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The personal experience and account of
Joseph Brown

(Air Dept)

On the morning of October 25, 1944, we secured from general quarters. We were going to the mess hall for breakfast when the bell sounded and the announcement "All men man your battle stations" was given. Without breakfast, we all ran to where we were supposed to be. I went to the aft elevator pit. I was in charge of a fire detail.

We were getting hit from the big guns. We all heard the metallic click when the shells went off in the water. We knew it was just a matter of time before our ship would be hit.

I went to the fire hose, unwrapped the hose, and put the valve on. No water was coming out. I walked over to the Lt. to see what else I could do.

We received a hit on the fantail and I went down. The Lt. was decapitated and I was hit in my left leg. For some reason, I pushed my butt up and I was hit again.

Someone yelled that Brownie was hit. Two guys came running with the wire stretcher. I did not want to go to the sick bay as it was by the gasoline storage area. I yelled and ranted until they drooped me and I crawled over to the sponson.

When the order to abandon ship was given, I somehow crawled over and jumped or fell into the ocean without a life preserver. God must have been looking after me. Someone from the flight deck threw me a life preserver circle and I sat in it until I was picked up. For some crazy reason I paddled over to another group when I felt a large fish pass me. When I got to the other group, two of the group were pulled down by sharks.

I met a buddy of mine on the second day. At dusk, we both saw a large tree that looked like a telephone pole. Prokop said to me, "Brownie, lets take this into shore." which we saw the out line of. For some reason I stayed with the group. We never saw him again.

On the morning of the third day, before sun up, we saw small ships coming toward us. We thought they were Japanese, but thank God they were not. Someone put on a search light and said, "Hang on we will be back." I wasn't going to wait. I paddled to the small boat and started banging on the side with my fist. They brought me on board. Trying to play the hero I said, "I'm ok. All I want is water." They let me go and I fell flat on my face. They gave me a cup of warm water and a shot of morphine. I did not remember anything for two days.

When we pulled in to Leyte Gulf, I was transferred to an LST hospital ship. From there to the US Comfort, a hospital ship, where I was operated on.





USS Gambier Bay CVE 73 - VC10.com