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William McCarthy

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 28, 1925 Escanaba, MI
Date and Place of Death:    May 4, 1945 off Okinawa
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Unknown
Rank: Seaman First Class
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

William R. McCarthy was born on August 28, 1925 in Escanaba, Michigan. He attended Escanaba High School where he played football, basketball and track, playing baseball with local teams.

McCarthy graduated from high school in 1944 and entered service with the navy in March. Following boot camp at Farragut, Idaho, he attended radio school at Treasure Island, California, and gunnery school, also in California. On Decemebr 27, 1944, Seaman First Class McCarthy left for overseas duty serving aboard the Gleaves-class destroyer USS Gwin (DM-330), a flagship of Mine Squadron 3.

On May 4, 1945, while on radar picket station off Okinawa, the destroyer was attacked by Japanese kamikaze planes. The ship’s official report describes the events of that evening:

“Combat Air Patrol reported eight to 10 enemy planes to port, and Gwin swung her batteries to face the enemy. Suddenly a second contingent of planes swept in out of the setting sun to starboard. Gwin swung her guns around just in time and two of the attackers splashed into the sea. Whirling to port, the gun crews fired into the original attack group and accounted for three more kamikazes.

"The sea had not yet closed over these three planes when a sixth, another kamikaze, crashed Gwin. Two men were killed, two missing and 11 injured as the suicide plane embedded itself into Gwin's aft 40mm platform. Then, as damage control parties rushed to quell the fires raging around the kamikaze, the Japanese attack ended as suddenly as it had begun.

"In less than six hectic, heroic minutes, Gwin, although under attack from all quarters, had downed five Japanese planes and been herself damaged by the sixth.”

William McCarthy was originally listed as missing after the attack. His status was later changed to killed in action.

Source
Escanaba Daily Press – October 1, 2011

Date Added May 9, 2013

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