Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, January 25, 2015


My father-in-law, Harold Keane, dropped out of high school to join the Navy in World War II.  Neither he nor his cousin Eddie would have been able to pass their physicals so they switch identities for certain parts of the physical; both passed and were inducted into the Navy.

Harold spent much of the war in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Leutze.  On April 6, 1945, a Japanese suicide plane smashed into one of the ship's 5" gun mounts and its bomb tore loose and exploded on the ship's port side near the waterline.  Quick thinking and response from both the captain and the crew saved the ship.  I've seen pictures of the damage and it's difficult to imagine how the ship survived.  By jettisoning their torpedoes and depth charges the members of the crew was able to shift the ship's port side above the waterline; other members were able to extinguish the fires on board.

The ship's electrical systems had been knocked out during the attack, and Harold was assigned to repair it.  That involved standing in waist deep water, connecting cables, and hoping not to get electrocuted.  Harold did not get electrocuted but he did get the Bronze Star.

Eight men were killed and thirty-four others were injured.

Somehow, miraculously, the Leutze managed to limp back to port.  The credit goes to the ship's captain and its entire crew.

There's a reason they are called "The Greatest Generation."

Here's a brief history of the ship from the Destroyer History Foundation:

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