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They Live Again

 

 

RAYMOND D. FOX'S WORLD WAR II SHIP

 

He enlisted in December, 1942 then attended radar technician school and reported aboard the U.S.S. Hamlin (a seaplane tender) on July 8, 1945 just as the ship was finishing its operations at Kerama Retto (Okinawa) and moving to another operation closer to the island of Okinawa.  During the Battle of Okinawa thirty-four allied ships and craft of all types had been sunk, mostly by kamikazes, and 368 ships and craft damaged. The fleet had lost 763 aircraft. Over 4,900 sailors and 3,443 Marines were killed or missing in action and 4,824 Sailors and 16,017 Marines were wounded, making this the naval services' most costly campaign of World War II.  Although the 82-day Okinawan campaign was officially declared over on July 2 the ships in the vicinity continued to receive harassing fire from kamikazes that managed to slip through defenses.  

During his brief Pacific experience Raymond D. Fox earned the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon (2 stars) and the American Area Ribbon and was recommended for the Good Conduct Medal.

 

        Asiatic Pacific Ribbon (with 2 stars)

        American Area Ribbon

 

A HISTORY OF THE U.S.S. HAMLIN

 

Named after a sound on the coast of South Carolina, north of Charleston

AV-15
Displacement 8,000
Length 492'
Beam 69'6"
Draw 23'9"
Speed 19 k
Complement 1,077
Armament 2 5"
Class Kenneth Whiting

 

Hamlin (AV-15) was launched by Todd Pacific Shipyards Inc., Tacoma. Wash., 11 January 1944, sponsored by Miss Constance Taffinder, daughter of Rear Admiral S. A. Taffinder; and commissioned 26 June 1944, Captain G. A. McLean in command.  

 

Hamlin conducted shakedown drills off California until 16 August 1944 when she departed San Pedro for the Pacific. Arrived Pearl Harbor 24 August, the ship loaded aviation gasoline and supplies and got underway 29 August for Eniwetok. She unloaded cargo and passengers there and continued to recently won Saipan, arriving 11 September to take up her plane-tending duties. During this period, seaplanes tended by Hamlin were making important contributions to the Pacific fighting by engaging in reconnaissance, hunter-killer operations against submarines, and air coverage of fleet cripples. She moved to Ulithi 11 October and back to Saipan anchorage 29 December 1944, all the time continuing her vital support of plane operations. Hamlin's aircraft protected the cruisers Houston and Reno, damaged 14 October off Luzon and flew photographic missions and rescue flights as the Navy pressed home the ever-mounting attack on Japanese held territory.

 

The operation next on her schedule was Iwo Jima, necessary to safeguard lines of communication and provide a base from which fighters could protect B-29's in bombing missions over Japan. Hamlin proceeded 15 February to Guam for fuel oil and two days later departed for Iwo Jima. She arrived 2 days after this historic and bitterly contested landing had begun, and with two other tenders established a floating seaplane base from which search and rescue missions were performed.

 

Debris and off-shore gunfire prevented the establishment of the seadrome until 24 February, and Hamlin worked under the handicap of large swells and congestion of' the sea areas around Iwo Jima. The ship also experienced numerous air raids during this operation, but suffered no damage. She got underway for Saipan 8 March 1945 and after another voyage to Guam, she returned to prepare for the Okinawa operation and the largest seaplane tending job of the war.

 

Hamlin sailed 23 March from Saipan for Okinawa, the first step prior to the home islands in the long campaign across the Pacific. Her commander was designated Commander, Seaplane Base Groups. The tenders arrived Kerama Retto, west of Okinawa, 28 March, the day after it had been secured and 4 days before the main landings on Okinawa. During the Okinawa operation, Hamlin's planes provided long-range search, antisubmarine patrols, and airsea rescue services, even providing aviation gasoline and luboil to battleships and cruisers. Her work was performed amid nearly constant air attack by Japanese suicide planes, and, though many ships in the anchorage were damaged by repeated attacks, Hamlin fought off all attacks without injury.

 

The tender group shifted its base of operations to Chimu Wan Okinawa, 11 July, 1945.  At the time of the historic surrender was signed the U.S.S. Hamlin and Raymond D. Fox were anchored in Tokyo Bay.

 

After the surrender of Japan, Hamlin and other tenders got underway to assist in the occupation 16 August, anchoring in Yokosuka harbor 30 August. She began tending seaplanes on patrol over Japanese home waters 2 September.

 

Hamlin returned to California following a short period in Japan and decommissioned at San Diego 15 January 1947. She went to reserve with the San Diego Group and remained there until September 1962 when she was transferred to the Maritime Administration, under Navy ownership, and placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Calif. She was struck from the Navy List 1 July 1963.

 

Hamlin received three battle stars for service in World War II.

 

SOURCE:  Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships  

Compiled by Richard N. Fox
They Live Again
Email: 
foxes@gci.net



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