John Todd

 

Parade with General MacArthur

 

Fresh out of boot camp in January 1946 I was transferred out of Camp Elliott (outside of San Diego) for service on the USS Lexington.  As soon as I went aboard I hightailed down to the gunnery office and requested assignment to a gunnery deck

division. I did this because on completion of boot training I was scheduled for gunners mate school at Great Lakes, IL.  I turned it down and desired to strike for my rate aboard ship. I was therefore placed into the 2nd division and assigned to the twin 5"

mount #4, as my work and battle station.  Although the shooting war was over, most of the personnel that went through many of

the Pacific War action were still aboard. They had many stories to tell of the Kamikaze attacks and the damage that resulted,

just like you related.

 

As I was a 17 year old sailor, I was quite impressed with what they went through. As I was working on mount #4 (deck 5" mount

aft of the island) I noticed a large scar or dent in the armor plate between the barrels. Some of my shipmates related how a Kamikaze had hit it,  but luckily the bomb did not explode. Sailors rolled the plane off the starboard side along with the dud bomb.  

Apparently the mount did not suffer any great damage to where they had to replace it,  but there was the dent to remind them of

the close call.  I wonder if you or any other Lex sailors recall this Kamikaze incident.

I was on the Lex until June of 1946 at which time she was to be sent home from Pearl Harbor to Bremerton, Washington for decommission and to be mothballed.  Many of my shipmates and I were put aboard the USS Point Cruz as passengers to

Guam for assignment on the USS Boxer CV-21. On the way to Guam the Point Cruz developed engine trouble so we limped to

the Bikini Atoll and anchored until a PBY flew in parts, etc. In about a week we finally got underway to Guam and the Boxer.  As

this was about July 1st and on July 4th the Philippine Islands were to obtain their independence from the United States. Our destination was Manila to participate in the ceremonies.  As fate would have it,  I was selected to be one of about 40 sailors to march in the parade. The ships laundry pressed our whites,  we were given rifles (no ammo) and then climbed down cargo

nets into a landing craft for ferry to the Manila dock.  Once ashore we marched to the parade ground for a long wait at parade

rest,  standing in a couple of heavy rain showers while General MacArthur and the new first president of the Philippines made

long speeches.

 

We were a sorry rain drenched mess by the time the parade started. There were about 40 Marines, 40 Navy, 40 Army and also

a group of Philippine soldiers involved.   I understand there is a bronze plate near the current Manila Hotel that describes the event.                                                            
                      

I've always wanted to contact any other former USS Lexington sailors who might have been in the group with me on the transfer

from Pearl Harbor to the USS Boxer during that June thru July 1946 period and shared the above related experiences.

My name is: John D. Todd
                   PO Box 806
                   Spanaway, WA  98387      E-mail:  jdtee@aol.com
                   253-535-5040

 

 

 

   
     
Copyright 1998 by Patty Cannon all rights reserved