flag bar blue
kyng memorial logo 150-1

Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

Mail-social-32 FaceBook_32x32 flickr_32 Youtube-32
slideshare icon
twitter blogger

149th Dive Bombed Off Leyte

Four KYNG Members Killed

Keeping his 1942 vow to return to the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur and the allies landed on eastern beaches of Leyte on October 20, 1944.

The men of the Kentucky National Guard’s Tank Company awaited the return in captivity. The Harrodsburg Tankers, then known as the 38th Tank Company, were called to federal active duty in 1940. The unit was re-designated as Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion. On Thanksgiving Day, 20 November 1941, they landed in the Philippines. On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and only hours later they began an attack on the Philippines. In March 1942, MacArthur and his staff left nearby Corregidor Island in PT boats for Australia where he vowed to return to the Philippines.

The Harrodsburg Tankers, along with the allied forces, continued the fight without reinforcements or resupply until ordered to surrender in April 1942. Those who could not escape to Corregidor were in the infamous "Bataan Death March". They were all eventually taken prisoner of war. Only 37 of the original 66 Kentucky Guard Members from Harrodsburg survived Japanese captivity.

The 38th Infantry Division now had the opportunity to aveng38th ships gathering for convoy Hollandiae those losses and free their fellow soldiers. The Division left New Guinea as part of a convoy of some 41 ships on November 29, 1944 destined for Leyte to assist in mopping up operations and stage for a leading role in the next phase of the campaign on Bataan.

   -------------


AT RIGHT: 38th Division ships gathering for convoy at Hollandia, New Guinea before moving to Leyte. 1

   -------------

The US Merchant Marine Liberty Ship S.S. Marcus Daly was part of that convoy carrying 1,121 2 U.S. Army troops, equipment and supplies. The ship was transporting the 3rd Battalion of the 149th Infantry Regiment, 38th Infantry Division. 3 One day out of Leyte, a Japanese dive bomber crashed into the front hold of the ship. The plane and its bomb load exploded and a fire raged for hours in the forward hold. Many men of the 3-149 and the crew were missing, wounded or killed.

Only two contemporary accounts of the incident have been found.

Ensign J. S. Feathers was a U. S. Navy Reserve officer assigned to the Marcus Daly in charge of the gun crews. He reported the incident this way in a memo to his chain of command recommending awards and decorations his U.S. Navy crew members who distinguished themselves or were wounded.

 

marcus daly in dock

 

   -------------

AT RIGHT: S.S. Marcus Daly at dock. Location unknown.

   -------------

   On December 5, 1944 the S. S. Marcus Daly in convoy for Leyte, Philippines was under sporadic dive bomber and torpedo bomber attack. The ship was subject to a very near miss and a near miss on the port bow by bombs and a near miss of a torpedo on the bow and stern during the course of the attacks.

   One “Val” dive bomber was shot down by the forward 3”/50 and the 20 MM guns. A “Kate” Torpedo bomber was shot down by the forward 3”/50 by a direct hit.

 

 

 

liberty under kamikaze attack 5 dec

 

   -------------

AT RIGHT: An unidentified liberty ship under kamikaze attack on December 5th as part of the convoy carrying the 38th Division to Leyte. 4

   -------------

   At 1700 (hours) a dive bomber approached from directly astern at a great height. It dove directly at the ship. The aft 3”/50 fired four sets of fixed barrages and shot off the entire tail of the plane. All 20 MM were also firing into the plane. The Jap aircraft passed 4 feet over No. 4 and No. 6 – 20 MM barrels and between tub No. 2 and the mast. These gunners fired continually, never leaving their guns.

   The plane then crashed through the deck to the left of and under the No. 1 tub. It dropped as far as the ‘tween deck of hold No. 1 and then its entire bomb load exploded. The bow was laid open on both sides of the ship as far as the ‘tween deck. A terrific hole through both sides of the ship appeared which may be described as “large enough to drive a train through”. The upper deck was ripped like paper, and the whole upper bow was badly twisted, warped, ballooned, and distorted. The entire fore peak was destroyed.

   Flames from the explosion shot upwards at least one hundred feet above the fore mast and particles and objects were blown for hundreds of feet into the air. A severe fire broke out forward which was not completely under control until about 2400.

   marcus daly damageNo. 1 gun tub was badly bent and warped in every way. Both ladders were blown off and the whole tub was about to collapse. The ready boxes were bent out of shape and were covered with flames.

   -------------

AT RIGHT: Photo of S.S. Marcus Daly bow damage. Location unknown.

   -------------

   The forward 3”/50 was damaged beyond repair. The entire gun seems to be buckled and warped. The cheeks are spread and the gun will neither elevate nor train, nor will the sword arm function. The forward magazine was flooded by a hose as the sprinkler valve was demolished. Fortunately no ammunition exploded except some U.S. Army small arms cartridges in the hold.

   Of 1,121 U.S. Army troops aboard some 200 or more were killed, wounded, or missing. Many were horribly burned and wounded. Words cannot describe the ghastly scene of the injured, the black charred burns, the great suffering, the dead, and parts of bodies strewn about.

   …

   A number of army men either were blown over the side or went over the side. Some of these were later picked up by escort vessels. Some who jumped off were killed in the screw.

   The command was then given to stand by to abandon ship as she seemed to be heading down. But the ship righted itself and we were able to continue, later joining the convoy.

   We were soon attacked by a torpedo bomber, but by a clever right turn by Captain A. W. Opheim we avoided the torpedo which passed the stern by as close as thirty feet. We fired on the bomber and it went away smoking badly as it went over the horizon. We did not count this plane shot down. 5
   -------------

   The only other contemporary account of the incident that has been found was from a member of the S.S. Marcus Daly crew - Dilmar S. Gould from his journal published in “The Pointer” June / September 2011 issue pages 15-17 of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard WW II Veterans organization publication titled The Gallant Ship, the S.S. MARCUS DALY, by Dilmar S. Gould, U.S. Merchant Marine WW II.

   -------------

   Nov. 18, 1944-We pulled into the docks at Oro Bay today after setting overnight at anchor. We are going to load part of the 38th Division and equipment. It will be our biggest troop loads so far. They will be aboard the 21st; between 1,000 and 1,200 men and we will be headed right back to the Philippines again. WOE IS US!!38th div aboard liberty manning 50 cals

   Nov. 21, 1944-Loaded troops today and we are headed for a place called Lae, New Guinea to take on water. It’s the 22nd and we are taking on water. Nice little place – nothing here. Leaving tomorrow for Humboldt Bay to meet a convoy.

   -------------

AT RIGHT: 38th Division soldiers standing by 50 caliber machine guns aboard a liberty or transport ship in the convoy to Leyte. 6

   -------------

   Nov. 29, 1944-Leaving Humboldt in a 38 ship convoy with the 1,200 of the 38th Division. The other 18,000 are on Liberties and Transports.

   Dec. 5, 1944-We were attacked this morning (we are just 24 hours from our destination) at 9:15 A.M. by a dive bomber. He dropped one bomb on the port side of No. 2 hold. We have been on the alert since then but so far, it is quiet. (Now 2:00 P.M.)

   Dec. 8, 1944-This is the first chance I have had to write anything since the 5th. On the afternoon of the 5th, the Liberty ship in coffin corner next to us, was attacked by a torpedo plane and was damaged to the extent that it wasn't able to maneuver because her rudder and screw had been blown off.

   Another plane came in then and put a torpedo in her no. 2 hold. She did not sink even after that. Two destroyers and a tug stayed back to protect her. The following morning, the Jap planes came back and sunk her. We haven't heard how many of her crew was lost. Not many I hope. LibertyDiagram3

   Getting back to us---That same afternoon at 3:30 P.M., just 30 minutes after that ship got it, WE GOT IT. A dive bomber came at us from the stern. Before it got quite to us, our 3 inch gunners had shot its entire tail assembly off, but, that didn't stop him as he came on with intentions of dropping his bomb and crash diving us. He succeeded in his intentions because his bomb fell into No. 1 hold and the plane followed. (I wish I didn't have to write this part) To start with, our whole bow is blown out and our forward 3 inch gun is in shambles. The ship's loss of men were: 1 Navy Armed Guard – Dead; 2 Merchant Marine – Dead and 1 MM wounded.

   Of the three that died, only one got a quick and merciful death. He was Merchant Seaman. The Navy Boy and the other Merchant Marine died during the night from their horrible burns. I am not positive as to the exact number of soldiers killed, wounded and blown from the deck of the ship into the water, but I’ve heard it was 174. There were 10 casualties of our own, 3 killed and 7 injured. All this happened at a place called Tarragona Beach, about 40 miles south of Tacloban.

liberty ship Figure9

   Our No. 1 hold is an awful mess as we were on fire for 4 hours. That same afternoon, we had 2 torpedoes at us but missed. We did no sleeping that night because our rooms were full of wounded and dying men. We arrived the 6th with no more trouble. Our gunners had accounted for 2 more Jap planes, but what a price we paid for them. We discharged our troops, the wounded and dead on the 6th. We have had raids ever since we got here. 7

   -------------

   There has been some scholarly research on the incident in larger works about U.S. Merchant Marine Casualties in World War II and Kamikaze Attacks of World War II.

   This research reports the incident happened at position 09.34 N / 127.35 E and that the ship was carrying a cargo of some 4,000 tons general, gas, vehicles and troops. It gives a more detailed account of the aircraft's actions.

   -------------

   On one attack, a dive bomber approached the convoy from astern and dove directly toward the Marcus Daly. All guns fired on the approaching plane and damaged the tail section so severely that the pilot lost control.

   The plane continued to strafe the ship, passed over the stern, and swung down the ship's port side. The plane’s wing struck the shrouds of the foremast, turning the plane into the ship. The plane crashed through the main deck into the forepeak area. The plane's bomb exploded throwing flames, plane parts, and other debris over 100 feet into the air. …The crew battled the flames for seven hours to bring the place under control. The explosion opened holes in both sides of the ship large enough to “drive a train through”, the upper deck “ripped like paper” and the whole bow twisted. … Thirty-four troops jumped overboard. A raft was released for these men and an Allied ship picked them up. One armed guard, two of the merchant, crew, and sixty-two of the troops died. The explosion and fire wounded another forty-nine men. 8

   -------------

   Another account agrees on some numbers but not others.

   -------------

   The liberty ship Marcus Daly was heading for Leyte as part of a convoy of forty-one ships that had steamed from Hollandia, New Guinea escorted by five navy ships. Off Mindanao the ships came under air attack on 5 December. One Japanese plane dove on the Marcus Daly at 1500 and was hit repeatedly by her fire. It is not clear if the plan was on a kamikaze run as it was strafing the ship, however, the plane was damaged severely. In all likelihood the pilot recognized that he would crash and decided to ram his plane into the ship. It came in from behind the cargo carrier, its wing clipped part of the foremast and hit the foredeck. Its bomb, estimated to be a 500 lb. device, exploded along with the airplane. Marcus Daly became a ball of fire with flames reaching one hundred feet. Her bow area had severe damage and both sides of the bow were blown out. Firefighting commenced and within a few hours the fires were under control. In addition to her cargo she carried 1,200 troops, sixty-two of whom were killed in the crash. Three others died and forty-nine more were wounded. Although damaged, she made it to Tarragona Gulf at Leyte under her own power. 9Robertson, J F 003

   -------------

   Research did not locate any listing of the Army casualties from the Marcus Daly attack on December 5th. However we do know that Private First Class James “Curley” Franklin Robertson, 24, Russellville, Logan County, a member of Company M, 3-149th Infantry was killed in the attack. According to a Logan County News Democrat newspaper article on January 4, 1945 “News was received here Saturday … Private Robertson was the only casualty, though at least one other man suffered serious burns in the bombing of the ship. … No further details are known at this time.” 10

 

 

 

 

Sircy, J 001

   We also know that Technical Sergeant John Sircy, Adairville, Logan County, was a member of Headquarters Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 149th Infantry Regiment. He is listed on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery with his date of death listed as December 5, 1944. He must have been lost that day aboard the S.S. Marcus Daly.

 

 

 

   McKinney, John N (Army) cropedWe also suspect that Private John Newton McKinney of Marion, Crittenden County, with Company I, 149th Infantry who died of wounds on December 6, 1944 received his wounds aboard the S. S. Marcus Daly. The previously cited article in the Logan County News Democrat regarding PFC Robinson mentions a burn victim and it could have been Private McKinney. No documentation has been found to detail the circumstances of his injuries. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tapp willardTechnical Sergeant Willard W. Tapp, 24, of Livermore, McClean County, died on 8 December 1944. Tapp wounded on 5 December  while serving with his unit Company K, 3-149th Infantry Regiment according to an article in the The Owensboro Messenger dated 6 Feb 1945 he was wounded on Dec. 5, 1944 and died three days later from his wounds. Given the date of his injury, he was almost certainly wounded in the kamikaze attack on the S. S. Marcus Daly as they neared Leyte Island in the Philippines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   We can also surmise that there were a significant number of killed and wounded from both the accounts cited earlier and accounts that said the 3rd Battalion was held back from participating in combat operations beginning on the 7th of December due to its situation.

   Major Martin C. Grigg of Bradley South Dakota was a company commander with the 1st Battalion of the 149th when it arrived at San Pablo airfield on the 7th of December. Grigg went on to write a scholarly paper for his advanced infantry officers’ course and did a case study of the battle of the Buri air strip and lessons learned. In his paper he states that the 149th was hit hard in a day-long attack by Japanese Kamikaze flyers. He states that the 3rd Battalion of this regimental combat team suffered many casualties in this attack. He also notes that when the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 149th were released to the Sixth Army to participate in combat operations on Leyte at the air fields that the 3rd Battalion had been hit hard by the Japanese Kamikaze attack and was not in condition to fight at the time. 11

   It is worth noting that many of these injured or killed may not have had any service in the Kentucky National Guard prior to the war. Once the 38th got to Camp Shelby the troops transferred to other units and other transferred in to replace them. According to a 38th Division yearbook published in 1947 detailing history of the Division it provided “Some eight cadres and more than 14 special task forces were furnished by the Division. Top flight enlisted men totaling more than 3,500 went to Officers' Candidate Schools.” 12

   The American Battle Monuments Commission does list 18 men on the walls of the missing from December 5, 1944 serving with the 149th Infantry Regiment, 38th Infantry Division:

    Bortz, Willard F. PVT Michigan;
    Brown, Frank J. PFC Kentucky;
    Crawford, Harvey PVT California;
    Dunbar, Cecil W.  PFC Kentucky;
    Faughender, Anthony E. PFC Kentucky;
    Goodall, William E. PFC Pennsylvania;
    Herman, John Tech4 Washington;
    Isham, Harry W. PFC Michigan;
    Kryzanauckas, Anthony J. PFC Pennsylvania;
    McKinney, Howard A. PFC Kentucky;
    Mulaski, Joseph Tech5 New York;
    Peace, Billy J.  SSG Kentucky;
    Roberts, Roland J.  PVT Massachusetts;
    Schlegel, Earl H.  PVT Minnesota;
    Sircy, John TSG Kentucky;
    Szczesny, Walter J.  PVT Illinois;
    Tooley, Bob PFC Kentucky; and
    Toon, William T.  PVT Kentucky.
Of the Kentuckians listed only Sircy is known to have served in the Kentucky National Guard.

   Three more individuals are buried in the Manila American cemetery with a date of death of December 5, 1944 serving with the 149th: Crain, Bert L. - Private First Class - Wisconsin; Elrod, Arnold – Corporal – Kentucky; and Gifford, Douglas W. - Private - New York. Elrod has no known connections to the Kentucky Guard.

   Two more individuals buried at the Manila American cemetery with a date of death of December 6, 1944 could well also have been individuals who died from wounds received in the Marcus Daly attack. To date no information has been found regarding the circumstances of their deaths. They are Private First Class William J. Gettins and Private Martin J. Zayas both from Pennsylvania.

    We know that some if not all of the seriously wounded were transported to the USS Hope AH-7, a U.S. Navy comfort-class hospital ship, in port at Leyte. According to an extract from the journal of COL Thomas B. Protzman, commander of the 215th Medical Hospital Ship Complement aboard the USS Hope that at dawn on 6 December a “ship came alongside with more wounded and dead from another transport that had been hit by a kamikaze. badburncase

   -------------

AT RIGHT: Unknown patient on a US Navy Hospital Ship. “A bad burn case from one of the kamikaze attacks has had his wounds dressed and is lying in comparative comfort.” NOTE: This is believed to be aboard the USS Hope but the location, date and name of the individual shown are unknown but would be representative of the care of a burn victim such as those wounded aboard the Marcus Daly. 13

   -------------

 

   The casualties belonged to the 149th Infantry Regiment, 38th Infantry Division, on their way to the next assault.” Protzman’s journal also mentions the burial at sea of some patients on 10 December. So far the only name found on the Manila American Cemetery Walls of the Missing serving with the 149th was Private U. W. Todd with a home of record from Tennessee who is listed as buried at sea on 10 December 1944.14 Todd is believed to be U. W. “Dub” Todd of Sharon, Weakley County, Tennessee some 20 miles south of Fulton, Kentucky. Todd has no known KYNG connection.  There were likely other members of the 149th aboard the USS Hope from the Marcus Daly attack. We can surmise from the Manila American Cemetery data that at least these 23 as a result of the attack and one would expect the number of wounded to have been significantly higher given it impacted their combat readiness for subsequent operations.

The S. S. Marcus Daly

   The men of the 149th could not have shipped with a finer crew than that of the Marcus Daly and the fact that they reached Leyte despite the challenges stands testament. The Marcus Daly was part of the Merchant Marine - a fleet of ships which carries imports and exports during peacetime and becomes a naval auxiliary during wartime to deliver troops and war materiel. The Government trained the men to operate the ships and assist in manning the guns through the U.S. Maritime Service.

   The Liberty ship SS Marcus Daly was built by Permanente Metals Corporation in Richmond, California and completed on August 5, 1943. The vessel was immediately placed into operation under general agent Sudden & Christenson, Inc. During World War II, Marcus Daly operated in the Pacific theater.

   In the fall of 1944, Marcus Daly participated in the allied invasion of the Philippines, docking at Tacloban, Leyte on October 25th. Alongside the liberty ship Adoniram Judson, Marcus Daly was one of the first merchant vessels to arrive at the port, where it quickly found itself under near-constant air attack by Japanese bombers and fighters.

   During the ship’s unloading, Marcus Daly acted as one of the primary anti-aircraft platforms around the city docks. According to the commander of the vessel’s Naval Armed Guard, Marcus Daly was subject to countless fighter attacks and about 30 bombs fell near or beside the ship; one fell so close that merchant mariner Richard G. Matthiesen, who was assisting the Armed Guard, was injured by bomb fragments. During the unloading, Marcus Daly‘s Armed Guard shot down three Japanese bombers. The vessel’s anti-aircraft fire proved so effective during the defense of the Tacloban docks, that General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander in the Southwest Pacific, sent a personal commendation to the ship’s crew.

   Marcus Daly returned to the Philippines on December 5, 1944 to deliver more cargo. Japanese bombers attacked the ship again, one of which, after being shot down, exploded underneath one of the vessel’s gun platforms. Among those serving at the gun were merchant seamen Alvin R. Crawford, who was killed immediately and Richard G. Matthiesen, who was severely burned and injured by the explosion. Despite his injuries, Matthiesen returned to the burning gun platform and rescued at least two, and possibly three Armed Guard gunners, including one who was unconscious. As a result of his burns and injuries, Matthiesen died the next morning. For their heroism, Matthiesen, Crawford and vessel master A. W. Opheim were awarded the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal. Matthiesen was further honored when in 1986, the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command named a T5 tanker (T-AOT-1124) USNS Richard G. Matthiesen.

   After the war Sudden & Christenson continued to operate the ship in government service until October 21, 1948, when it was laid up in the U.S. Maritime Commission’s National Defense Reserve Fleet’s (NDRF) Suisun Bay, California anchorage. (The U.S. Maritime Commission is the Maritime Administration’s direct predecessor). It remained there until August 1951, when it was briefly activated with the General Steamship Corporation as general agent.

   Marcus Daly returned to Suisun Bay on May 19, 1952. On June 14, 1968 it was sold for scrap to National Metal and Steel Corporation. The vessel departed the fleet and was withdrawn from the NDRF on July 15 of that year.

gallant presentation

The Gallant Ship Citation

   The Merchant Marine Gallant Ship Citation is an award of the United States Merchant Marine. The Gallant Ship Citation is awarded by the Secretary of Transportation to vessels for, "participating in outstanding or gallant action in a marine disaster or other emergency to save life or property at sea."

   A bronze Gallant Ship Citation Plaque is awarded to the vessels. The officers and crew who served on those vessels designated as Gallant Ships are awarded a citation ribbon bar. At the center of the ribbon is a silver seahorse device. Only 9 of some 2,710 merchant marine liberty ships serving in World War II received the distinction.gallant ship plaque 2

   The Marcus Daly was designated as a Gallant Ship for her service. The citation reads:

    In October 1944, the SS Marcus Daly was one of the first United States Merchant ships to dock at Tacloban, Island of Leyte, during the initial invasion of the Philippines. For six days and nights, her guns, manned by a skillful and courageous crew, defeated vigorous attacks by enemy planes in a series of heroic actions.  In December 1944, she again engaged enemy bombers and suicide planes and emerged victorious.

    The stark courage of her stalwart crew against overwhelming odds caused her name to be perpetuated as a Gallant Ship.

 

 

Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal

Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal

   The Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal is a decoration of the United States Merchant Marine (USMM). The decoration is the highest award which can be bestowed upon members of that service and is the service’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor; since mariners serving in the United State Merchant Marine are not employed by the Department of Defense, they are not eligible for the Medal of Honor.

   Three members of the S. S. Marcus Daly crew were awarded the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal: Alvin R. Crawford and Richard G. Matthiesen (both presented posthumously) and Alvin W. Opheim.

The citations read:

        The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to
        Alvin R. Crawford*
        Able Seaman on SS Marcus Daly 12/05/44
        For heroism beyond the call of duty.

        During the initial invasion of the Philippine Islands at Tacloban, Leyte, the SS Marcus Daly, in which Crawford was serving, carried troops and vital war material and, with two other vessels, afforded the principal defenses of the port for several days. During six days and nights of incessant fighting, while troops were being disembarked and her cargo safely discharged, the vessel was at times the only fire power defending the vital Leyte docks. Crawford volunteered and served as a member of the forward gun crew which distinguished itself during countless attacks by repulsing the enemy and bringing down many planes. Two months later, on a subsequent arrival in the Philippines, this same vessel was again attacked by enemy bombers. Again Crawford served as a volunteer member of the gun crew during the engagement in which his ship shot down several Japanese aircraft. One of these bombers, after being hit, crashed and exploded under the forward gun platform, where Crawford was serving, killing him instantly.
        His indomitable courage and unselfish service beyond the call of duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

        For the President
        Admiral Emory Scott Land
      

    The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to
    Richard G. Matthiesen*
    Ordinary Seaman on SS Marcus Daly 12/10/44
    For heroism beyond the call of duty

        During the initial invasion of the Philippine Islands at Tacloban, Leyte, the SS Marcus Daly, in which Matthiesen was serving, carried troops and vital war material and, with two other vessels, afforded the principal defenses of the port for several days. During six days and nights of incessant fighting, while troops were being disembarked and her cargo safely discharged, the vessel was at times the only fire power defending the vital Leyte docks. Matthiesen volunteered and served as a member of the forward gun crew which distinguished itself during countless attacks by repulsing the enemy and bringing down many planes.
        Two months later, on a subsequent arrival in the Philippines, this same vessel was again attacked by enemy bombers. Again Matthiesen served as a volunteer member of the gun crew during the engagement in which his ship shot down several Japanese aircraft. One of these bombers, after being hit, crashed and exploded under the forward gun platform, where Matthiesen was serving. Despite injuries and severe burns he escaped from the platform, but realizing that two members of the Navy gun crew remained behind, he returned through the intense heat and rescued them from the flames. The following morning Matthiesen died from the resulting burns and other injuries. [Buried Manila American Cemetery Location L-10-36]
        His indomitable courage and unselfish impulse to go to the aid of shipmates in peril were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

        For the President
        Admiral Emory Scott Land
      

        The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to
        Alvin W. Opheim
        Master of SS Marcus Daly 12/10/44
        For distinguished service in the line of duty.

        Loaded with troops and vital war material for the initial Philippine Islands invasion at Tacloban, Leyte, SS Marcus Daly, under the command of Captain Opheim, acted as one of the principal defenders of the port for several days. Through her accurate gunfire enemy attacks were repeatedly repulsed and many planes brought down. During six days and nights of incessant fighting her troops were landed and cargo successfully discharged.
        On a subsequent arrival in the Philippines, two months later, his ship was again attacked by enemy bombers, one of which, although damaged by gunfire, crashed and exploded on the forward deck, with resulting fires, wreckage, and over two hundred dead and injured troops and crew members. In this major emergency, Captain Opheim skillfully maneuvered his vessel and directed his well-trained crew in rendering first aid, extinguishing fires and clearing the wreckage.
        His outstanding courage, leadership and utter disregard of personal danger were mainly responsible for saving many lives and the vitally needed ship, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

        For the President
        Admiral Emory Scott Land


1 38th Infantry Division “Avengers of Bataan” Luzon Campaign Battle Pictures Overseas Pictorial Division Roster Edited by Peyton Hoge; Thomas J. Hooper and Victor H. Lott. Photographers Edward Andros and William E. Bonhoff. Albert Love Enterprises Publishing, Peyton Hoge 1947

2 Memo: Armed Guard Unit S.S. Marcus Daly by Ensign J. S. Feathers the Commanding Officer, Armed Guard Unit, S. S. Marcus Daly dated December 26, 1944 page 2 paragraph 1

3 Grigg, Martin C MAJ Opns 1-149th Inf Battle for the Buri Air Strip, Leyte 7-11 Dec 1944 Advance Infantry Officers Course 1948-49

4 38th Infantry Division “Avengers of Bataan” … Peyton Hoge 1947

5 Transcription Feathers Memo Dec 26, 1944 SS Marcus Daly

6 38th Infantry Division “Avengers of Bataan” … Peyton Hoge 1947

7 “The Pointer” June / September 2011 issue pages 15-17 of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard WW II Veterans organization publication titled The Gallant Ship, the S.S. MARCUS DALY, by Dilmar S. Gould, U.S Merchant Marine WW II. https://www.armed-guard.com/201106pointer.pdf

8 United States Merchant Marine Casualties of World War II, Rev Ed. By Robert M. Browning, Jr. Published by McFarland, June 13, 2011 Pages 345-346

9 Kamikaze Attacks of World War II: A Complete History of Japanese Suicide Strikes on American Ships, by Aircraft and Other Means by Robin L. Rielly, Publisher McFarland, 2010 Chapter 8, Page 138

10 Logan County News Democrat dated January 4, 1945

11 Grigg Martin C MAJ Opns 1-149th Inf Battle for the Buri Air Strip, Leyte 7-11 Dec 1944 General Subject Section Academic Department The Infantry School Fort Benning, Georgia Advanced Infantry Officers Course 1948 – 1949 The Operations Of The 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry (38th Infantry Division) In The Battle For The Buri Air Strip, Leyte, P. I., 7-11 December 1944 (Leyte Island Campaign) (Personal Experience Of A Company Commander) Type Of Operation Described: Infantry Battalion Employed Against An Enemy Ground And Vertical Attack By Major Martin C. Grigg, Infantry; Advanced Infantry Officers Class No I.

12 38th Infantry Division “Avengers of Bataan” Luzon Campaign Battle Pictures Overseas Pictorial Division Roster Edited by Peyton Hoge; Thomas J. Hooper and Victor H. Lott. Photographers Edward Andros and William E. Bonhoff. Albert Love Enterprises Publishing, Peyton Hoge 1947

13 WW2 US Medical Research Centre https://www.med-dept.com/veterans-testimonies/timeline-uss-hope-ah-7-colonel-thomas-b-protzman-2/ accessed December 11, 2017.

14 WW2 US Medical Research Centre https://www.med-dept.com/veterans-testimonies/timeline-uss-hope-ah-7-colonel-thomas-b-protzman-2/ accessed December 11, 2017.

 

The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273
 

KYNG Memorial | Our Fallen | Name Locater | Pre-1912 | Marcus Daly | By County HOR | RR Deaths 1917-18 | Mission | Scramble | Vision | Contact Us | Donors | Pavers Purchased | Buy A Paver | Financial | In Memory Of | History | Board | Donor Recognition Levels | Daniel Boone | Soil |
blue star bar blu