Daily Event for April 12, 2015

USS Rall DE-304 was launched on Sept. 23, 1943 and named in honor of Lieutenant (j.g.) Richard Redner Rall, D.C., U.S.N., who was lost in USS Pennsylvania BB-38 in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. She was commissioned on Apr. 8, 1944 and placed under the command of Lt. Commander Crittenden B. Taylor, USNR. She was occupied with trials and shakedown cruises until late May of 1944. On June 9 she sailed from San Francisco en route to Pearl Harbor as an escort for USS City of Dalhart IX-156, they arrived on June 18th.

From then until late September Rall conducted training off Hawaii and made two voyages as an escort. One to Midway and the second to Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. On Sept. 23, 1944 Rall was attached to Task Group 31.5 and left Pearl Harbor bound for Ulithi. The Task Group was carrying the Garrison force for Ulithi. After a brief stop at Eniwetok on Oct. 3, Rall and the Task Group made for Ulithi, arriving on Oct. 8.

Rall operated out of Ulithi and supported the operations during the Leyte landings. Rall was at Ulithi on Nov. 20, 1944 when a Kaiten launched by either I-36 or I-47 managed to get into the harbor and torpedo USS Mississinewa AO-59. In the counterattack Rall is believed to have sunk one of the Kaiten's.

She continued to operate out of Ulithi for the rest of the year conducting patrols and escorting ships from one place to another. In Dec. she returned to Pearl Harbor arriving on Christmas Eve. Making repairs and training along with local escort duties kept the ship busy until Jan. 11, 1945 when she joined the Fifth Fleet and began to prepare for the invasion of Iwo Jima.

The ships departed Pearl Harbor on Feb. 6 bound for Iwo Jima. They stopped at Eniwetok on Feb. 15, Saipan on Feb. 18 finally arriving in the designated area about 100 miles southeast of Iwo Jima on Feb. 23. The remained in the area with the ships carrying the Garrison Force for Iwo Jima until Mar. 1st when orders were received to make landfall on the volcanic island. They proceeded to Iwo Jima and first sighted the island at 0630 on Mar. 2. They arrived on the east side of the island a short time later.

Rall refueled and was ordered to another escort group bound for Saipan and departed Iwo Jima at 1827 on the same day. On the 3rd they picked up an underwater sound contact and dropped 13 depth charges, but after a 45 minute search nothing was found and the contact could not be regained. They arrived at Saipan on Mar. 5th. Through the month of March Rall escorted ships to several ports and on Apr. 3 she found herself at Ulithi once again. This was just a stop on her voyage from Espiritu Santo to Okinawa.

On Apr. 7 a submarine was detected, but it was determined to be a friendly even though she did not reply to several challenges made. The task group made a simulated attack, but dropped no ordnance. Shortly thereafter a mine was sighted on the surface. It was an old mine, covered in barnacles, and it was exploded with a 20mm gun. They arrived at Okinawa on Apr. 9th.

Conducting anti-submarine patrols and screening, Rall remained in the waters around the islands. There had been air alerts on the 10th and 11th, but on neither occasion were enemy aircraft sighted. On April 12, 1945 at 0340 another "Air Flash Red" was issued and the men went to battlestations, but at 0615 the "Air Flash White" came with no aircraft sighted by the men in USS Rall. At 1325 another "Air Flash Red" was issued, this time there would be an attack.

At 1440 five Japanese aircraft were approaching the ship, four wound be downed, but the fifth crashed the ship on the the starboard side just abaft of the after motor room. A 500 lb. bomb that the plane was carrying went into the ship and exploded causing serious damage. Nineteen men had been killed and two others died of their wounds the following day, but the ship survived. She made for Hagushi Beach, Okinawa and arrived at 1915 that day. The wounded and dead were transferred to USS Pinkney APH-2 then Rall went alongside USS Clamp ARS-33 for temporary repairs.

There were more air raids, but the men worked through the day and night to get their ship repaired. Even though they were under constant threat of an air raid and were working furiously to repair their ship, when the news of President Roosevelt's death reached the fleet, the men observed five minutes of silence in his memory.

They moved to Keramo Retto for further repairs and left there on Apr. 19th. It was a nervous voyage as several leaks in the temporary patches were found. None were terribly bad and they arrived at Ulithi on Apr. 23. More repairs were made at Ulithi and on May 1 at 1851 USS Rall set sail for Pearl Harbor, she would never see action again. A refueling stop at Eniwetok on May 5 took only 4 ½ hours and they were underway again. USS Rall moored alongside USS Hastings DE-19 at 1209 on May 10. Two days later she was on the way to Seattle for permanent repairs. She sailed alone across the Pacific toward the U.S. coast and arrived in Washington on May 18th. She was sent to Todd Pacific in Seattle for an overhaul and refit.

On June 25 Lt. Cdr. Taylor was relieved as commanding officer by Lieutenant James B. O'Donnell, USNR and at 0900 on July 5 USS Rall went to sea for a full power test run. USS Rall and her crew were ready to get back in the war and returned to Pearl Harbor on Aug. 5. 1945. Hostilities would end only ten days later and the war would be over before Rall could return to the war zone, so she was retained at Pearl Harbor.

Her last voyage began at Pearl Harbor on Sept. 3, 1945, she was carrying 110 officers and men as passengers to San Diego. They were disembarked on Sept. 9 and on the 11th Rall was underway to the U.S. east coast via the Panama Canal. On Sept. 24 she arrived at Charleston, South Carolina and began the decommissioning process. Her last change of command occurred on Oct. 20, 1945 when Lieutenant Earl R. Silvers, Jr., USNR relieved Lt. O'Donnell. The ship never put to sea again and was decommissioned at Charleston on Dec. 11, 1945. She remained there until she was sold for scrap in 1947.

The twenty-one men lost in the Kamikaze attack were the only deaths ever sustained in USS Rall during her short career, seventeen of those had been with the ship since she was commissioned.
© 2015 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in
USS Rall DE-304
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Barrow, John A.
Radioman 3rd Class (USNR)
Bone, L. C. Jessie.
Seaman 2nd Class (USNR)
Breithaupt, James M.
Shipfitter 1st Class (USNR)
Brooks, George W.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Carter, Raymond
Steward's Mate 1st Class (USNR)
Crombar, Louis L.
Fireman 1st Class (USNR)
Deese, Raymond L.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Edwards, Jr., David H.
Ship's Cook 2nd Class (USNR)
Griffitts, John W.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Holladay, Virgil L.
Seaman 2nd Class (USNR)
Johnson, William O.
Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (USNR)
Jones, Orvel
Ship's Cook 2nd Class (USNR)
Lawson, Robert B.
Seaman 2nd Class (USNR)
Martin, Wilbert J.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Mueller, Earle D.
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class
Njirich, Anton F.
Signalman 3rd Class (USNR)
Taylor, Alexander G.
Electrician's Mate 3rd Class (USNR)
Turpin, Charles L.
Electrician's Mate 3rd Class (USNR)
Vance, Ervin
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Wallace, Clarence R.
Motor Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (USNR)
Wynne, Jack W.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Died of wounds Apr. 13 in USS Pinkney APH-2.

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The remains of the Kamikaze aircraft that crashed USS Rall on Apr. 12, 1945.