The Seaweed

USS Champlin DD-601  

Spring 2000 - Page 4

( continued from page 3 )

The carrier's planes have a water distilling plant as their target.

August 1. Wednesday. At sea. Approximately 0545 we sighted Wake Island. About 0600 the carrier's planes opened their attack; at 0630 we went to GQ. The Pennsylvania commenced firing at 0700 to 0730. She knocked out two eight inch shore batteries. At 1000 we went in ourselves to keep the island under fire while the Pennsylvania and two cans went around the other side of the island. We fired till 1230. The Japs return fire was very little and ineffective at times, although two shells hit about 200 yards off our port beam. The battlewagon also had a few close ones. One of the carrier's planes was damaged by AA fire and returned to the carrier. At 1230 the Pennsylvania and the two cans returned to lay down another barrage. The planes also attacked the island twice, again in the afternoon. As a whole the Japs didn't want to return our fire. We secured at 1430 to continue on our course. The attack was considered fairly effective and successful. The island is barren and desolate with no vegetation at all visible. The Ordronaux came alongside at 1600 to take our mail off. The Pennsylvania lost one of her planes. It cracked up while landing.

August 2. Thursday. At sea. Proceeding to Saipan with Pennsylvania and two other cans. The carrier and two flush-deckers left us last night to return to Pearl Harbor. There is no sun today and some heavy swells, and inconsistent rain.

August 3. Friday. At sea. Still having rain and swells. Payday today, paid off a few small debts and won $10 in a poker game.

August 4. Saturday. At sea. Sunny today. At 1400 we had a GQ, sighted an unidentified ship which turned out to be a liberty ship. Secured about 1430. Expect to arrive Saipan tomorrow afternoon.

August 5. Sunday. At sea - nice and sunny today. Had GQ at 1000 for AA fire. Knocked down five sleeves. Arrived Saipan at 1500, anchored out. Had a condition watch all night. Received mail.

August 6. Monday. Saipan - received fuel and ammunition in the afternoon. The projectiles came at night, but we didn't take them as we were underway when they came about 1900. Rendezvous with a convoy about 2230.

August 7. Tuesday. At sea - our convoy consists of four LCIs, two LSTs and four liberty ships. The escorts are three cans and one DE, our convoy speed is six knots to Okinawa. GQ at 1530 for firing.

August 8. Wednesday. At sea - convoy increased speed to nine knots. GQ at 1500 for more firing. Sunny and very hot again, little rain at night. Expect to arrive Okinawa the 12th.

The Rescue of Lt. Cole

The following is the recollection of George H. Styles regarding the rescue of Lt. Howard R. Cole.

"On the evening of August 18, 1944 while steaming off the coast of Southern France, a blip was picked up on the radar. So all eyes were on the lookout for the object. It was a nice quiet, calm night, and I heard someone call for help. I am not sure who gave the order to turn on the spotlight, but it was turned on, and it picked up Lt. Howard Cole, floating in a small raft, about 50 to 75 yards out. I then heard someone say, "Somebody go out and get that man". Before I heard another word, it was off with my shoes, up on the rail and over the side.

"I remember as I stood on the rail looking into the water, I could see all kinds and sizes of fish. With no time to think about that, I was in the water in a second. I swam out, got hold of Lt. Cole and pulled him back to the side of the Champlin. A stokes basket was lowered into the water, into which I put Lt. Cole. He was then hauled aboard the ship and I believe was taken to the Officer's Wardroom. I was sent down to the sickbay, where they gave me a shot of whiskey. The next day, Lt. Cole was transferred to a Hospital Ship. He had broken his leg in two places when he hit the tail section of his P-38 plane while bailing out after an engine failure.

"That was the last I saw or heard of Lt. Cole, until our reunions got started. I then got hooked on trying to locate people the hard way - by writing letters or by telephone. I knew Lt. Cole came from CT, so I went to the library, got the CT phonebook and looked him up. It was a happy day for the both of us when he received my letter. Gal and I were invited to Simsbury, CT to spend a weekend with Howard and Marion Cole. A delightful weekend it was.

" Howard and I still keep in touch with each other. I was happy that I was on deck the night we heard his call for help, and that I was on hand to be able to help him in the way that I did."

From the Flag Bag

Miss your Navy days? Long for the way things used to be? Well here are some suggestions to simulate your former shipboard life, and bring back the good, old days:

- Sleep on a shelf in your closet. Three hours after you go to sleep, have your wife whip open the door, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble "Damn, wrong rack."

- Put a flashlight on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read.

- If you were in the Engineering Division, leave your lawnmower and/or chainsaw running in your living room twenty-four hours a day for proper noise level.

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