Harold Harper PINSON 1
- Born: 25 Aug 1918, , Hopkins, Kentucky, United States 2 3
- Marriage: Lois Ann SUTTON in (Records Withdrawn)
- Died: 25 Oct 1967, Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, United States at age 49 2 3
- Buried: Nov 1967, Henderson, Henderson, Kentucky, United States 2
Dad enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the mid 1930's, and was serving aboard the destroyer USS Ralph Talbot on the morning of December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked. He later served on the USS Patterson during the Guadalcanal Campaign in 1942, the USS Henley, and he finished the war on the USS Drexler, which was sunk by kamikaze attacks during the Okinawa Campaign.
For 15 days prior to her sinking, USS Drexler performed radar picket duty off Okinawa. Wave after wave of kamikazes attacked the ship only to be shot down. Then, as day broke on May 28, 1945, another desperate battle commenced. Of the six kamikazes that attacked the ship, two dove into the ocean and two were shot down. The last two hit true - amidships, causing the sinking of a ship that had been so deadly for their forces.
Losses were heavy - 158 men, officers and crew were lost. Another 199 were rescued after spending several hours in the burning ocean, most clinging to empty powder barrels. [Michael Anthony Pinson]
Drexler DD-741 was launched 3 September, 1944 by Bath iron Works, Corp., Bath Maine
The War in the Pacific: From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay by Harry A Gailey, published by Presidio Publishing, pages 440-443
Offshore, the navy was heavily engaged during the entire month of May with individual and organized kamikaze attacks. There were four more kikusui attacks, each involving more than a hundred planes of 11 types. The most dangerous were by two-engine bombers crammed with bombs or torpedoes. Despite continuous air cover by navy and army fighters and excellent vectoring by the radar picket ships, some Japanese aircraft always managed to break through. Antiaircraft fire took an extensive toll of the suicide planes but the few that survived did terrible damage.
The sixth kikusui, a 150-plane strike on 11 May, lost two-thirds of its number before reaching the ships. Nevertheless, the destroyers Evans and Hadley were so badly damaged that they had to be towed to Kerama. Nor did TF58 escape. Mitchner's flagship, the Bunker Hill, took two hits and sustained damage second only to that suffered by the Franklin. The suicide planes caused 353 deaths on the carrier. Three days later, the Enterprise was damaged so badly that it, too, had to be sent to a major West Coast shipyard. These serious losses were in contrast to the British aircraft carriers Formidable, Indomitable, and Victorious, all of which were struck by kamikazes but whose armored decks kept damage to a minimum. Individual attackers damaged the destroyer Bache on the thirteenth and the Fox on the fifteenth.
The seventh kikusui, launched over a three-day period from 23 to 25 May, was the last in which the Japanese committed more than a hundred planes. The continued pounding of Kyush and Shikoku by TF58, coupled with he heavy attrition of the kamikazes, dramatically lowered the number of planes available. In this attack the destroyers Stormes, Anthony, and Braine were so seriously damaged that they had to be towed to Kerama.
The last major organized attack of the month occurred on the twenty-eighth. It coincided with a changeover in the U.S. fleets as Halsey again replaced Spruance and McCain took over from Mitscher. This attach cost the third Fleet the destroyer Drexler, which was blown apart, and the destroyers Anthony, Brainer, and Shubrick, all heavily damaged.
Suicide planes also attacked fixed installations on Kerama and at the airfields at Kadena, Yontan, and on Ie Shima. One of the most bizarre episodes in the entire kamikaze campaign occured on the evening of 24 May at Yontan Field. Five two-engine bombers were spotted approaching the field from the direction of Ie Shima. Four of these were shot down but the fifth, although damaged, did a wheels-up landing on the airstrip. Ten heavily armed Japanese leaped from the plan and began throwing grenades and incendiaries at the parked aircraft. Before they were killed, these suicide troops had destroyed seven planes and damaged twenty-six others. In addition, they ignited a fuel dump and seventy thousand gallons of gasoline went up in flames.[USS Drexler]
Noted events in his life were:
• Military Service: in the U. S. Navy, Abt 1935-1945, , , , United States. 5
• Cemetery: Fairmont Cemetery (Lot 180-A, 2), Nov 1967, Henderson, Henderson, Kentucky, United States. 6
HAROLD H PINSON
WT1 US NAVY
WORLD WAR II PH
AUG 25 1918 OCT 25 1967
Harold married Lois Ann SUTTON in (Records Withdrawn). (Lois Ann SUTTON was born in (Records Withdrawn).)