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Topic: Tell me about the other tragedy at pearl harbor< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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COL Riley Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2004,6:20  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

tell me a bit about the accident that happened in 1944 i believe. it happened in west loch if i remember ..... i know a WHOLE lot about pearl harbor maybe as much as some of the people who are dedicated to this site and i am only 15 .... but anyways i want to know more about the accident that happened on may 21 , 1944. all i really know about this accident is that it was classified until around the 1960's and the familys of the dead  ...... were sadly never told the truth. it was before an invasion of a island in the pacific. and i also know that the wreckage is still there to this day

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2004,9:12 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Col,
     As no else picked up on this one I'll give it a shot on the 21st of May 1944 a group of LST's 29 in number were tied in 6 nests in the West Loch taking on supplies for the invasion of Saipan and Tinian. Along with the vehicle loads each LST was loaded with 80-100 50 gallon drums of high octane gasoline loaded on the forepeak and 6,000 cubic foot of ammunition on the top deck. An explosion on LST 353 migrated through the nests and caused the total detruction of 6 LST's and a number of smaller craft.  One witness reported that it was the largest non atomic explosion in history.  Truck parts and ammunition were thrown as far as the cane fields on shore. All told 163 men were killed and 398 injured.  As the pending operations would have been compromised the incident was classified top secret and remained that way into 1960.  A court of inquiry reviewed the incident and ruled out sabotage focusing rather on the improper handling of 4.2 inch mortar rounds. A second opinion was that the explosion may have been gasoline vapors ignited by a careless cigarette.  One of the recommendations made was to eliminate nesting berths at Pearl Harbor for ships loading either fuel or ammunition. This recommendation was not endorsed by CINPAC Adm. C. Nimitz because of the needs of the war. There were several cases of misnotification of death in this incident even one case of a man reported missing to his family who didn't find his grave until 1970.
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yeomanjoe Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2005,11:33 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was there.  My ship, the LST129, was about to tie up as the last ship on one line of moorings when the explosions began.  We managed to maneuver away from the line as the ships began to explode like falling dominoes.  Many of our ship's crew members rescued those who were blown overboard in the repeated explosions.  The water's surface was burning with the oil spilled from the explosions, so this was not an easy job.  I was training the fire away from our ship with a hose when a filthy man stripped to the waist walked past me.  He asked if I was in a state of grace.  It took me a minute to realize that he was the priest from the Marine unit we had on board.  He gave me absolution, and I went back to work, thinking I was glad he found me before I died.  A minute later the water stopped flowing through my hose.  I looked back to figure out what had gone wrong, and discovered that a shot from a 20mm gun had landed right behind me, severing the line.  It will give you an idea of the chaos going on around me to when I say I didn't even know it had hit until I saw the cut hose.  The book "The West Loch Story," shows a diagram of the placement of the LSTs, but my shipmates and I agree that it is not exactly correct.  Luckily, no one from my ship was killed.  I saw men flying through the air and bodies floating everywhere, and I have always felt that the number reported as dead seems too low to me.
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