As Engineer Officer, I was in the forward
motor room once the attack started. My talker relayed what the Bridge talker was saying, and,
of course, we could tell by the maneuvering of the ship. I was very familiar with attack
procedures as I had been through many such attacks on deck as OOD making the attack, and on the
attack teacher, so I could asses the actions from sounds and ship maneuvering. We dropped a
full set of charges (13) the first time, maneuverd to a start position for the next round,
moved in, dropped another 13 charges, retired to make another run. As we started the run,
some debris was noted, but the run continued. As we arrive near the attack position, the
submarine exploded under us, or very close by. I was thrown to the deck, as were several
others in the engine room. Not hurt, after getting up, I had to asses all engine room damage.
Fortunately, only minor leaks were noted.
After the explosion, another 13 depth charges were dropped, almost immediately after the explosion. Then the ship hove to. We left GQ and they lowered th whaleboat to pick up debris. One of the items was part of a body, later examined by corpmen, who said it was a lung. The latgest single piece of wreckage was a wooden deck piece, which we salvaged and installed a nameplate and hung in the bridge.
Those receiving the medals certainly deserved them. I tried to get one of my motormacs, Wentxel, some kind of recognition, but it failed. He was on duty in the forward engine room when we left Saipan to hunt down the submarine, along with a destroyer ( a 4 piper, they were called). They could do 27 knots, we, but 18, with ALL engines. Wentzel noted a problem with one of the engines, and with great foresight and effort, stabilized the problem so that our speed, which had been cut back to 15 knots during the failure, could be resumed quickly. Without his quick thinking and effort, we wouldn’t have been where the submarine was found in time to attack.