In the Navy

War's End


Stanley Richard Williams was born in May 1926 in Wheeling, West Virginia. He grew up on Wheeling Island with his parents and two siblings and attended school. During the Great Depression, his father worked in a steel mill, but he had a talent for music. Williams was in high school when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941]. He recalled that his school had an assembly and they listened to the President of the United States [Annotator's Note: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States] speak on the radio. Williams enlisted in the Navy in 1944 when he was 17 with his mother's permission. He completed his basic training in San Diego, California. He was sent to Pearl Harbor to attend and passed Admiral Nimitz's Private Signal School. He was assigned to the mortar ship USS LCI(M)-352 on which he served as the signalman and was responsible for communicating with the ground forces and other ships. USS LCI (M)-352 provided close support for the Marines as they made landings on Iwo Jima [Annotator's Note: Iwo Jima, Japan] and Okinawa [Annotator's Note: Okinawa, Japan]. He recalled the massive amounts of aerial bombardment on Iwo Jima and is surprised that the island still exists. There were times where his ship had to come on shore during the invasion of the islands. Williams witnessed the USS Longshaw (DD-559) ran up on a reef and got stuck. His ship happened to be around on a mission, so they were ordered to go and help pick up as many men as they could. During the rescue, USS LCI(M)-352 was hit but survived with only a few fatalities. Williams recalled five kamikazes attempted to hit his ship, but all failed.


[Annotator's Note: Stanley Richard Williams served in the Navy aboard the mortar ship USS LCI(M)-352 as a signalman and was responsible for communicating with the ground forces and other ships during the invasions of Iwo Jima, Japan and Okinawa, Japan.] Stanley Richard Williams recalled a tragic incident where he witnessed a kamikaze hit a hospital ship and he remembered feeling helpless. He also remembered that he went through two typhoons while serving in the Pacific. One time his captain was able to find a cove that kept them from capsizing. Williams was on morning watch when the ship hit a typhoon he recalls feeling like he was riding on a cork in water. Williams recalled being at Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii] preparing for the Japanese invasion when he heard the news of the first atomic bomb [Annotator's Note: nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 6 and 9 August 1945] dropping on Japan. He believes that, although the atomic bombs had an influence on ending the war, it was not the main reason Japanese surrendered. He believes that war with Russia was the reason the Japanese surrendered to the Allied Forces. Williams was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and moved to California. He used the G.I. Bill to get a college education. [Annotator's Note: The interview video ends at 26:58:000.]

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