On July 5, 1943 the United States Navy got word that the Japanese Navy was making another run, nicknamed the Tokyo Express, to shuttle supplies to their troops in the Solomon Islands.
A task force, consisting of three light cruisers and four destroyers, led by Rear Admiral Walden Ainsworth moved to intercept and engage them.
Among the four light cruisers was the USS Helena, (CL-50). Aboard this ship were two young sailors, Donald Eugene Ross, (my father) and Neal Hampton Rood, (his best friend).
On the morning of July 6, 1943 the US led task force encountered the Japanese, led by Admiral Teruo Akiyama leading a much larger force of 10 destroyers
At 1:57 a.m. the U.S ships opened fire on the Japanese, expending 612 shells in under half an hour; sinking the destroyer Niizuki and killing Admiral Akiyama.
However, the previous day the Helena had used up all her flashless powder during a previous engagement and was forced to use smokeless powder; which lit her up like a target every time she fired.
The Japanese zeroed in on her, launching two long lance torpedoes; fatally damaging her. Although most of the crew survived, including my father, Neal Hampton Rood did not; as he was below decks when the torpedoes hit.
On this Memorial Day I would like for all of us to think of all those who died defending this country and WHAT they died for.
I live every day of my live, a living memory of just one of thousands who gave their lives for what so many of us take for granted.
Thank you for your time and patience with my frequent ranting, but patriotism is not a catch phrase for me, it is a way of life. If you can understand that, then maybe the way I act sometimes might make a bit more sense.
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.