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Robert Kirst

My father served aboard in WWII and was aboard during her torpedoe attack in 1944. This is part of what he told me as a child about his service and had the chance to visit my Mother in Long Beach after putting in for repairs. She came out for a visit on a train ride from Dayton Ohio in 1944. I have a crew photo from that time including ships” officers and crew including my Father who was a Machinist Mate 1st Class. He actually went down to the engine room and took a another rate with him, who was not willing, shortly after after the torpedoe attack. The engine room was taking water. The story I have is that he went down to the engine room though he was not meant to be there at that time. He took charge of the men not on watch and took them below deck to man the engine room even though the ship was listing.

Just before this battle, my dad along with the rest of the “snipes” from below decks were “sunning’ themselves along the deck and a Zero came out of the sun to straff the deck. My Father told me he and others were laying out and had little clothes on and when the alarm sounded they had little time to react. He dove between two oil feed lines on deck to take cover and realized that his butt would not get down between the oil lines. He told me that this was the worst few minutes of the war, listenting to the Japanese bullets bounce around his naked ass on both sides!.