Sacramento, California: One son waits
for his dad (a Marine gunny sergeant) to return from Iraq.
The other, three generations removed, pays tribute to the
shipmates who survived the Pacific typhoon that took his dad's
life. They each share a love of military history because
they have been a part of it in some way.
Michael is twelve and Dave will soon be
sixty years old. Together they will watch a History
Channel documentary of Typhoon Cobra. Michael will
listen in on the conference calls between rescuers and
survivor. Sixty years to the date, the last of the
rescued sailors were picked up after the the storm that took
their ships: the USS HULL, USS MONAGHAN and USS SPENCE.
Evan Fenn, the last living survivor
of the USS Monaghan clung to a life raft with thirteen other
crew members. Of them six survived and were saved by
the USS Brown. Chuck Smith aboard the rescue ship has
chronicled the experience of weathering Typhoon Cobra that
made it possible to save the lives of (On 21 December 1944)
13 survivors of the Hull (DD-350) and six survivors of the
Monaghan (DD-354). Other calls were made today. Patrick Douhan
survived shark infested waters until being rescued by the USS
Brown and is featured in the History Channel documentary.
Described by the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Admiral Nimitz: "It was the greatest loss that we have taken
in the Pacific…” Admiral William Halsey's WWII Third
Fleet, operating in support of General MacArthur's invasion of
the Philippines, encountered a typhoon more powerful than any
western Pacific encounter with the Japanese. The result was
the loss of the
three destroyers with 790 men lost, 26 other vessels seriously damaged,
and 146 aircraft destroyed. Also dubbed Halsey’s Storm by
naval historians, Halsey himself described it best. "No one
who has not been through a typhoon can conceive its fury," he
wrote in his autobiography. "The 70 foot seas smash you. The
rain blinds you."
Letters home, taped interviews and photo
make up this tribute to the Tin Can Sailors of World War II at
Contact: Patriot Watch – (916) 730-9401 – 1818 H Street #1 –
Sacramento, CA 95814