Segment 7


Before going out on duty at Picket Station Number 1 the men of the Laffey saw all sorts of damage to ships while docked at Kerama Retto. This was in addition to what they had seen on the Hughes and the Franklin [Annotator's Note: US Navy aircraft carrier USS Franklin, CV-13]. When the Franklin was hit, Delewski was no more than a mile away in the anchorage watching a movie.It was all part of the job. Damage was routine and in the Pacific it occured regularly.When the Laffey was making its way to Okinawa they got word that President Roosevelt [Annotator's Note: President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on 12 April 1945] had died. They completed refuelling and took on ammunition and headed to their station off Okinawa. On station they went on full alert an hour before sunrise and man their battle stations, but nothing ever happened. This was a daily occurence.1 morning [Annotator's Note: the morning of 15 April 1945] when Delewski was going to breakfast it started. Most of the firing that Delewski did was under the direction of the fire control officer. The ship would try to come in broadside so they could utilize all 6 guns. The 1st hit occured just forward of gun mount number 3. They got the fires under control and reported they they were ready to resume firing. At that time Delewski was instructed to go into local control and pick his own targets.The 1st kamikaze hit just forward of gun mount number 3 on the port side. The plane went under the torpedo tubes on the upper deck. The wing of the plane hit the back of gun mount number 3. The fire from the hit spread 2 decks. Immediately they went into fire control mode. It did not take long to get the fire under control.During this event there was a hang fire in the right-hand gun in Delewski's gun mount. He took the rawhide maul that was kept on the bulkhead and hit the block with it. This pushed the block into position and the round fired.


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