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LCDR Archie G. DeRyckere
  This Navy patriot died 2 July 2012 was laid to rest Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
 on 26 July 2012 with full military honors having lived a full and successful life. Click here.



© 2012 Laurel Outlook. All rights reserved. (Reprinted with permission and our appreciation to Publisher Milton Wester)
Original Story link Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Remembering a day of infamy.
DeRyckere recounts Pearl Harbor experience

Four Laurel residents who were present at Pearl Harbor [were] as follows: Hackert Phillips, USS Vestal a seaplane tender; Lester Burke and Oscar Gunter USS Honolulu, a Cruiser; and LCDR Archie G. DeRyckere, USN, (Ret), USS Hull, a 1,500 ton destroyer.

I would like to present some information appropriate to the Laurel residents present at Pearl Harbor.

The USS Vestal was moored on the North Side of Ford Island and she was surrounded by attacks on cruisers and battleships, but she was not a prime target for the Japanese. The USS Honolulu was moored across the channel from battleship row and received some minor attention from the Japanese as they were after the battleships which were then destroyed or damaged badly.

The USS Hull was moored with four other destroyers alongside a destroyer tender. I was on the bridge at 0700 am. sitting in he captain’s chair reading the newspaper, Honolulu Bulletin. Buddy Bond, a first class metal smith, was sitting across from me in the executive officer’s chair. 

We heard the first Japanese dive bomber diving and heard its bomb go off. Buddy said, “This is a helluva day, a Sunday, to be conducting war games” and we went around to the back of the bridge and observed a second dive bomber as it dropped its bomb. 

I observed the big red ball on its wing and I said, “This is no game and those are Japanese planes. This is war.” I went over to the general alarm and sounded “general quarters” and headed for my battle station in number 1 magazine along with a shipmate, Carnes, seaman first class. 

We broke into the magazine and I commenced hand-cranking the ammunition hoist as the tender had cut off all power. I advised Carnes to load a powder cartridge and a shell. The gun captain hollered down the hoist, “Don’t send up illumination rounds. Send up VT Frag shells. We don’t want To illuminate them. We want to kill the bastards!”

Carnes said, “How do I tell the difference? (With only small DC lanterns, it was very dark in the magazine). I said, “Feel the nose. The VT Frag shells have a fuse setting mechanism.” We cranked up 200 rounds of ammunition and the gun crews claimed three kills. 

My ship got underway with a borrowed skipper, and they finally let Carnes and me come up on deck at 0400 am. We re-entered Pearl Harbor at 0800 am., and I found it hard to believe. 

The Japanese wanted to sink us in their second attack, but we had five destroyers, each with five five-inch guns firing rapid fire and they couldn’t get close. We were very effective fighting off their second attack. 

I remained on the USS Hull until she sank in Typhoon Cobra, Dec. 18, 1944. We earned nine battle awards and participated in 18 major campaigns. 

I then served on aircraft carriers up to the Japanese surrender in 1945. My mentor Admiral Joseph (Jocko) Clark was instrumental in sinking the Japanese super 80,000-ton Yamato toward the end of the war. When Emperor Hirohito was advised by his aide, he said, “Where is my navy?” 

His aide said, “You no longer have a navy.” 

Pearl Harbor had been revenged. So now perhaps we should no longer “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

—LCDR Archie G. DeRyckere, USN (Ret)

Editor’s note: An autobiography of Archie DeRyckere in manuscript form is available for reading at the Laurel Public Library.

DeRyckere is also featured in the book “Halsey’s Typhoon, The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, An Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue” by Bob Drury and Tom Calvin. That book, which contains DeRyckere’s hand written dedication to certain veterans, is also in the Laurel Library.

DeRyckere sent the book to Outlook publishers Milton and Gloria Wester with the request that it be donated to the Laurel Library.


Survivors from the Spence and the Hull

From our earlier pages: He never failed to honor his shipmates!

For former chief petty officer (retired lieutenant commander) Archie DeRyckere, the leadership lessons of Typhoon Cobra -- “Halsey’s Typhoon” -- are personal and last a lifetime. Patriot LCDR DeRyckere sent the following email to Navy Reads:


The heroism by Captain Plage and his ship should be interesting to patriots.

I have been earnestly attempting to have Captain Plage awarded the Medal of honor for his performance as he definitely saved the life of myself and 54 others.

President Gerald R. Ford supported my efforts, to no avail. President (then-Lt.j.g.) Ford saved the USS Monterey(CVL 26) in typhoon cobra.The ship was being consumed by a fire on its hangar deck from stem to stern and Captain Ingersoll had been ordered by Admiral Halsey to "abandon ship".

The captain said "to seventy foot waves. I have a better idea; Jerry go down to the hangar deck and put the fires out."
President Ford collected the dead and injured and proceeded to fight fires for five-and-one-half hours, put all fires out and the ship continued to fight to victory in Tokyo Bay.

President Ford was one of our finest athletic Presidents, a legend on ski slopes and one of our most professionally proficient Presidents. He never, to my knowledge, received a medal for saving the USS Monterey.


LCDR Archie G. DeRyckere, USN (Ret.)

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