actual time of Monaghan's loss has never been
determined, nor is the exact location of her sinking
known. She was last heard from at 1007 on the 18th.
Watertender Second Class Joseph C. McCrane spoke of
sounding the fuel tanks at sometime between 1000 and
1030, in preparation for ballasting The ship was
rolling too heavily to continue that operation so he
sought shelter in the after five-inch gun-mount, which
he found crowded. I suspect my dad, a Chief Gunner's
mate, was among them.
"We must have taken at
least seven or eight heavy rolls to starboard when the
ship finally rolled over on her side," McCrane said
The weight of the gun mount door and the wind blowing
against it made it difficult to open "But eventually,
we did get it open and managed to crawl out.
Thankfully, none of the men had panicked, nor was
there any confusion among them. They did the best they
could to help their shipmates." They were all thrown
into the sea and eventually McCrane found himself on a
life raft with nine others.
One, Gunner's Mate Joe
Guio, who had stood outside the gun mount hatch
pulling sailors out, died from exhaustion. During the
next three days, two more died from exposure. Another
thought he saw land and houses and swam off into the
night. On the third day, the raft was spotted by
search planes and, within an hour, USS Brown (DD-546)
came to their rescue.
There were six of them
- all that was left of Monaghan and her crew. Evan
Fenn, is likely the last living survivor of the U.S.S.
PDN Webmaster Note:
Since the above reports were added to the website,
I've kept in touch with my new found friend. After
all, Evan is about the same age as my dad would have
been. He joined the crew of my dad's ship at Pearl
Harbor in the summer of 1943.
Evan lives an active
retirement life. His hobbies include refurbishing farm
tractors and selling them along the roadway near his
modest ranch in Arizona. Evan kept in touch with
Joseph C. McCrane for a number of years. They spoke as
recently as two or three years ago. The same can
be said for Doyle Carpenter I hope to
chronicle more of Evan's story as we approach yet
another anniversary of Typhoon Cobra. Thanks to top
rankings in various search engines, friends and family
members of the Monaghan's crew pop up from time to
time and share even more information with us.
Recently I heard from
family members of John (Jack) Bowen who served aboard
the Monaghan during Pearl Harbor. His story and
the accompanying photos and news clippings will be
added here soon. I'll be sending Evan copies of the
photos to see if these shipmates recognize one
another. History is being reborn as these
stories emerge and are preserved for future
generations. I shared these events recently with
the children of Howe Elementary School. (See:
Vets in School project)
UPDATE November 18,
2004: Evan's story and those of The Tin Can
Sailors is being documented for the very popular and
highly regarded Oliver Noth's War Stories cable news program. In making
connections with the producers, PDN has received
updates and photos from our family members. One
of those e-mails tells of the heroism of Gunner's Mate
I have spoken with Evan on several
occasions in the past year after my brother, David
(Major USAF), discovered the information provided on
the "Patriot Defenders Network" by Dave Jenest, late
last year. Dave got me in touch with Evan. He
remembered my great uncle very well and remarked
that: "it was Joe who had actually grabbed me
and safely got me to the raft ... your Uncle Joe was
the one who saved my life that day".
We have attempted to retrieve any medals that he may
have earned during his service, with out much luck.
It is my goal to continue to pursue this as much as
possible. Possibly with statements confirmed by Mr.
Fenn this may be possible.
I have news clipping from several parts of the
country reporting the USS Monaghan's story, along
with photos and many personal letters that Uncle Joe
sent home during the war.
I cannot begin to express the joy
this has brought to me, your humble webmaster. Every
year, on the anniversary of 18 December 1944, I take a
private moment to honor my father's service and the
sacrifice of so many men those tragic days. Many
of their children share this special anniversary,
having been conceived on these ship's last liberty in
the summer of 1944. That little item of trivia
lives within us, having reached age sixty in the same
year of the 60th anniversary of Typhoon Cobra that
took their lives. At long last, some of our family
members will have an opportunity to see their loved
one honored in a special and more appropriate way.
The Tin Can Sailors of the USS Hull, Spence and
Monaghan deserve nothing less. Our tribute to
all of them and their families. God bless you
and God Bless America.