Wow! That is some achievement!
Although we are an Air Force family, I’m still proud of this strong branch of our United States military. I’m proud of every branch of our military, in fact.
A book I’ve just finished has a story from a Navy veteran of World War II. It is called Captured!: Stories of American World War II Prisoners of War.
Here is an excerpt:
William (‘Bill’) Ingram was below deck on the USS Houston when the ominous order was issued.
On February 28, 1942, the crew had become embroiled in yet another battle with the Japanese in the Java Sea. It was gritty and Ingram, a 17-year-old from Springfield, Illinois, tried to keep up with the rest of the crew’s actions while at general quarters.
Ingram was assigned duties of a powder monkey. This meant shoving powder bags loaded in two-and-a-half-foot projectiles up an elevator from the depths of the ship to a gun crew in the turret on deck.
The powder bags for the ship’s nine eight-inch guns could travel as far as 12 miles.
The Battle of the Java Sea was not the first time the crew of the Houston had nearly entered Davy Jones’ Locker. The entire time Ingram had been on board the crew was at general quarters (battle stations).
Ingram, youngest member of the 1,100-member crew, stayed in the turret so much that he never located his assigned bunk and locker. He slept under the turret and left it only to use the head (bathroom).
Recently, the Japanese had reported the Houston as sunk. The mighty vessel had, in fact, evaded so many attacks that she was given the name, “The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast.”
(…several paragraphs of Ingram’s background information)
At hearing the command, Ingram quickly jumped overboard but during the night was spotted by a Japanese patrol boat. The enemy!
Ingram knew he would soon drown from exhaustion. He had no choice but to go aboard the vessel.
Ingram was imprisoned in Burma where he was part of the slave labor building the Thai-Burma railroad. It would stretch 250 miles to Bangkok to transport Japanese troops and weapons in the Burma campaign of the war.
Ingram, who was just 17-years-old when made a Prisoner of War, contracted dysentery but managed to survive three years of abuse, starvation and hard work. When the war ended, he was rescued and flown to a hospital in New York City where he received weeks of medical care.
Bill Ingram stayed in the Navy for 22 years, retiring at the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
There is much more in the book about this guy who endured incredible circumstances while serving his country in the Navy.
Thanks to all of our veterans who have served our country and continue to do so honorably and sacrificially.
The book Captured!: Stories of American World War II Prisoners of War is available on Amazon.
The ebook version will be available soon.
Contact me by email for signed, personalized copies or bulk rates.