Jump to content

Captain's Hat: USS PC-617, Omaha Beach


Recommended Posts

Gentlemen:

 

The grey officer's cap shown below belonged to my father-in-law. In June, 1944 he was the Captain of the USS PC-617, a 173 foot long steel patrol craft. He was 27 years old and a Lt. (jg). Just three years earlier he had been a member of the Class of '41 at Princeton University. This was the cap that he was wearing on D-Day.

 

RBP USN Cap ed.jpg

 

 

The PC's job was to escort the landing craft close to the Beach. They could do so because of their relatively shallow draft. They were only lightly armed with a main gun in the form of a 3 inch 50 caliber piece mounted on the foredeck, a single 40mm gun and several 20mm guns. There was no automated fire control.

 

My father in law related to me that the PCs had orders to refrain from shooting at the shore because of their fire control limitations and the fear that they might hit friendlies. They were very close to the beach and could see what was happening. His crew begged for permission to fire the main gun. My FIL finally gave in and they cranked off a few 3 inch rounds. He wasn't sure that they hit anything, but the crew was excited to be shooting at the enemy, not to mention being a part of the greatest invasion fleet in the history of the world.

 

A few days after D-Day the invasion fleet was anchored just off shore and came under a night attack by Luftwaffe aircraft. He thought they were JU-88s as they were using glide bombs of some sort. His ship shot down one of the aircraft which crashed close aboard the 617 lightly wounding several crew, including my FIL. He later received a Purple Heart decoration. Decades later he gave me several pieces of crushed aluminum debris which came from that aircraft.

 

My FIL talked very little about the War, but I knew that he was proud of his service. He was also very glad to have come home in one piece. He lived a happy and successful life as a civilian and died in 1990.

 

Regards,

Charlie

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing this, Charlie. I've been peeking at a few of the D-Day threads today and this has been my favorite artifact so far. Great story about your father in law and an example how some simple objects can hold powerful history.

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

The document below is a re-typed copy of the Commendation which my father in law received for the D-Day action in which his ship participated. I have seen the original, now buried somewhere in the family papers, but this copy was found this past week scotch-taped to the back of a framed photo of my FIL. My wife pulled it off and turned it over to me. I thought it would be of interest here in providing further details on the action of June 6.

 

The Commendation is from Rear Admiral John L. Hall. He was commanding officer of the 11th Amphibious Force (11th PHIB) based in the UK. He had previously commanded the 8th PHIB in the Mediterranean Theater which was responsible for all of the amphibious forces used for the invasions of Sicily and Italy.

 

USS PC-617 Commendation ed.jpg

 

Admiral Hall is seen below aboard the USS Ancon off the Normandy coast on D-Day.

 

RAdm Hall aboard USS Ancon June 1944 ed 2.jpg

 

Regards,

Charlie

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.