the letters you receive, particularly from those who were there or knew someone close who was.  I admire those men and the sacrifices they made, and I appreciate your site bringing it to the attention of those who know little about it.

Alan Barkemeyer

Alan -- thanks for your informative input but I think you have already answered the questions that you asked.  Yes, please check back.  I am trying to get some stories from some veterans that I know who want to carry their stories to their graves rather than to have to re-hash them again.  But, I think they have something that needs telling.  Also, I am working to try to get some recognition for the Kamikaze and other suicide groups from Japan.  Most of these magnificant patriots of Japan (who we Americans hated at the time) were just young college kids who were asked to do something that we thought (and most Japanese thought) was rather repulsive and unbelievable, that is to commit suicide for the war effort.  The worst part is that when the war ended, they never received the recognition they deserved, even today.  There is a site in Japan dedicated to correcting these grevious situation and it can be viewed from my "Links" page, if you care to.  Thank you again.   Ernie

Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 12:44:44 EST

Dear George-

    I recently stumbled across the TWIGGS website , the article about your father, and the  e-mails from you and Kassy to "Ernie".  I am Bob Stanton and TWIGGS was my first ship after graduation from the Naval Academy.  I joined the ship in August, 1944 in Pearl Harbor when she returned from the landings in Guam..  I was assigned to the gunnery dept as an assistant to LT Jim Black, the Gunnery Officer.

    Without going into a lot of detail, we participated in the landings at Leyte, Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines and then Iwo Jima and Okinawa. We were in fire support during the initial landings at Okinawa and then wound up on radar picket station on the nothernmost end of the island.  On April 28, 1945 we were taken under attack by 15-16 kamikazes.  "We" being another destroyer and two USMC fighter aircraft.  Among us (mostly the Marines) we shot down all but the last one.  He hit us on the starboard side killing about 10-15 men and wounding another 15-20, including Ned Burke our Executive Officer.  The plane actually hit our starboard lifeboat which was swung out and his bomb came loose and opened up a large hole on the side.

    We limped into Kerama Retto which is a small island group off Okinawa that we used as an anchorage for supply ships, oilers, repair ships , etc.  When we had moored alongside a repair ship, your father called Jim Black and myself into his cabin.  He told Jim that he would be taking ned's place as XO and that I would be assiming Jim's job as Gunnery Officer.  He went on to say that the repair ship estimated five weeks  for repairs and that he was sending me on temporary duty to Control Officers school in Pearl Harbor.  The school was six weeks long and so he figured I would only be gone for a net of one week.

    That week was the one in which the ship was sunk.  This accounts for the discrepancy you may have noted in the website article in which one paragraph states that 18 of 20 officers assigned were lost and the next paragraph notes that the three surviving officers were wounded.  I was the fourth officer assigned, but I was not actually on board at the time.

    Since all three were seriously wounded, I was sent to Wash, DC as senior surviving officer to reconstruct service records, pay records and health records and to write letters to next-of-kin.  Part way through this effort I
was relieved by one of the three wounded officers (LT Oscar Pederson). During this period I was fortunate enough to meet and come to know your mother Margaret.  I also met you and your sister Snow as well as your
grandfather, VADM Taussig and your uncle Joe Taussig.  You and your sister were very young and I'm sure you don't remember me.  I also had the honor and the privelege of being with your mother when she was presented with the posthumous Navy Cross by James Forestall.  Meeting him and Admiral Nimitz (who was also there) was quite an event in my life.  I saw your mother a few times over the years - the last time was in Coronado a long time ago with Willy Helmer.

    Some time later I received three photos from your mother.  It seems that your father's wallet washed up on the beach at Okinawa.  Someone found it and sent it to your mother.  In it were three photos of the TWIGGS showing the hole in the side we received up on picket station.  The photos are partly oil-stained from the sinking.  I would be happy to send them to you if you would give me your address.  I also have a snapshot of your father taken on board after he made Commander which I will also send.

    I had no idea that there was a TWIGGS shipmates association and would appreciate it if you could tell me how to contact the group. I saw Jim Black a few times many years ago when I was stationed in San Francisco but have had no other contact with TWIGGS survivors.  Consequently, I was delighted to find the website and your e-mail address.

I hope I have not bored you by passing on information which you may already know.  Please give my best to your mother and Snow and I hope you have a very merry Christmas.

Aloha -- Bob

CAPT Robert F. Stanton USN (Ret)
311 Portlock Rd
Honolulu, HI 96825

Subject:   Date:    Thu, 16 Nov 2000 15:37:00 +0100
  From:                "Kudla, James J (Jim)" <>

Dear Mr. Herr,

I happened to come across you web-site on the Hurtgen Forest and was most impressed with both the quality of the writing and the depth and accuracy of the analysis you offer.  As somewhat of an amateur historian myself,  I have done considerable research on the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest particularly
focused on the involvement of the 28th Infantry Division. One of your readers need not question the accuracy of your causality figures. They are entirely accurate.  In fact if you add the German and civilian dead to the toll, the number grows to over 50,000 dead in this small area along the German/ Belgian  border.

I have lived in Europe off and on for a numbers of years and I have spent many hours walking up and down the "Kall Trail" and in the steep little Kall River Valley associated with it.  In many ways it has not changed in the last 55 years. The fox holes are still there on the outer edge of the trail, The rock ledge on the right side of the side of the trail still shows signs of the Engineers work to reduce the outcrop so that the Shermans, so desperately needed as support by the infantry, could pass.  Further up the trail, as one approaches Kommershied, the rubber and steel tracks of a Sherman can still be found embedded of the ground, as if surrounded by poured concrete. Close by, the tracks of US Army "Weasel"  tracked vehicle
still protrude from the underbrush at the side of the trail.  The scars are still there but the eerie, dark green and tangled Forest is still the most striking detail.  One can almost feel the ghosts in this little valley, as
it truly was at near the end of 1944 a "Valley of Death".

I would love to chat more with you about this subject if you are interested.

Jim Kudla

Subject:   Deserters
   Date:    Thu, 28 Sep 2000 10:14:36 JST
  From:   "Goetz Heermann" <>

Hi Ernie,

I just read Roberto Muehlenkamp's post (Reader - see reply directly after this one) - he certainly made an important point. Again, may I cite some recollections of my dad. From late 1944 on, the manpower situation became alarmingly critical, with combined casualties going as high as 10,000 men a day. Special units, called "Heldenklau" in German soldier's slang, would scavenge for every man able to hold a rifle and walk a few steps, and send him to the front. That concerned civilians considered indispensable as well as young men who failed the pre-draft medical check-up or even disabled veterans. Needless to say, that Nazi Party officials didn't have to go...
    Those who were strung up on trees with cardboard signs saying "I'm a traitor" or "I'm a coward" were in very few cases real deserters. In many cases, they were soldiers who've been separated from their units by the course of action, or who've lost their papers, and who couldn't give the right answers to a passing military police patrols. Many of those who've been murdered that way have been decorated for bravery and can hardly be called cowards or traitors. My dad witnessed a few of those murders, where NCO's and officers were strung up for basically nothing, after their henchmen had ripped of rank insignia and war decorations.
    The actual number of convicted, real deserters is relatively small. Although they outnumber the U.S. deserters in absolute numbers, the German Wehrmacht had less deserters than the U.S., if you put it into perspective, i.e. if you compare the number of soldiers who've seen action to the number of soldiers who've been justifiedly convicted of desertion. The average German soldier wasn't less brave than his opponent...
    It took the combined forces of the Alliies six months to reconquer France against an outnumbered and
undersupplied opponent, who has four years earlier conquered France against a numerically superior force of the combined French and British armies within just six weeks. Air superiority and availability of supplies decided the war in the west, and manpower decided it in the east. My dad's outfit captured a U.S. supply depot during the Battle of the Bulge, and he said his eyes popped when he saw the sheer quantities of food and other supplies, and it had been hard to continue to do battle without grabbing some corned beef first...

Regards from Japan


   Date:      Mon, 25 Sep 2000 13:02:58 +0100
  From:     Roberto Muehlenkamp <>

Dear Sir,

I recently discovered your site, one of the most vivid and gripping war sites on the whole Internet. Your stories are very well written and, unlike many others I have read, manage to give the reader a small idea of what war must be like (I am not a combat veteran, I served in the Colombian army 15 years ago but luckily never got to see a real fire fight - today it would probably be different!). I particularly liked your story about the Huertgen Forest Battle which, however, left me with the following two doubts:

1.      You write that "... while thousands of German soldiers were executed for desertion during this time period, only one American soldier was executed for the same offense, remarkably demonstrating the patriotism and devotion to duty of this group." In my opinion, the fact of only one US Army deserter (Pvt. Eddie Slovik) having been executed for desertion in WW II has less to do with an extraordinarily low desertion rate than with the US Army's comparatively humane policy regarding desertion (whereas the Nazi army's execution of thousands of actual or suspected deserters, in many cases without anything that deserves being called a "trial", was nothing short of mass murder). According to the online history of the US Army Military Police (, "Slovik was only one of approximately 21,000 soldiers who deserted up until this time.  Of those convicted of desertion, 49 were sentenced to death, six were considered for the death penalty, but Slovik is the only one in which the sentence is actually carried out." I think that your above quoted, somewhat misleading statement is not necessary to reinforce the well-conveyed message that first class human beings were wasted at the Huertgen Forest. What is your opinion?
2.      You write that "More than 24,000 Americans lost their lives ..." in the Huertgen Forest. This would make the little known Huertgen Forest battle the bloodiest in American history, even worse than the Battle of the Bulge, in which ca. 19,000 American soldiers were killed (see e.g. Are you sure that your figure for the Huertgen Forest refers only to those killed or missing in action or died of wounds and does not include the surviving wounded ?

I would very much appreciate your answers to the above questions.

Roberto Muehlenkamp
Siemens, S.A. BU-TT

READER:  See Huertgen Forest site for answers to these questions... Author

   Subject:    Huertgen Forest
   Date:        Sat, 23 Sep 2000 14:43:31 JST
  From:       "Goetz Heermann" <>


    I stumbled across your site while doing some research on WWII on the Web. I'm probably the first to relay a viewpoint from the other side - my dad fought on the German side with the 116th Panzer Division, a.k.a. the "Greyhound Division". According to his opinion, the Battle of the Huertgen Forest would have been an easy victory for the Germans, if it hadn't been for the far superior supplies and manpower the U.S. had at their disposal, while the German side had limited supplies and mounting problems obtaining
replacements for KIA and WIA troops.
    My dad said, that he and his comrades could not understand, how the Americans would throw (and waste) fresh recruits with no battle experience against battle-hardened soldiers, well dug in in their positions, many of them with more than three years experience on the Eastern Front. "Picking them off when they attacked was like shooting fish in a kettle," my dad said. "Those young men were brave, but neither experienced nor led wisely".
    At the end of a day, they would count four American KIA for every single German KIA. Of course, the Huertgen Forest had no strategic value, but that mattered as much to the German Supreme Command as it did to the American generals... It was to Hitler German territory, that had to be defended no matter what.
For the American side, this was one of a few strategically useless battles with a high blood toll. For the German side and the fools in Berlin, it was one of many...
    My dad's division was later pulled out to take part in the Battle of the Bulge, the preparation of which was one of the main reasons, why reserves and supplies were administered sparsely.  Keep it up, I'll continue to visit your site, since I want to know who those people on the other side were, and what their experiences were.

Goetz Heermann

Subject:    Hurtgen Forest
   Date:     Sat, 19 Aug 2000 07:15:00 EDT

    I read your article on the Hurtgen forest, and was deeply moved. My father fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and I have always had a keen interest in world war II. It is impossible to know the extreme sacrifice and Suffering this brave generation indured But thanks to people like yourself people can
appreciate the supreme sacrifice that was made for us and future generations to come.

    I sit and wonder what it must have been like to be in a constant state of fear for ones life all the time not to mention freezing temperatures and death all around It's inconceivable. I am just a 43 year old citizen with no military background who would just like to say thankyou to all veterans, I Know they're the reason I enjoy my freedom today!

             Johnny B.

Subject:    You are a great writer.
   Date:     Sun, 9 Jul 2000 00:06:28 -0400
  From:     "moozbah" <>
    To:       <>

Dear Sir,

       You are a tremendous writer. Your talent is incredible. I found myself all caught up in your stories. I really felt like I was on the deck, in the dark, watching the battle in your story of how you stood too close to the gun and felt like you were blown up. I felt a pang in my heart  at the story of the 5 planes that went into the sea. I could go on and on. You are really brilliant.  Are you a professional writer?
   I was also intrigued by your comment that radiomen tended to be skinny, mild and not prone to fight. You described my Dad the RM3c to a Tee. It is amazing. Did the Navy do this on purpose? You can see my skinny Dad at his ship's web site, Go to the second page of photos and see the guy jumping up and clicking his heels. He couldn't get any skinnier without disappearing.

Thank you for everything you do. You are one great guy. Eileen McN

Subject:   Congratulations
   Date:    Tue, 04 Jul 2000 11:24:35 -0400
  From:    Paul Henriott <>

Hi Ernest,

I have just visited your website. It is one one the best sites that I have seen in a long time. I have an award that I like to present your site with. It is the Warrant Officer's Award of Excellence. This award can not be applied for it is for the very best. Please accept and enjoy it. I am sending you the award display instruction. woawardisp.htm.   If you have any trouble just e-mail me.

I wish you the very best and keep up the good work.

                                                  (AWARD INSTALLED ON HOME PAGE)

Sincerely yours,

Paul D. Henriott CWO,USA,Ret.
1421 Pontiac St Apt 2
Rochester, IN 46975-2119
Web Master of the following websites:

Subject:   Thank You
   Date:     Sat, 05 Aug 2000 11:36:41 -0400
  From:     ernieh <>
    To:      Paul Henriott <>

Dear Paul,

    Thank you very much for your award, it is much appreciated and it came on a very good day (July 4th).  I had much respect for the Warrant Officers of World War II as I encountered many and they seemed to have the best qualities of both officers and enlisted personnel all rolled into one: gentlemen, but with experience.
    I've done a bit of reading at your many URL's and am happy to have some good reading and research ahead of me.  Thank you again and I'll be working on taking advantage of your good looking award icon.  If I have any troubles on getting it installed, I'll certainly take advantage of your generous offer on help.


Ernie Herr

Subject:   Guadalcanal (1942)
    Date:   Thu, 29 Jun 2000 22:56:23 -0400 (EDT)

Hi Ernie!

Hope you can find room for these "sea stories" on your "Feedback From Readers" Page.
John Francis Richter  HM1 (Ret)
Guadalcanal/Korea Alumnus  Semper Fi!!

I was the assigned Corpsman for a 75mm Gun Halftrack with a crew of five rugged gyrenes!! (They would become my "adopted family" for the rest of the four chaotic months on the island!).   One day, surrounded by Japs on land, sea and air, I found myself cramped sardine-like in our makeshift dugout with a growingly edgy crew. We were under a neverending shelling by Jap warships cruising off the coast. As the tension increased, I decided it time to put into play my self-appointed role of "Morale Officer."  In a faked, stern voice I bellowed out loud-and-clear: "Listen up people"!! "Regardless of what these Japs have in mind, this chunk of real estate referred to as the "Canal" is going to remain strictly under U.S. Marine Corps Management!!

(Well at least I got a chuckle out of them, helping to ease the rising tension, and------ my prediction of sustained U.S.Marine control over the island proved accurate!!!) ++++"Seating on the 50 Yard Line"++++ As Coastal Defense components(75mm Gun Half-Track), we were privy to the naval battles erupting to the north of the "Canal". Whenever the Japanese Navy's attention was diverted to our naval ships at sea and away from we"landlubbers" on the beach, the action could be witnessed undisturbed. At times, close enough in daylight to seeing ships lay down smoke screens, and
at night observing the blasts of naval guns, and, on occasion the resulting fireball of an exploding ship beyond the horizon.

All this sitting(much too fatigued to watch standing!) on a long wooden plank brought near the water's edge. This furnished dry seating on the '50 yard line' as we lay witness to those deadly games, (and always praying the last ball of fire was one of _their_ ships, and not one of _ours_!!).  We always had that prevailing sense of guilt we had turned this witnessed 'Game-of-Death' into a stirring recreational event!!

Subject:    WOW!!!!!!!!!
   Date:     Thu, 15 Jun 2000 00:37:12 GMT
  From:      "Oliver Meise" <>

Today is my lucky day...

Looking for photos of solomon island wrecks I stumbled over your site. It`s incredible!  I am very pleased about this site.  So far I`ve not found any better about the Guadalcanal attack.  The more I am pleased, because I am putting together a complete solomon wreck guide for

The written part is ready, but I am out for illustration and photos now. I`ve seen photos at your site I never thought they might exist.. For example JFK at the controls of his PT,the I-1 - Submarine on the beach etc.  My question is, how`s the copyright situation and can I use some of the photos?

Looking forward to your kind reply

Oliver Meise

Subject:   Night Battle of Guadalcanal
   Date:    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 20:25:42 -0400
  From:    Cheryl <>

Hi Ernie,

I wanted to tell you you have a wonderful site! In reading the Horror at Guadacanal  that you wrote, I cried. God bless all the men who gave their lives for freedom, and for those who carried on.
    I have been searching for all the info I can find on the USS Monssen. My Uncle Gordon Delo, was killed in action aboard her on the night of Nov. 13, 1942. From a letter that my Mother received from t Lieut. Com'r Charles E. McCombs, it appears that my Uncle was killed instantly at his station and went down with the Monssen when she sank.  He was a Chief Machinists Mate, and my brother-in-law also said he was probably killed instantly. Could you possibly tell me where his station would of been located on the ship?
    I can't describe how I felt when I saw the picture of the Monssen resting on the bottom of the ocean. It is unbelievable, I'm so thankful that you included it in your story. I have been searching for where my Uncles final resting place was. Just recently learned that his name is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery.

Will visit your site often.

    Date:    Tue, 16 May 2000 17:34:09 -0400
   From:     "Dave McComb" <>
       To:      <>

Hi Ernie,

I’ve just discovered your web site, and in particular the DeHaven  It is interesting to me in light of my development of a web site for the Nicholas crew ( which contains a page for each of the other member ships of DesRon 21, but only the DANFS history. The intent here, as mentioned on the home page, is to reflect that all these ships’ crews had similar experiences; the ‘Nick” was just one ship.

 Elsewhere (e.g., the FIRST PERSON) page, we have some good writing, with more to come. Meanwhile, I notice your piece about Robert Montgomery, who served briefly aboard the Nicholas …

I think a link from the Nicholas site to your site would be interesting, but if YOU look at the Nicholas site, you might have some suggestions about how to arrange it for best effect, join forces, etc. What comes to mind?

Also, is there an O’Bannon site somewhere I haven’t found?

Dave McComb

    Date:     Tue, 16 May 2000 17:57:56 -0400
   From:      "Dave McComb" <>
       To:      <>

Hi again Ernie,

Having spent some more time with your web site, I find it remarkable.

At the National Archives, and also at the Naval Historical Society in Washington, I scanned some photos of the O’Bannon which may interest you … and if you like what you see, please use whatever you like either (a) from the Nicholas web site (three photos of the Nicholas and O’Bannon under construction), or (b) attached. I can give you the right attributions.

There are several more in color and black-and-white if you’re interested,

Dave McComb

     Date:   Wed, 17 May 2000 14:07:35 -0400
     From:  ernieh <>
       To:    Dave McComb <>

Hello Dave,

    Read your very interesting emails and quickly went to your site.  It certainly has a professional appearance and is brilliantly done.  Congratulations.  Got the two pictures of the O'Bannan and they are great.  I brightened up one using a graphics program and will send it back to you shortly.  Pretty busy here the last few days with A/C problems and filter problems on our swimming hole.  Yes, feel free to link to me and to use anything that I have for your site.
    There was another O'Bannon site that was really great but it shut down not too long ago for some reason.  I tried reaching the site owner to no avail.  He had been a Chief Radioman on the O'Bannon some time after WWII.  He had a health problem which may have taken him.   There is another Nicholas site and I just checked it out.  Here is its listing.

    I've got to spend some more time on your site.  I was aboard the Nicholas many times while it was being built and a few times when we tied up to it.  I have the Chief's and First Class names here somewhere.  Both were great guys although I doubt if I spent more than a half hour with them.  There was a damned war going on which fouled things up terribly.
    I'll get back to you shortly as I now have grass to cut -- tough being poor but it does have health advantages.

                                                More later,  Ernie Herr

Subject:     Your Combat Stories Site ..
   Date:      Wed, 22 Mar 2000 19:07:15 +1000
  From:       Lee Kear <>

Hi Ernie,

I'm the editor of a new World War II 'newspaper' called the Normandy news:

I'd like to put a feature ad for your site in our next issue. I've just stumbled across your pages via a search for 'hurtgen forest' and I think it's excellent. You write really well, and with the voice of experience. great stuff! Lets see if we can't get sonme more visitors.

Is this ok with you?

Regards, lee Kear
(aka Guderian)

Subject:     Re: Your Combat Stories Site ..
     Date:    Thu, 23 Mar 2000 12:05:57 +1000
     From:   Lee Kear <>
       To:     ernieh <>
 References:      1 , 2

Hi Ernie,

You can find your ad today on our 'Classifieds' page:

    -and it'll be in our next issue - out in a week or two      Thanks for the offer of a link on your site, much appreciated.

Regards, Lee Kear

Subject:     Hoggatt Bay
   Date:      Mon, 6 Mar 2000 14:22:07 -0800
  From:      "Doherty, Joseph" <>
    To:        "\"'ernieh<>'\" <ernieh"<>

Dear Mr. Herr,

       What a grand thing the internet is.

        My father, Jim Doherty, served on the Hoggatt Bay with you for some period of time.  He never talked about the war, and so I know very little about what he did.  I know that after he graduated from law school he went to Chicago for his Navy training, and then to the Hoggatt Bay.

    I found an old sextant once, and assume he did some navigating.  When the second of two of his brothers died in Italy he was taken out of combat duty (which I have been told was customary in such situations).  Anyway, my father passed away in 1982, and all I have that informs me about his military duty is the Hoggatt Bay memoribilia (a "yearbook" of sorts and some other items).

        And then I found your site!  I haven't read all of it yet, but I will, and will pass the URL on to members of my family.  And will link to it from my web page, come to think of it (!

        Thanks for taking the time to make it.
        Joe Doherty

Joseph W. Doherty
Associate Director for Research
Empirical Research Group
UCLA School of Law
310 206-2675

Subject:     Re: [wwiiresearch] World War II Stories
   Date:      Sat, 19 Feb 2000 20:31:51 -0600
  From:      George Roberts <>
    To:        ernieh <>


    I am working on an oral history/performance piece about combat veterans from WWII. I would love to use several excerpts from your story.

        George Roberts

Assistant Professor
Theatre Arts
Culver-Stockton College

    Thank you for taking the time to read at least one of my stories and certainly you can use excerpts as you like....

Subject:     Story
   Date:      Mon, 14 Feb 2000 18:23:35 -0500 (EST)
  From: (Edwin Hoffman,Jr.)

The story is a superb job.  I feel the Emmons has been truly immortalized.

Emmons Assn. web site address:

    Still waiting to hear from doctor re: surgery -- will let you know.

Subject:     Re from Eileen
   Date:     Tue, 8 Feb 2000 17:59:06 -0500
  From:      "moozbah" <>
    To:        "ernieh" <>

That is a TERRIFIC story about the EMMONS and Okinawa. I printed out the whole thing. You write really well. You integrated a lot  of different material in a really good way. It really helped me in my quest, and I told my friend Mike Mair about it. Do you know him? His Dad was on the USS Mississnewa AO 59 that was blown up by a kaiten too. He has a web site.

Subject:  RE: Happy New Year
   Date:   Fri, 11 Feb 2000 08:30:36 -0500
  From:   "Kalinowski, Joseph" <KALINOWSKIJ@MAIL.ECU.EDU>
    To:     "'ernieh'" <>


You have no idea what impact you have had on me and my family.  ( I guess I had no idea until I thought about it for awhile after receiving your last e-mail.)   Beside your outstanding  Web Site, I have read numerous books on WWII since we first corresponded.  Part of the reason for this is to make a connection with my Dad, who has been gone for 20 years and who I still miss so much.   The other reason is to make a connection between my Dad's  life and my childrens' lives.   My children are in the 4th grade and the 1st grade.  We have a "talking globe" [one on the computerized ones].  My girls and I play with that "talking globe" for hours and they know the South Pacific pretty well now.   Actually, the game taught me more about geography than I would like to admit.

The more I learn --the more I want to know--about the War, the politics, the battles, the strategies, and, of course, the people.  In the last few months I have read and listened to the audiotape version of Tom Brokaw's "the Greatest Generation".   You and your brethren really were the "Greatest Generation".   You save us from tyranny, but at the same time you showed us that the horrors of war were much too costly in this new technological age of killing.  For that we are forever indebted.  Your work as a historian of war has, and will continue to serve your fellows, their children and grandchildren.

Again, God Bless You
Joe Kalinowski, Ph.D.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
East Carolina University
Belk Annex, Oglesby Drive
Greenville, North Carolina 27858

  Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 22:17:01 -0800
  To: <>

          Mr. Ernest A. Herr     Hello, my name is Sean DesCombes, Grandson of Lt. Commander Webb who was killed on January 15, 1945.  I'd like to thank you for a job   well done on the web page you have put together.    Was wondering if you knew Lt. Webb or was on the ship when the accident happened?  My Uncle Dennis is really involved in searching for information about the ship and it's story..  If you had any references or material I would be interested in learning
                   Thank you
            Sean DesCombes236 se BristolLee's Summit Mo.  64063 (816)525-4776 e-mail

Hi Ernie,

    If this Officer was killed on the flight deck, then I think I can help. He had a bomb hung up in the bomb bay of a battle damaged TBM and it blew up when he landed. I was on the catwalk alongside the flight deck when his plane blew up. Damn near got my head blown off. I'm not sure these people want to hear that story though because it's gruesome.

Keep up the good work!
                                Old shipmate,

Hi Ernie,
I want to add this to my previous message:

    Sean DesCombes should know that his Grandfather, Commander Webb, died in his TBM aboard the USS Hoggatt Bay the Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines, and was buried at sea in the South China Sea.  This was NOT a landing accident. The explosion was the result of battle damage to his aircraft.

     Ed Maddox

Subject: Thanks for your site.
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 01:11:06 -0500
From: "moozbah" <>
To: <>

Thank you so much for your site on your experiences on the O'Bannon. I am researching my late Dad's career in the Navy, Radioman 3rd class, USS Conklin DE -439.

I especially appreciate the "Stories that perhaps should remain untold". But I think they should be told.

My generation never had much of a chance to learn about WWII. Our Dad's wouldn't talk, we had Hogan's Heroes and McHales Navy and sanitized John Wayne movies where nobody even bleeds. As I learn about WWII, I am awestruck by your accomplishments and sacrifices. We should kiss the ground you walk on. I mean that. You saved the world.

Eileen McN

Subject: A Corpsman on Guadalcanal
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 19:22:13 -0500 (EST)

Hi Ernie!

    Don't know if you have any use for this, but here goes:

    I can only offer info (medical or otherwise) affecting MY limited world of 5 Marines on a 75mmGun Half-Track that for the greater part either camped or operated in mostly isolated areas:

    Guadalcanal was a jungle like, hot, damp mosquito infected island blessed further with heavy downpours and lightning flashes that at times could not be distinguished from that of enemy Naval gun flashes! An island that rocked to-and-fro as a broadside of 14" shells from a Jap battleship sunk deep within its innards. An island that trembled almost daily from heavy enemy bombings (and head bashing falling coconuts!). An island continually invaded by an increasing number of Japanese troops, predetermined to have their say!!

    "Front line" battle wounds were treated with the topical application of a moderate coating of Sulfanilamide Powder "sprinkled" directly into the open wound. Sulfathiazol Tablets given orally (if not an abdominal wound!) for the additional fight against bacterial infection. Then a dry padded "battle dressing" was applied. If patient was in extreme pain, Morphine Sulfate (1/4gr) was injected intramuscularly (into deltoid if practical). The Morphine Solution was in a small squeezable tube affixed with sterile needle, ready for immediate use! I carried in an emptied Jap gas mask case (quite big!) various first aid items ranging from simple Band Aids to Morphine Sulfate (no intravenous solutions or related items).

    Many other items necessary to maintain a healthy fighting crew, were also carried in that case, or in my "Unit One" (canvas pouch with shoulder sling).  Calamine Lotion to treat heat rash, etc.; Tincture of Mertholate for small lacerations;  Elixir Of Terpin Hydrate for coughs; APC Capsules, aspirin. phenacetin, Caffeine) were considered an old trusty standby for just about all other ailments (mainly for their placebo affect!!).  Symptoms of Malaria (chills--fever-chills-fever, etc.) were referred to the Regimental Aid Station as were any and all cases that I could not handle in isolation.

    PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: Atabrine Tablets administered semiweekly to suppress malaria symptoms; salt tablets prior to or after excessive perspiration; proper hygiene--the "whore's bath" accomplished with helmet filled to capacity with rainwater. The all-purpose helmet also substituted as "washtub" for our delicate undergarments (that in time rotted away!)   As the cry went out  "There's fungus among us",   I admonished the men to keep themselves as dry as possible.  (You could hear their sharp, snide retorts echo throughout that clammy, steaming, rain drenched jungle: "YEAH"!! "RIGHT"!!)  One of our crew was reluctant to leaving his private foxhole a any time.

    He ate, slept. etc. there until his sparse clothes began to mold. After several unsuccessful attempts to entice him out, we forcefully took him to the Regimental Surgeon for evaluation.  He was immediately replaced.  Evacuation of casualties by Field Hospital was initially by Higgins Boats to off-shore ships. Later with the availability of the airstrip on Guadalcanal, military transport planes evacuated patients to rear area hospitals, some distance from the island.  The Japs I met never gave me cause. (they were all expired!) and I for one had never been aware of any Japanese "Medics" among the dead.

    Used my shelter halved "Sick Bay" area as Headquarters for poker playing; gripe sessions and sea story telling. In addition to medical treatment for various conditions, I also believed in dispensing MEGA- DOSES of much needed "Positive Thinking" to help neutralize the debilitating affect of the surrounding and never ending CHAOS!  During an enemy air raid, our newly formed coastal defense position was completely leveled wounding "Smitty" and blowing "yours truly" out of my shallow foxhole.

    "Smitty", a no-nonsense type of Marine whispered in my ear as I treated his extensive wounds: "Doc! I think I "DID IT" in my pants!!  Knowing of his macho image, I reassured him that under similar circumstances, "doing it" in one's pants is par for the course, and besides, none of the crew now knew nor need ever know it happened to him!  With this assurance, the apprehensive tension on his face suddenly disappeared as he was then transported to a medical facility in the rear. (As if there ever was a "REAR" on Guadalcanal!!)

John Francis Richter
HM1 USN (Ret.)
Guadalcanal/Korea Alumnus Semper Fi

my site

 Subject: Looking back

 Hi Ernie,

     Hope this reaches you o.k. Recently contacted Paul Henriott at his website who put me in touch with your story  about the U.S.S. DeHaven DD469. Fantastic! I was finally able to find out what happened from the outside.  From the one liners I ran across in other books I was wondering if it had all been a bad dream. If I sent you a check  would  it be an imposition to have you send me a signed copy of your book.
    I was a signal striker with my battle  station  inside the pilot house as telephone talker that "last day" and did manage to survive. Always thought only two of us did survive, me and a Quartermaster (or helmsman). Happy to learn there was a third, the Lt.  I would love to  let my son see that I really was there. Thanks for helping me get in touch and hope also to hear from you.

 A shipmate from your past

 Albert L. Breining

 Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 16:24:51 -0500
 From: albertb <>
 To: ernieh <>
 Subject: Re: Looking back

 ernieh wrote:

 Hi Albert,

 As promised I'm sending you the listing of my site that just went online with the DeHaven story. Maybe this will help convince your son.

 Your old shipmate,

                     Ernie Herr

Hi Ernie,

Thanks for the information! Looks great and I've already forwarded the site info to my son. I'm so happy to have run into you and Paul because I learned more in the last couple of weeks about the 'DeHaven' and its demise than anything I'd learned in the previous fifty-five years. Incidentally I bought the book " The Lost Ships of Guadalcanal" by Robert D.Ballard which you suggested and I can't thank you enough.
    As I told Paul I'm happy not to be with her there on the slope of Savo.

Good luck in all your endeavors
                                                            Al; Fri, 13 Jun 1997 02:26:07 EDT
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 23:25:38 -0700
From: Andrew Ashcraft <>
Subject: EXCELLENT !!!


Your account is excellent by every standard.  Well written throughout - educational, humorous and touching all in turn.  Thank you for several hours of entertainment while I sit here at work with not too much to do.

Thank you for the service you gave our nation.

Many regards,

Andrew N. Ashcraft

Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 13:46:28 EST

Hi Ernie,

Read your tale, figured you'd like to hear this. My great-uncle Norman Wheatley went to the Solomons c.1890 as a trader. He set up shop on New Georgia when the locals were still headhunters. He eventually had a plantation which was sold to settle debt upon his death in '29. The man who bought it was a Digger named Lesley Gill. The plantation became the Japanese airfield.
    Unc was a wild one, he had 2 native wives (not at once!) and 14 children. His son Hughie was a Native Medical Practitioner who was involved with the Coastwatcher network. Hughie, another medic named "Dutchie" Klaucke, and a Catholic priest (whose name escapes me at the moment) travelled by small launch to Faisi in the Shortlands. They were in the middle of a squall which lifted and they found themselves in the middle of a Jap destroyer flotilla. The Japs said Yo come here, we want to talk to you. Hughie and Dutchie were armed with pistols, which they dropped overboard. They got them on deck and searched them. Dutchie had extra ammo in his pocket that he missed. They took him to the rail, summarily executed him.
    The priest was released, my cousin went to the prison camp at Rabaul. He was a victim of friendly fire when US planes bombed the area. Hughie's nephew and namesake was born in a cave in the interior of New Georgia in Oct. 42. One of my cousins was a kid at the time, said they used to come down to the beach at dawn to see what had washed up. One would walk out to check for mines (!?), and rest would follow. The family held on to 2 islands in Roviana lagoon, and 2 more in the Diamond Narrows near Blackett Strait.
    I visited them in Sept 86, was also at a lot of the sites on "The Canal"--Bloody Ridge, Tenaru River, etc. Some of my cousins sang "You are my sunshine" and K-k-k-katie. Lots of "hot" debris left over.
    I was born 7/45. As a kid at Coney Island beach, we would play "Guadalcanal". I consider it to be right up there with Gettysburg. I play poker with some neighbors, this guy Ralph is a retired Commander, but he was a Carpenter's Mate on the Astoria.

        Hey Ernie, fair skies and a following sea to you and all your buddies! Robert in Ca. (note my e-mail address- --Guadalcanal without vowels)

That he which hath no stomach to this fight
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the Feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors
And say, "Tomorrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with added luster,
what feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be me brother; be he ne'er so lowly,

This day shall enoble his rank.
And gentlemen in England, now abed,
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

From: <>
To: <>
Subject: Solomons and singing
Date: Thursday, February 19, 1998 12:46 AM

Hi Ernie,

A planter on New Georgia contemporary with my g- uncle was a man named (deleted by request); his place was up on Marovo Lagoon. When he got drunk he'd have the work force dress in white robes and sing "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny". He wasn't even a Yank!! I know, I know; what Yank would sing that song.

Something I read once:

To the rest of the world, a Yankee is someone from the US;
To an American, a Yankee is someone from north of the Mason-Dixon Line;
A Northerner thinks a Yankee is someone from New England;
A New Englander thinks a Yankee is a Maine resident;
To a citizen of Maine, a Yankee is someone who eats blueberry pie for breakfast.

Good WW ll book on New Georgia: Munda Trail, by Eric Hamil (sp?)


From: Gdlcnl <>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 17:45:50 EST
Subject: Re: Solomons and singing


Did I tell you my cousin Michael is the head of the local defense force? He put in his time as an Australian para major and now lambastes the PNG forces for incursions into Solomons turf while in hot pursuit of insurgents from Bougainville. B-ville is ethnically Solomon, politically PNG.
    You probably remember the scandal of the PNG government hiring Sandline, a group of Brit and SA mercenaries to hunt down the rebels. The people went apeshit and voted the whole government out. Guess who went by Aussie Army aircraft to Aus. to hammer out the treaty after 10 yrs-----the village women- they have pull- property is passed through the wifes family.     There have been accusations of PNG forces firing grenades at fishermen.
        Re the comments of people; my childhood friend Joe Ferrandino had the winning idea for the Viet Nam memorial on Water St. in NYC, using excerpts of letters home; he shared it with the architects who executed the design.Later there was a book and a tv show, they squeezed him out. Human nature. They're lucky they didn't piss him off. He was with the 101st Airborne, and has a fictional account called "Firefight".


From: Rodger Crum <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: Page
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 19:55:37 -0500


    You have done it again. The stories are really interesting. I was an EM and managed to get to all parts of the ship. Your mentioning of CIC and the radio room brought back many memories and words I have not heard in a long time. I even remember the DRT. My friend who died on the ship was even teaching me to use it the day he was killed. I had it in my shirt pocket and recently dug it out to look at again. wrote:

 Hello  Ernie,

     Ya know how funny things happen, well I was in the kitchen last evening preparing supper for Ellen & I and I was just thinking about different things. Then the thought ran through my mind that it would probably take Ellen & I to be in Binghamton, NY in order to get her brother to ever produce a picture of Bert so I could send it to you.

    Only minutes passed and Ellen calls me into the family room and here is this fine picture of Bert in uniform no less. Al had sent it on a file.  The "nuts!" You can even see his stripes and insignia patch. I remember that he was a fire control man which had to do with gunnery not fires.

     I know Ellen forwarded this picture to you last night and we're both excited to hear if  if you remember him. Then I asked my wife, "what if we find out he was one of the ""racy"" ones you had mentioned!" I hope he was she says. Bert was rather quiet, very smart and would speak his piece @ the right time. He could figure out cross-word puzzles easily, I don't even attempt them. He ended up working for General Electric as an engineer of some type (my guess is electrical) @ some point after the war. My wife was born in Bakersfield, CA in July of '51. She is the 1st of 4 children. At some point they moved to and lived in Alabama, & I know the family moved from Ala. to the Binghamton, NY area in 1966.

     Anyway, let us know if you remember Bert. Also feel free to "pass" that picture along to others that my have known him.  I've got to get working here.

        Later,   Richard wrote:

Ernie --
Hope this e-mail finds you in good health.

 Attached is a navy picture of my father,  Albert  (Bert)   E. Baxendale.       My husband , Richard, has been trading e-mails with you about the ship you both served on.  I hope you can remember my father.   I think what you are doing on the internet is great for children and for making history be real on a personal level.

Ellen Baxendale-Reardon

Hello Rich and Ellen,

    Just a quick response to let you know that I received Bert's picture but, alas, did not recognize him.  If you knew the conditions in which we were living, you would not be all that surprised though.  Yes, I would like to put his picture on my site along with any more that I can drum up.  I have some great responses from those who knew the O'Bannon and their stories seem more interesting than the story itself.
                                                        Ernie Herr

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 98 21:59:27 EDT
Subject: Re: Dad's Story
To: ernieh <ernieh@OLS.NET>

Hi, Ernie!
                Thank you for your thoughtful message about my Dad's homepage on Peleliu. I bookmarked your page to look at later this weekend, hopefully, when I have more time. You might find it interesting to learn a little more about my Dad. He has had some hard knocks in his life since the war, things that would break most men. There were many things that happened far worse than this, but one thing was that a family member embezzeled from the furniture store (a family business) and largely due to that the business had to be closed. When my Dad broke the news to me of what happened I was very angry at the relative.
    My Dad was so calm and cool that it made me nuts! I said, "Dad! How can you stand it!!
That so-and-so...." My Dad replied that the relative wasn't really a bad man, he had just made some bad decisions. I said, "Bad decisions!!!???? Dad! He stole from us all! He destroyed the business! How can you be so calm about this?!?" Dad was quiet for a moment and then told me that after he survived the war he told God that he wasn't going to complain about anything else that came into his life from then on. And he hasn't. He feels that he was given extra time to live his life when others did not, and it was God that allowed the extra time.
    He says he didn't do anything special to deserve a longer life, but God saw fit to grant it and he would now live the rest of his life for God. And he has. He is truly a remarkable individual and he is so very much loved by his family. He and my Mom have 3 sons and I am their only daughter. They also have 6 grand-children.
    An interesting thing going on right now is that Dad and I are organizing a reunion of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines to be held this June in Connecticut and the Discovery Channel will be filming it. These men have, for the most part, not seen each other in over 52 years. Two researchers who went to the Peleliu in November 97 after picking my Dad's brains about the battle, will be at the reunion to talk about Peleliu then and now. The researchers were particularly interested in the battle my Dad and John Kincaid fought in holding the pinnacle of one of the hills (written about on our web page). John and Dad did not know at the time that the Japanese headquarters on the island was located below 50' below them in a huge cave.
    While Dad and John were being attacked all night, the Japanese were relocating on the island under cover of darkness. Taking that hill like they did was important to the outcome of the rest of the battle. When the researchers went back to Peleliu, now overgrown with lush vegetation, they were able to find not only the hill Dad and John fought on, but the exact spot--with the wall they had built around it still standing and a live hand grenade still sitting in the hole. They worked long and hard to clear the spot to take photos for us and they returned with chunks of the wall for both John and Dad. I have a chunk of it myself and it is one of my prized possessions.
    The researchers also went into the cave that had been the Japanese Headquarters and found 2 skeletons along with many pieces of weaponry. The island is filled with the remnants of war to this day.
    I'll tell you yet one more thing. We located John Kincaid through the internet. He is too ill to attend the reunion, unfortunately, but he and Dad have reunited by telephone. Thank you again for your interest. I hope you will share our web page with others.

                                    Sue, Proud Daughter of a Vet

Subject: interesting story
Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 21:32:55 -0500
From: "Todd Rosel" <>

To: <>

    I recently read your story on your naval adventures and found them very interesting. My father also was in the Navy during World War II. He was on board the USS Lexington an aircraft carrier that was sunk at the Battle of Coral Sea. He was on the ship at this time and abandoned ship and spent the rest of the war on Destroyer convoys in the Atlantic. Another interesting tidbit of history, while he was on the Lexington they left Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, one day before Pearl Harbor was bombed.

                                        Todd Rosel

Subject:     hi
   Date:      Sun, 11 Oct 1998 23:11:24 -0700
   From:     Linda & Jeff Leathley <>
     To:       Ernie & Ginny Herr <>

Hi Ernie, wow, what an impressive group of stories you wrote.  If you would like I will send you an account of my Uncle Paul Anthony Gill, a WW2 Hero.  There was a very nice article about what he went through evading the Bataan Death March.  If you would like I Will snail mail it to ya.  I also had a Cousin Richard Gill that went down with the USS Arizona.  When Mom and I saw his name on the Wall on the Memorial it made us both cry.  Well, gotta get to bed, c-ya
later,       Love, Linda

Subject:      Honey I shrunk the ship
   Date:       Sun, 8 Nov 1998 13:59:51 EST

Hey Ernie..
                    I just printed out & read your saga,& found that the Radford (DD446) had shrunk to a minesweeper..wa hoppen?  Break out your tire pump & inflate her to a 2100 Thanx...interesting reading..My boat crew didn'tget lucky..the Gwinn picked us up from Munda the next day & we were transfered to the AK American Legion @ the Canal..we tryed to get them to call over to Tulagi , but they wouldn' we went with the survivors to Noumea...Wanna have some fun ..try to check in to any where..Are you a survivor ..No Where's your ship?   I don't know..Where's your orders.. Don't have any,,,     Next!!!

            Chat later

It took abt a month to finally get back aboard..all our gear had been DC'd and we had to collect it from the vultures..When we finally got aboard the old Man greeted us in the wardroom with I'm considering charging you four with desertion under fire....
.some sense of humor..we were all advanced one rate..

            Hang in there Ernie ..ain't too many of us kids left.

    Hey Cliff -- How right you are, and the Radford (DD446) was one of the greatest of ships -- found a tire pump and got your ship inflated back to its proper size....Thank you for checking and correcting.... Ernie Herr

Subject:    guadalcanal
   Date:     Wed, 11 Nov 1998 15:15:54 -0500
   From:   "Williams, Allen (IPD)" <>
     To:     "" <>

    I just finished reading your story on the internet and want to thank you for sharing it with all of us.  My dad was a radarman on a DE in the south Pacific during WWII. (USS Heylinger DE 510)  I was an electronics technician who served four years in the navy in the mid sixties.  67 in Danang RVN.  I am enthralled by the stories of what you men endured and ccomplished.  My dad, his brother and my mother's brother all served in the navy in WWII and I am delighted to read and thereby share some of what they experienced.  My sea time was on a fleet oiler during peace time, I can only imagine what you men experienced.  Again thanks for sharing your story. I read it in one sitting as it held my attention.

Allen Williams

Subject:   RE: guadalcanal
   Date:    Wed, 11 Nov 1998 16:51:29 -0500
   From:    "Williams, Allen (IPD)" <>
     To:      ernieh <>

Hi Ernie,

Yes I read your story on the American war library web site.  I was searching for some information on my dad's ship when I found the web site.  I did find a picture of dad's ship and the specs for it.  He wasn't in the type of battles that you were, but he did participate in the clean up of a couple of small islands and his was the first ship into Truk at the end of the war.

He said that they were "concerned" as to their reception as Truk was full of all sizes of Japanese warships.  My mom's brother was on a cruiser in the Pacific, but I don't know which one.  He did participate in some shore bombardments.  My dad's brother was a coxsin during the D-day invasion and ended up spending several months with the army when his boat was sunk under him.

Unfortunately my dad and his brother are no longer with us.  I proudly fly his flag on memorial day. I got my taste of combat on the shore in Vietnam.  I am a sailor who keenly appreciates the Marine Corps.  Thank you for adding my response to your readers file.  I'll come and visit your web site.

Allen Williams

 Date:    Wed, 11 Nov 1998 14:54:48 -0500
 From:     "Joe B. Sousa Jr." <>
     To:     "ernieh" <>

Hi Ernie:

    I have not gotten good enough to find my original message to you let alone re-sending it.  I've got a lot to learn about these computers.  I hope you are well.  I thought of you on this Veteran's Day.  I also thought of my brother who was a Marine, my three cousins, among them Frank Sousa who served on the O'Bannon, and their father who was a Veteran of both World War I and II.  My brother, my Uncle, and two of my cousins, including Frank, are now deceased. But I'll never forget them.

    This is a sad day for me.  Today's generations do not pay much attention to Armistice Day. I don't think we do a very good job of educating out youngsters as to the hell that millions of people went through just so we could have the liberties and lifestyles we enjoy today.  What is even sadder, is that we are destined to repeat the past if we do not learn from it.

    I hope you will forgive me for sounding off but I do feel what I say very deeply.  I watched a program on the History Channel today about the Viet Nam War.  Our returning soldiers were degraded by those who refused to fight.  One soldier got off the plane, happy to be home, and a Hippy spit on his chest.  I'm not going to tell you what I would have done to that guy.

    Ernie, I went all over the Internet to see if I could get a copy of Action Tonight.  I may have told you that I read it when I was a kid.  My cousin Frank let me take the book.  I would like to have my own copy.  Perhaps I should try the library...that's something I have not done yet.  Can you tell me the name of the author?

    I'm running out of gas.  I hope you have a wonderful Veterans Day.  Not everyone forgot what you guys did for us.

                                                Best Regards

                                                Joe Sousa

   Date:    Sat, 14 Nov 1998 15:24:17 -0500
   From:   "Joe B. Sousa Jr." <>
     To:     "ernieh" <>


    Thank you very much for sending me your web page.  I've already put it in my list of favorites.  I also read and copied the Maine Potato Incident.  My wife is reading it right now.  I remember my cousin Frank talking about the incident when he returned from the Pacific.  Your Captain took quite a chance changing his decision to ram the sub.  If they had been on the ball, the Japs could have made life very interesting for you.  I'll look forward to reading all your stuff...and, I will.

    How long were you on the O'Bannon?  I remember my cousin talking about someone named Kinkaid.  I don't know who he was...mabe the Captain.  Wasn't the O'Bannon with the ship in which the five Sullivan Brothers were lost? I'll stop here before I drive you crazy with all my questions.

                                                Best Regards

                                                Joe Sousa

   Date:    Sun, 15 Nov 1998 18:23:30 -0500
   From:   "Joe B. Sousa Jr." <>
     To:     "ERNIE HERR" <>

Hi Ernie:

    I lost the next to the last message I sent to you and it had some information that I think you would have liked to have had.  So, I'll try again.  I may have already told you about some of this. I live in Bristol Rhode Island which is about 11 miles from Newport.  during World War II, Newport was home base for much of the Atlantic Fleet.  There were many jokes which floated about regarding all the white hats in Newport.  It was infested with Navy and Marines.  I'll write about our experiences there from time to time.

    Today, I'd like to focus on Bristol where the Hereshoff Boat Yard built most of the PT's and Mine Sweepers used by the Navy.  My father was a yard Foremen and I would take his lunch to him every day.  I would watch the PT's on their hakedown cruises right in Narragansett Bay.  That was a thrill.  They would disconnect their mufflers which would give them about another 8 knots but it would make those Packard engines very noisy.  It appeared that they would make a torpedo run at full speed then, turn on a dime.  By the way, the torpedoes used by the Navy were made right here in Newport at the Naval Torpedo Station.  Many people from Bristol worked there too.  That's another story.

    I get kind of excited when I write about this area because there was so much going on during the war.  Not far from here is Otis Air Base which, during the war, was called Camp Edwards.  We also have several coast artillery sites which were major defense points against attack from the sea.

    Have you ever visited the area?  I know just about every ship visited Newport.  From what I understand, the Naval War College in Newport is to the Naval officer what Yale was to the civilian.  Well, my friend, I'll look forward to hearing from you.  I hope you had a nice weekend.

                                            Best Regards

                                            Joe Sousa

Subject:  Re: Main page comment
   Date:   Mon, 30 Nov 1998 13:47:54 -0500
   From:  The American War Library <>
     To:    ernieh <>


Hang tough... and keep up that wonderful writing. You're doing a great job
preserving the memory of American men and ships long past.

Ed (and The War Library)

-- Reference Desk
   The American War Library

 Subject:   Thanks
   Date:     Mon, 30 Nov 1998 09:39:37 -0500
   From:   "Kalinowski, Joseph" <KALINOWSKIJ@MAIL.ECU.EDU>
     To:     "''" <>
    CC:     "'Fran Streitfeld'" <>


    My Dad served on the USS O'Bannon for a period of time during WWII.  He never spoke much about it and we (his kids) never pried into that part of his life.  We were all born in the 50's and grew up in the 60's and 70's---WWII seemed far away to us as young children and young adults.   But like most people as I grow older I wonder about my Dad's life in the War.   My
Dad became a policeman in Massachusetts after work as a laborer.   He worked as a cop for 20 years until he got sick with kidney disease at the age of 48.  At the age of 54, he died at Mass General Hospital after 2 kidney transplants.  During his sickness he showed courage that was beyond my understanding and he would occasionally say "I have been a very lucky man in the past and if I'm to make it throughout this I will and if not--it not meant to be".

    I never considered him a lucky man  and had no idea what he was talking about..... I didn't ask. I was only 19 and afraid for him as was my brother, sister and mother.  He hinted this luck occurred during the War.  But he never spoke much of the War.  He once said I probably killed men but I never saw them die.  I assume that was from firing guns on the ship.  He also lost all of his hearing in one ear from unprotected gun fire on his ship.

    Any ways,  I was wonder in you possible remember Tony Kalinowski (Anthony Stanley Kalinowski).  He was a carpenter's mate.  He lead a wild life before he met my Mom--so nothing you tell me--if anything would shock me.    I miss my Dad--he's been gone since 1979 and I now have 2 kids who I tell of Grandpa "Tony" all the time.  I teach them about Wars and presidents and battles,.  But I am a professor of speech pathology at ECU --not history professor and my lesson are simplistic, naive, and probably damn goofy.

    Thanks for telling me why my Dad swore like a sailor until his death. Your section on swearing, boozing, and womanizing fit with my picture of my young father.   I think he wanted to tell us about that war but either had stuff to hide or was following some kind of code of silence......I don't know..        Any information would help..

        Be well and God Bless you..

        Joe Joe Kalinowski, Ph.D.

Communication Sciences and Disorders
East Carolina University
Belk Annex, Oglesby Drive
Greenville, North Carolina 27858

Subject:   RE: USS O'Bannon
   Date:    Tue, 1 Dec 1998 00:20:21 -0500
   From:  "Kalinowski, Joseph" <KALINOWSKIJ@MAIL.ECU.EDU>
     To:    "'ernieh'" <>
    CC:    "'Fran Streitfeld'" <>, "''" <>

        Thanks so much for your recollection of my Dad.  He was " rathertall, well built and had kind of blond hair.  "   You remembered and it means so much!!!   I will send my brother and sister a copy of your e-mail and this reply.  And  I will
share with my children "Grandpa Tony's" shipmate's writings of  the War.  You have put a personal history and meaning on a very vague part of our "family history".   You have also helped me understand the personal sacrifice that you and your generation made.

    You can use any and all e-mails that I have sent you for any portion of your site ( sorry about the typos).   Your work has affected me greatly--- thank you so much and keep up the great work.   I will write again.

                        God Bless You

        PS. I did  find you  at The American War Library?


Joe Kalinowski, Ph.D.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
East Carolina University
Belk Annex, Oglesby Drive
Greenville, North Carolina 27858

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

 William James

 From:    ernieh
 Sent:     Monday, November 30, 1998 10:12 PM
 To:       Kalinowski, Joseph
 Subject:  USS O'Bannon


     Glad to receive your very interesting e-mail and learn about your father.  Yes, I do believe I can remember him if only vaguely.  My best  friend on the O'Bannon was a carpenters mate by the name of Bill Chambers whom I got to know very well as we sat up in Bath, Maine waiting for the shipyard to finish the O'Bannon.  So I did get to the carpenter's shop a few times.  It was at the stern of the ship.  If my memory is correct your father was rather tall, well built and kind of blond hair.  However, it is sad how little I can remember of the crew since once we were underway there was little time to do any socializing.

     It is amazing how little I talked to my children about the war and I  guess your father was the same way.  When I left combat, I tried to forget it as if it were a bad dream -- I guess that's what we all did. When one of the sites was looking for stories of WWII, it occurred to me that maybe I could write one.  That's how it all started.
     You probably found my story on the American War Library while you were searching for the O'Bannon.  My own home page has additional stories on it and comments -- like yours -- that come in from readers trying to find information.  If it is okay with you, I will put your e-mail on my site under READERS RESPONSE as this too can be of historical value.  Click on the site listed below to go there.
     Yes, like your Dad, we all seemed to have had stories that we were not too anxious to tell.  As I mentioned somewhere in one of my stories, I might some day write those stories but it will have to be under a "pen" name.  Looks like you are doing fine for yourself as I checked your site. Let me know if my description fits your Dad.  And did you find my story at The American War Library?

                         Thank you for writing,
                                                                 Ernie Herr

Subject:   Date:   Fri, 4 Dec 1998 13:53:24 -0800
   From:   "Steve and Raney Castle" <>
     To:      <>


Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the wonderful site you have created on the net.  I served in the DDE/DD 450 from 3/60 through 12/65. this was my first tour of sea duty and while onboard, I progressed from SOSA to Sonar Tech !st class. I  never experienced the same crew closeness or loyalty on any other sea duty in my 30 year career. I believe that the first experience sets the tone and O'B was a magnificent Lady.

Thanks again

Kent S. Castle, STGCM, USN Ret

   Date:  Sun, 13 Dec 1998 09:49:00 -0800
   From:  Juanita Smith <>


    I read the story of "The Girls" just now! What hardships they did endure! I didn't know that one of the bombs delivered by balloon actually killed someone. I knew some had landed and started forest fires, but not actually causing casualties. I read the story yesterday of the soldiers guarding the train of displaced persons. I'm afraid the people of the U S would fail miserably under some of the conditions a lot people have had to face under war torn countries. I don't believe that people here realize FULLY what a war on their on turf could mean. That is why we need to honor our veterans give them the benefits they were promised and so richly deserve!!!

    As for the Smith's----would you believe that my hubby says that his family is in some way related to Jesse James!!!! Hopefully that mean streak in the blood has weakened over the years!

    LOL You have a good day, God Bless you and yours, and thank you for serving
our country!!------Juanita

Subject:  O'Bannon story
   Date:    Sun, 6 Dec 1998 05:22:11 -0600
   From:   "Jim Hyde" <>
     To:      <>

A keeper! Thanks!

Subject:  O'Bannon Home Page
   Date:   Tue, 22 Dec 1998 17:29:19 -0500
   From:  "Richard Staley" <>
     To:      <>


It is with deep regret that I inform you that it was I, the web master for the USS O'Bannon who blundered on the plaque from the Maine Potatoes growers.  Please forgive me and accept my apologies.  This situation will be corrected before the first of the year.  May I ask that you put a link to the O'Bannon home page on your page after the correction is made.  Thank you for your kindness and understanding.

FCC(SW) Richard Staley

Subject:   Observer from Cuba
   Date:    Sun, 17 Jan 1999 14:17:12 EST

Hi Ernie:

    In reference of the actions of the "O'Bannon" in the Caribbean: During the war there was a great activity of German submarines around the waters of Cuba, due to the traffic of oil tankers from Venezuela and Mexico, freighters from Cuba loaded with sugar and nickel, in route to ports of the U.S. and to Halifax to joint convoys, and the proximity of the Panama Canal. I was around 8 years old at the time,  but remember very well when my dad took me to the National Capitol in Havana, to the funeral of sailors killed in the torpedoing of a Cuban merchant ship. I remember also seeing Catalinas and blimps of the U.S.Navy flying anti-sub patrols, and sub-chasers of the Cuban Navy steaming out of the port of Havana. Toward the end of the war, one of these sub-chasers sank a German U-boat and I remember all the excitement that this war action originated in Cuba.

    For us kids, the war, with all the photos of warships, aircrafts, the news on the radio and all that, was something fascinating. Little we new then of all the horror and agony involved in it. Thank you for your kind words and a Happy New Year to you and family.

Tony Cuesta,
Hialeah, Florida.

Subject:   The "O'Bannon"
   Date:    Sun, 17 Jan 1999 14:33:42 EST

Recently I took out a book from a public library, "Men, Ships and the Sea", by Capt. Alan Villiers and others, edited by the National Geographic Society, and in the chapter "WWII: A Sailors Story", under the title "Naval Profiles 1798-1973" for a destroyer they show the "O'Bannon", 1942, and it says: Destroyer, 2700 Tons, 376' 4", 35+ knots, and it has the number 450 on the hull. I thought that this bit of information may interest you.

Tony Cuesta,
Hialeah, Florida.

Subject:  Triad Classifieds
   Date:   Mon, 25 Jan 1999 19:36:13 -0500
   From:  "AdMaster" <>
     To:    "ernieh" <>

    Thanks for the wishes, went to your site, great reading! would you mind if I linked to your site? I think others would love to read your stories.

-----Original Message-----
From: ernieh <>
To: Tommy Thompson <>
Date: Monday, January 25, 1999 8:53 AM
Subject: Re: Looking for writers

Subject:  Corvette Kiwi
   Date:   Thu, 28 Jan 1999 23:54:58 +0800
   From:  "Rick Scoones" <>
     To:    <>

Hi Ernie

    I read with facination your account of the action at Guadalcanal involving the New Zealand Corvette Kiwi - you Americans used to call her K-one-W-one!! when she was in Honiara!!!  How do I know - my Dad served as No 1 on Kiwi for a fair part of the war.  I have never spoken much to Dad about his war experienes - he just doesn't talk about his memories of that time - I suspect he had some very bad experiences and that some of the actions they were invloved in resulted in the losses of some good friends.

    Anyway, I wanted, among other things, to correct just one small error but it would be nice to get it right for historical reasons ...KIWI's sister ship was MOA (like the large extinct flightless bird) as opposed to MAO (NZ doesn't have strong links with China!).  There was also a third sister ship (TUI) another NZ native but the tui can fly!  I believe that MOA was sunk in a subsequent action in the same area as the action with the cargo sub.

    I did enjoy reading the account of the action of which I was aware from Dad but had no details - got a bit of my "past" which Dad can't manage to give me.  By the way, his name is Stewart - we share the same surname(!), and he is now almost 79, and lives in France and keeps pretty well still despite a chequered medical history.

Best wishes

Rick Scoones
Aquaculture and Pearling Consultant


Subject:   Re: Corvette Kiwi
   Date:    Fri, 29 Jan 1999 08:36:26 +0800
   From:   "Rick Scoones" <>
     To:     "ernieh" <>

Hi again Ernie

Many thanks for your reply - aren't PC's and the internet wonderful...  Just one thing, Dad was First Mate (= No1) not the Captain - he was a lieutenant or 1st lieutenant (I think the latter) by the time of that action.  I don't recall ever knowing the skipper's name. Strangely, I walked into an old bookshop (old books!) in Perth and saw a book on NZ naval ships - unfortunately it was $150 and beyond my budget. Anyway, curious, I looked up KIWI and found not only mention of it and the action to which your article relates but also a picture of her!  Another piece of my heritage if you like!

Many thanks for the reply - I'll tell Dad about our exchanges and if he wishes he may look up your page - I don't think he will though for previously-mentioned reasons.

Kindest regards  Rick

-----Original Message-----
From: ernieh <>
To: Rick Scoones <>
Date: Friday, 29 January 1999 00:54
Subject: Re: Corvette Kiwi

Hi Rick,     Thank you for your comments on my story of the KIWI.  I thought it as a story worth putting together.  It surely would make a nice motion picture with all that action.  I take it that your Dad as No 1 was the captain of the KIWI.If so, his comments on the story would be interesting.  Maybe the story could jar his reluctant memory for you.  I do know that many veterans do not care to bring back memories that are so painful.  I made the corrections that you recommended a few minutes after receiving your email.  It is wonderful how these computer programs can accomplish these changes with little effort.  If you don't mind I will put your response into my "Response from Readers" column.        Sincerely, Ernie Herr

   Subject:    ANY INFORMATION
   Date:        Sun, 7 Feb 1999 00:32:58 -0500
   From:       "tony & heather russell" <>
     To:         <>