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Adm Turner message to ship using cargo boom to stop kamikaze


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I found an original NAVAL DISPATCH (kind of a telegram) from Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner to a US ship that used its cargo boom to block stop a Japanese fighter at Saipan. This cartoon is from a Navy historical site online, but the dispatch message is an original from a veteran's estate. It was 1944 and the ship was USS Mercury (AK-42 & later AKS-20). She was part of Task Force 52 under Turner.

 

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From wikipedia: 

 

1944

 

Arriving at San Francisco 17 March, Mercury underwent overhaul and then resumed cargo runs between Pearl Harbor and the U.S. West Coast and among the Hawaiian Islands. On 7 June she got underway once more for the war zone, anchoring south of Garapan, Saipan, on the 26th. Less than 5 hours later, at 2131, a Japanese bomber came through the smokescreen at an altitude of about 92 feet and headed for the ship's superstructure. The plane's torpedo hit the amidships living compartments on the port boat deck and continued on, breaking in two without detonating. The torpedo's main body was found in the 1st lieutenant's room and its fuse was located in the engine room, while the explosive components (TNT) of its warhead were spread over the port boat and bridge decks. The plane itself fell victim to the after starboard boom which stood passively in the enemy's path, knocking the plane out of control upon collision and causing it to crash 500 yards off the starboard quarter.

 

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      That has to be one of the most unusual enemy plane (I don’t know what to call it) knock down , can’t say it was shot down , l guess knock down is it , of the war. I herd a war story of an L4 (piper cub) out turning an ME109 and the 109 accelerated stall and crashed giving the L4 an enemy kill but never saw any convincing evidence of it. 
      Any way that is a very cool piece of history. Was the vet involved with the ship or task force ? Thanks for posting.  Got a big ole wow ! out of me  Thanks again Mike

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2 hours ago, skypilot6670 said:

Was the vet involved with the ship or task force

 

I've have had the two messages for a long time but had never taken time to study them, so it was a surprise today when I read it and did some online search. I am fairly certain it came from the estate of a former crewman.  The radio operator  named on the incoming document seems to have had family in this area, so it may have come from his estate - again, I've had it so long I can't remember the specific sale. 

 


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It sounds like Admiral Kelly Turner was a briiliant hard-ass. Nimitz said of him, ""brilliant, caustic, arrogant, and tactless." Another officer wrote, "A loud, strident, arrogant person who enjoyed settling all matters by simply raising his voice and roaring like a bull captain in the old navy."

 

He had a tendency to get involved with fine details: he worked alone planning the smallest details of amphibious operations - so I suspect this radio message was written by him and not an aide. His being caustic and arrogant makes the tongue in cheek humor of this message even more interesting. I have no doubt it was a side of him that didn;t surface often.


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that is a fantastic story and also a neat historical artifact, Bob. Would make an excellent framed display.

Terry

to all who have served!

 

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That's a great pair of messages. Having just come off a deployment on a flag staff, I can totally see this correspondence happening - just over e-mail now instead of message traffic. 

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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