|A World War II Sailor’s Journey: The North Atlantic
to the Sea of Japan by T. J. Piemonte, (110 pages perfect bound),
ISBN: 1-931575-65-7. $10.00 plus $2.00 shipping and handling. The book
covers the war years of a Coast Guard Sailor – beginning with the Japanese
bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Now 80 years old, the author retraces
his journey on board two ships – the destroyer escort USS KIRKPATRICK,
DE-318 and LCI-83 (landing craft infantry). While serving on the DE he
made twenty ocean crossings escorting and protecting convoys of ships heading
to – and coming from – the European theater of war. He traveled over 150,000
miles in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and participated in the occupation
of Japan. To order, send check or money order to: T.J. Piemonte, 9379 Mt.
Pleasant Ave. D-7, Dover, NJ.07801.
On the ninth day, just south of Iceland, contact was made with an enemy submarine that was “shadowing” the convoy. It was the beginning of a long and tragic night.
Our Division Commander’s strategy was to have all six destroyer escorts drop depth charges, at pre-determined times, in order to prevent the U-boats from gaining a firing position.
Thus began the most terrifying fifteen hours of my life. We lost the race to avoid the hurricane. Now we had no choice but to ride the raging storm out and hope to survive. Fifty-foot mountainous seas and blinding sheets of water battered the KIRKPATRICK, making visibility practically impossible.
We were on maneuvers with U.S. submarines and other naval ships, training for the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland, when news of the surrender was announced over the ship’s intercom system.
The surrender immediately set into motion a tremendous task – the occupation
of Japan. The USS KIRKPATRICK was assigned to escort ships that were carrying
soldiers, marines and supplies to Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese