Wednesday, November 11, 2015

USS Biloxi Memories

On this Veterans Day 2015, I'd like to share a few photos from my dad's estate. Barely old enough to be eligible, Dad served on the USS Biloxi in 1945. He's the one on the left of the picture. 


Unfortunately, no one remembered to write down the names of his fellow sailors in the picture. My guess is that they had it taken to send home to their families.

The Internet is full of information about the Biloxi.  A website on the history of war recalls:

USS Biloxi (CL-80) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that served in the Pacific from the start of 1944 to the end of the war, supporting the fast carrier task force and taking part in the invasions of Saipan, the Philippines, the Palaus and Okinawa and the battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. The Biloxi received nine battle stars for her service in the Pacific during World War II.

Dad joined the military at the end of the war. A US Navy history website recalls part of his experience:

Putting to sea on 16 September, Biloxi proceeded to Nagasaki, Japan, to evacuate POWs. Arriving there on the 18th, her crew saw the damage caused by the atomic bomb and took on 11 U.S., 17 British, one Australian, one Canadian, and 187 Dutch "recovered Allied military personnel." These men were delivered to Okinawa on 21 September. 

The official version of the story never tells the details, though, and Dad never could talk about it much either. Of "the damage caused by the atomic bomb," and of the faces of the former POWs and the people of Japan he saw at Nagasaki, Dad could only shake his head and say: 

"Their eyes. Their eyes."

Their eyes still showed the horror of what they had seen.

Here's another photo from Dad's stuff, showing him and some of his fellow sailors during the time of their service on the Biloxi:


Several of Dad's friends signed their names on the back:


It's hard to make out some of their names, but they look like:

Jack Resnick
Al W. Stammer
"Will" (difficult to read -- Stubberud?)
"Baldy" Phil Ramborger (?) Cardington, Ohio
Earl B. Soshee
Roy James Pruitt
Stanley Schwartz
Larry Sherwood
John B. Rood Portland, Oreg
Ed Stremel "Colorado Kid"
Wayne E. Sparks -- Salem, Oregon
H.H. Rayner (La.)
R.K. Scott (Louisiana)
Lyman R. Stebbins
Jacob C. Schatzle (LA)
Bob J. Reynolds (Tacoma Wash.)

Two more photos show Dad and some of his Navy buddies relaxing. The names Bennie Bell and Charles C. Cooper are written on the front of this 1945 photo.


Another photo which is identified as being from 1945 or 1946, shows Dad and four other sailors.


Dad's on the far left of the above photo. The names would be in reverse order.
The names look like Renijohn, Nelson, O'Neil, Me.

If you recognize any of these sailors from the Biloxi, please let me know, and I'll correct the spelling of their names.

__________________________________________________________________________

Here's the Navy history site:

http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/biloxi-cl-80.html

News clippings about the Biloxi are available here:

http://biloxi.ms.us/pdf/ussbiloxihistory.pdf


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