Daily Event for January 10, 2013

During the Lingayen Gulf landings Kamikaze attacks were common. As the net was closing on the Japanese Empire desperate, fanatical men by the dozen used themselves as the auto-pilot and made every attempt to crash a U.S. ship. One can imaging that the dedicated Kamikaze would want to take out a carrier or battleship, but smaller ships were just as big a target and on January 10, 1945 one of the targets was USS LeRay Wilson DE-414.

The ship was conducting an anti-submarine patrol at the entrance to the gulf in company with three other ships when at 0710 hours an enemy aircraft was detected by radar. The Mitsubishi GM3 "Nell" twin engine bomber was coming in on the deck and aimed straight toward the bridge. The port side gunners took the aircraft under fire and just before impact the port engine and wing became engulfed in flames and the aircraft began to loose control. The burning aircraft missed the ship, but the wing clipped the ship destroying several guns and their crews and spewing flaming fuel all about the ship. There was considerable damage done to the ship, but there was no danger of sinking.

The fires were brought under control through the gallant efforts of the crew and the ship continued it's patrol by 1000 hours. Six men perished, three were missing and four were seriously injured, two of them later died from their wounds. The commanding officer, Lt. Commander Matthew V. Carson, Jr., USN, recommended two men for the Navy Cross, S1c Koapke (on #6 gun) and S1c Humbert (on #8 gun). He further recommended SK1c Haney for the Silver Star. He also recommended several others for commendations. The Navy awarded Haney, Humbert and Koapke the Silver Star (Posthumously). This was but one attack that day, and only one of hundreds of such attacks during the war.
© 2013 Michael W. Pocock

The #8 20mm gun that Seaman 1st Class James E. Humbert manned during the Kamikaze attack. To the right is the sponson of the #6 20mm gun which was manned by Seaman 1st Class Lorrin R. Koapke during the attack.

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in
USS LeRay Wilson DE-414
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Boero, Louis S. J.
Seaman 2nd Class (USNR)
Boggess, Jr., William W.
Seaman 2nd Class (USNR)
Bryant, Jr., Dan
Steward's Mate 1st Class (USNR)
Cottingham, Wade H.
Ship's Cook 2nd Class (USNR)
Ellison, Joseph H. D.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Haney, William S.
Storekeeper 1st Class (USNR)
Humbert, James E.
Seaman 1st Class (USN)
Kimble, Jr., Joseph
Steward's Mate 1st Class (USNR)
Koapke, Lorrin R.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Vehorn, James B.
Yeoman 1st Class (USN)
White, Lewis
Officer's Cook 2nd Class (USN)
Died of wounds Jan. 11.
Died of wounds Jan. 26.
Body not recovered

Feb. 14, 2016

I am the younger Brother Seaman 1st Class James E. Humbert who was recommend for, but never received the Navy Cross for Gallantry above and Beyond the Call of Duty. When my Bother was killed my family did not know very much about the circumstance of what happened on that day, years later I contacted the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to see if they could help. I was told to go to the library and get a book about the liberation of the Philippines and that there was a chapter about my brother and his ship. I was also instructed to contact someone to get the Declassified Action Report for the USS LeRay Wilson. I did so and several weeks later, I received the action report. On the first page of this report a paragraph said the following: A message was sent from Admiral Killend that it was Genially Expected That All Gunners Would STAND TO THERE GUNS During A KAMIKAZE ATTACK. My brother stood to his gun and saved his ship that day and earned the Navy Cross on that day.

Robert F. Humbert
Chicago Il 60616

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