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Tom Cleaver
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USS Johnston found

April 4, 2021 · in News · 11 · 1.5K

USS Johnston - along with the Sammy B ("the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship) - the two bravest ships in the Navy in what is known as "The U.S. Navy's finest hour," the Battle off Samar on October 25, 1944 that saw destroyers and destroyer escorts, all manned primarily by reservists ("Democracy's Navy"), go against the strongest battle line the Imperial Navy ever sent to sea.

Johnston made her attack on the battleships, taking on Yamato - the world's biggest battleship armed with 18-inch guns. Her torpedoes didn't hit anything, but they forced the enemy fleet to break its formation, destroying its cohesiveness and leading to the ultimate American victory.

Returning from the attack with hits in one engine and her bridge from Yamato's main battery, her wounded captain - who was conning the ship from the fantail after the bridge was knocked out - saw the destroyers Hoel and Heerman preparing to commence their run at the enemy. Commander Ernest Evans - descendant of Cherokee warriors - could have continued his retirement and no one would ever have faulted him.

But he turned the wounded Johnston back toward the enemy, making smoke to hide the others while taking on the enemy destroyers in close range gunfights through the smoke. The last anyone on another ship who survived the battle saw of him, he was raising a battle flag from the stern mast. Johnston received the Presidential Unit Citation and Evans was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

11 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing. I wrote a report involving the USS Johnston for one of my projects last year and I used the Johnson as the topic of my impromptu speech once, talking about bravery.

  2. Pretty cool. I was talking with my friends about it a few days ago. Historic event indeed. I've always wondered when they'd find her.

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  3. Thanks for sharing this amazing info, my friend @tcinla!

  4. Thanks for the info, Tom (@tcinla). I have always liked the story of these heroic ships.

  5. Speaking of the discovery of shipwrecks, I remember when the Akagi and Kaga were discovered. We were watching the news channel in my history class when the discovery came up. I had to explain to my friends about their history and will probably be doing that again with the Johnston.

  6. 6500 meters deep! Never realized how deep the waters off Samar are.

  7. That is very deep and protects her and the brave Men from the iron mongers.
    The deep sea holds many secrets.

  8. Another grave site discovered.

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