Friday, June 20, 2014

On a Ship in the Pacific

One of "Shorty" Roblee's experiences during WWII.

As a result of the historical society's annual Walking With Heroes cemetery tours held on Memorial Day weekend and the Post 374 V.F.W. 75th anniversary last year, the society has begun to compile an archive of veterans' service experiences, both to honor them and maintain their experiences as a historical record. Here is one of those remembrances.
 Anson (Shorty) Roblee served in the U.S. Marine Corps aboard the USS Bunker Hill from March 1943 to August 1945. On Mothers’ Day 1945, kamikaze planes attacked the USS Bunker Hill. As told by Shorty in an article for the Arcade Herald, “ ...I heard what everybody thought was our attack planes coming back from another strike. All at once a meatball“ (Japanese plane) “came in over the island structure, dropped a 500 pound bomb and crashed his plane into our planes at the aft end of the flight deck.  The bomb went through the flight deck, hanger deck, and blew up in the port quarter of the ship. This immediately started huge fires on the whole aft portion of the ship.” Soon a second Kamikaze dove at the ship, crashing his plane into the base of the ship’s island.  “We fought the fires and further Jap attacks for 26 hours.” Meanwhile, back at home in Arcade, his mother had a strong feeling he would be in trouble on that day, but didn’t find out about the attack until weeks later.