saving our lives & also our ship

(Heroes)

1000—Steering control was lost in the forward part of the ship.  Steering aft has been given control and is maneuvering the ship, to avoid collision with two transports that appear in our immediate course.

 

- excerpted from General Quarters Narrative, USS Savannah, September 11, 1943, Salerno, Italy

 

Also at the same time that the bomb hit another hero was being born up in the Pilot House when the quartermaster stuck to the wheel in spite of his vision being obscured by the heavy smoke and just barely avoided ramming an ammunition ship which was off our starboard bow and therefore saving our lives and also our ship.

 

- Richard Sharron, PHM2, USS Savannah, September 17, 1943

 

1307—It is reported that the Radiomen (4 of them) still alive but trapped in the Emergency Radioroom.  Every possible thing is being done to aid them until they can be rescued. 

 

- excerpted from General Quarters Narrative, USS Savannah, September 11, 1943, Salerno, Italy

 

We knew a lot of others hadn’t a chance like that.  Our shipmates had been telling us about carrying out bodies and what compartments had been flooded and we realized we were pretty lucky to be alive.

 

- Robert J. Garmy, RM1, USS Savannah, Emergency Radio Compartment*

 

I kept imagining that the water was forcing the bulkheads together and the room seemed to be getting smaller every minute.

 

- Charles Junior Clark, RM3, USS Savannah, Emergency Radio Compartment

 

0944—Received direct hit on #3 turret damage and casualties unknown.  Fire broke out immediately, life rafts on top of the turret burned. . . Captain ordered flooding of handling rooms and magazines forward. . .

0950—The Captain says keep working we are going to save the ship. 

 

- excerpted from General Quarters Narrative, USS Savannah, September 11, 1943, Salerno, Italy

 

The sweetest words, I think, that any of us heard in a long time was when at 1800 they passed over the loudspeaker “set the special sea detail, make all preparations for getting underway and up anchor.”  This was really a feat for Captain Cary as he was ordered by the British Admiral either to scuttle us or beach us.  Rather than do either one he brought his own ship back to safe waters and all in one piece. 

 

- Richard Sharron, PHM2, USS Savannah, September 17, 1943

 

Although there seemed to be enough excitement to cause any normal person to lose his head, there was absolutely no sign of panic.  It was wonderful the way the men did their jobs and did them well under such conditions.

 

- Edward M. Chiotasso, BMC, USS Savannah

 

 

 

*To read an entire article, originally printed in 1943 in The Stars and Stripes Weekly, about the rescue of the Radiomen, please click here.

 

Carey goldstar court Jim Dunigan.jpg

Warren W. Hahn, YN1

 

Prepared General Quarters Narrative, USS Savannah (Photograph courtesy of Deborah Southward). 

Captain Robert W. Carey receives a Gold Star for his outstanding action as commanding officer of the USS Savannah during the invasion of Salerno. (Courtesy of Jim Dunigan)

Radiomen following their rescue from the Emergency Radioroom.

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