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.
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
Asiatic Pacific Ribbon (with 2 stars)
HISTORY OF THE U.S.S. HAMLIN
after a sound on the coast of South Carolina, north of Charleston
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
received three battle stars for service in World War II.
of American Naval Fighting Ships
Richard N. Fox
Web design by Richard Fox