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Attacked At Okinawa

USS West Virginia
1 April 1945

This was black day in the Wee Vee's case history. It was a lovely day all day over the Island of Okinawa (350 miles from Japan) and things were pretty quiet considering that we were giving the Japs plenty of hell all day long. This was "L" day and the troops had made landings on the Island which is by the way the largest one of the Ryukyu chain of Islands, and they had met little or no opposition up to the time of this writing. It was Easter Sunday and in the States I imagine that the people were worrying more about what they were going to wear in the Easter parade rather than what was happening in the war zone. But for us out here so close to Japan we don't even realize what Easter, Christmas or anything else is.

About 0800 on the night 1 April there was 100 planes set out from the Japanese homeland and started down here to see what they could do to even up the score for the hell that we had been raising in their own front yard. Combat air patrol got 77 of these before they got near the main battle force but there were about 30 of those left that got thru to us (the main Battle Fleet) and seeing the WeeVee setting here looking the NEWEST AND BIGGEST in this force of old Wagons I guess he thought this is my baby so consequently it ended up by us being his baby! The starboard battery had opened up and had hit him but instead of coming down he gained altitude right over the ship and at about 2000 feet he leveled with flames coming out of his engine and dived in a straight line for the ship. He hit us on the port side right amid ships. He lit among the flag and signal halyards of the signal bridge and a group of 20's, and a 5" director and really raised hell topside, but he went right thru the 02 deck down to the mess deck, fouled up the galley and put it out of commission, the engine tore down another deck put the laundry and tailor shop out of business. He was also carrying a 250 lb bomb with him and that went thru the press shop down to the 2nd (about 20 feet from the radio) men's compartment but did not go off, and a good thing too as the radiomen were all in their sack as a result of having stood watch and watch off for better than 2 weeks. Total damage done was 5 men killed, 6 injured and about 2 dozen seriously burned, galley, press shop, laundry, 5" director, port side of signal bridge, 2 20 mm mounts all out of commission. This is the WEE VEE'S FIRST HIT SINCE DEC 7 1941, and it batted a 100 percent hit average. The WEST VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, AND COLORADO, have all been hit by suicide planes now, the Wee Vee only has had one so far and the others two but give us time we know where we stand and we also realize that there is a war going on out here even if they do seem to have a bit of trouble in the states realizing that little fact. HAPPY EASTER if it is at all possible to be happy - maybe in the states but I have yet to see a happy face out here.

Written by Robert Sutherland
2 April 1945
at "OKINAWA" (Japan)