Kamikazes, Typhoons and the VJ-Day

In the Navy

Death of Friends


As an Air Captain aboard ship [Annotator's Note: USS Hornet (CV-12)], Stewart W. Robinson was responsible for maintaining one of the F6F Grumman Hell Cats aboard the ship. He was able to get a ride in the plane on a small mission to rescue a pilot on Tinian [Annotator's Note: Tinian, Northern Marianna Islands]. There was a time when he was in a hanger deck and saw a kamikaze heading straight for him, but a plane was able to shoot the Japanese plane down and hit near the ship. The USS Hornet (CV-12) was involved in all the major Pacific campaigns. Robinson recalled trying to assist with refueling a destroyer, but couldn't due to the weather. They were caught in several typhoons; once, the waves had to be over 30 feet high. They were given orders to return to the United States and on their way home, they heard about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. They arrived in San Francisco [Annotator's Note: San Francisco, California] on VJ-Day [Annotator's Note: Victory Over Japan Day, 15 August 1945].


Stewart W. Robinson was born in March 1925 in Liverpool, Pennsylvania. One of 16 children, he grew up on a farm. Times were difficult during the Great Depression and his father worked seven days a week, but there was always food, and everyone helped. It was a happy childhood and he attended school and graduated high school. Robinson was sitting beside his father when a newscast came on over the radio informing the public that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941]. Robinson did not believe the news report right away. Robinson was denied entry into the Navy because he was colored blind, so he continued to work in a war production factory when he received his draft notice. He requested to be in the Navy, and he was accepted and sent to basic training at Sampson, New York. On his train ride to basic training he befriended two other guys that ended up in the same training camp with him. He and his friends were together assigned to the USS Hornet (CV-12) after they completed training. He was sent to an OGU [Annotator's Note: Outgoing Unit] unit while waiting for the Hornet to be commissioned. The first major mission was in Guadalcanal [Annotator's Note: Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands] to give support and supplies to the American forces on the island. As an Air Captain aboard ship, Robinson was responsible for maintaining one of the planes aboard the ship. He would secure the pilot before takeoff and be waiting for him when he returned.


Stewart W. Robinson recalls the time the flight deck of the USS Hornet (CV-12) was strafed by Japanese fighters and his friend, Eddy Sherman, died during the attack. He was buried at sea. His other friend Robert Reed met a woman during the VJ-Day [Annotator's Note: Victory Over Japan Day, 15 August 1945] celebration in San Francisco [Annotator's Note: San Francisco, California] and several weeks later signs of syphilis appeared. He died from the disease a year later. Robinson was discharged at Treasure Island [Annotator's Note: Treasure Island, California]. Robinson had very vivid memories of World War 2. He used the G.I. Bill to buy a house. [Annotator's Note: Video goes black at 0:41:40.000.]

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