For the last few months I have been in communication with Fred Long. Fred served as a T/5 truck driver 96th Quartermaster Company of the 96th Infantry Division. He had a variety of experiences during the Okinawa Campaign
In late July 1945 a portion of the 96th Division boarded LST’s for a journey to the Philippines to reorganize rest and prepare for the invasion of Japan. Fred was assigned to the LST 768 and a good many of the Underhill survivors also ended up on the 768. I remember receiving clean clothes from some Coast Guard sailor.
The following is a quote from Fred’s web page. I believe many of you will enjoy it and I thank him for permitting me to post it.
In July 1945, part of the 96th Infantry Division embarked from Okinawa on some LSTs for the Philippines to rest up and prepare for the invasion of Japan. I was with the 96th Quartermaster Company and my truck and I were in that group.
About July 24, 1945 as we were between Formosa (Taiwan) and the Philippines, the convoy was attacked by submarines. I was standing on the deck of the LST I was on and looking back at a destroyer escort moving rapidly forward. I looked forward to see what they were after and when I looked back, I saw a column of smoke and flame and debris about four hundred feet in the air where that ship had been. They rammed a sub and were rammed, with the loss of the ship and about 118 men. A couple of smaller vessels picked up survivors and deposited about 55 of them aboard the ship I was on.
Of the men that we had aboard, two of them were buried at sea the next day and many were wounded.
My hat is off to the navy and particularly to the men of the USS Underhill.