Daily Event for May 20, 2012

Launched at Bath Iron Works Dec. 6, 1942, one day short of the one year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, USS Thatcher DD-514 earned 12 Battle Stars during the Second World War. She escorted convoys in the Atlantic and Pacific and fought in many major and minor battles. She survived Typhoon Cobra in Dec. 1944, but one aircraft took her out of the war.

On May 20, 1945 she was on radar picket duty off Okinawa when a Kamikaze attack was launched against American ships, Thatcher was one of several ships hit. A Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa "Oscar" got through the barrage of anti-aircraft fire and crashed the ship abaft of the bridge taking out her steering and radar. The attack killed fourteen of her crew and wounded fifty-three others, the bodies of three of those killed were never found.

USS Boyd DD-544 and USS Pavlic APD-70 came alongside to help put out the fires and remove the wounded, Thatcher, while damaged made port at Kerama Retto, Okinawa and temporary repairs were made. Moved to drydock at Buckner Bay she was again attacked by a Kamikaze, this time however the aircraft deflected off the hull and crashed into the bay without causing much damage to the ship, more importantly nobody but the pilot was killed.

Thatcher left Okinawa July 25 and after a number of stops docked at Bremerton, Washington Aug. 20 for permanent repairs, but during her voyage the Japanese Empire had been hit by two atomic bombs and had agreed to surrender. The war was effectively over and for Thatcher DD-514 her career was over, the ship and crew had served gallantly, but repairs were not economical and the decision was made to scrap her. She was sold Jan. 23, 1948 to Lerner Company of Oakland, California and scrapped.
© 2012 Michael W. Pocock

USS Thatcher DD-514.
(Photo courtesy of David W. McComb
and www.destroyerhistory.org)

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in USS Thatcher DD-514
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Abbott, Milton G.
Chief Radioman
Bielot, John
Fireman 1st Class
Brackett, William E.
Seaman 2nd Class
Carver, J. F.
Seaman 2nd Class
Chabot, Roland E.
Radio Technician 2nd Class
Fleming, William A.
Electrician's Mate 3rd Class
Johnson, Harvey L.
Boatswain's Mate 1st Class
Keilty, Michael J.
Fireman 1st Class
Mason, Daniel J.
Radarman 3rd Class
Mlakar, John J.
Ship's Cook 3rd Class
Montplaisir, Normand J.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
Schommer, Harold E.
Seaman 1st Class
Weigand, Walter J.
Motor Machinist's Mate 2nd Class
Wendell, Russell H.
Chief Boatswain's Mate

To submit a photo, biographical information or correction please email the webmaster.

Message 1
July 29, 2017

My uncle, Michael Keilty, was killed aboard the USS Thatcher. I do believe it was on 05-20-1942 during the Battle for Okinawa. I think about him often. Any information would be greatly appreciated. My friends father was in the same battle on a different ship. They played football together at Leo high school in Chicago. He just shook his head when I asked what it was like. Thanks for your web site.

Bob Heffernan

Reply 1
July 29, 2017

Yes he was killed in the Kamikaze attack. It appears that he died instantly and was buried at Zamami Shima, U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery, Plot 3, Row 9, Grave 679. I don't know if he was reentered in the U.S. later.

Michael W. Pocock

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