Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Survived Seven Torpedoes and Came Back: The USS West Virgina-- Part 1

From the February 12, 2016, Daily News "This ship survived 7 torpedoes at Pearl Harbor and went on to help crush the Japanese" by Daniel McDonald.

The USS West Virginia was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese midget submarine and immediately began sinking, listing to the port.  That list got worse as successive torpedoes crashed into her.  The damage was major on its port side, facing out into the harbor.

At least seven torpedoes hit the ship and 2 bombs as well, but fortunately the bombs didn't explode.  The ship was counter-flooded on its starboard side so it wouldn't end up capsizing like the USS Oklahoma.

An oil fire raged through the ship for 30 hours, buckling the metal in many places.

The captain and many of the crew died that day.  Captain Mervyn S. Bennion received a posthumous Medal of Honor for saving his ship as he lay dying from shrapnel that pierced his abdomen.

Navy cook Dorie Miller helped him and then noticed an unmanned .50 caliber machine gun, manned it ans=d shot down 3 or 4 planes.  He became the first black sailor to be awarded the Navy Cross.

--GreGen

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