Thomas Hogan Lt. (j.g.), Naval Aviator on board the USS Sangamon, CVE-26, Battle of Leyte Gulf
October 12, 2009
I have again recently visited and reviewed your wonderful site, Mac's WebLog. You have on display the finest charts I have seen for the complex 4-day affair routinely called the battle of Leyte Gulf. I have a personal interest in this subject, as my father ws a Naval Aviator on board the USS Sangamon, CVE-26, and was with Taffy 1 at the time. I have made a long personal search for anything I could find about him and/or his ship's involvement during that period of time; my best surmise is that he was either covering the landings at Leyte per se, or may have been involved in CAP or pursuit when the Southern Force retreated. He never spoke at all of any of his experiences. The Sangamon was knocked out of service on 4 May 1945 at 1730 hours, off Okinawa, when she was struck by a 500 lb (220kg) bomb, followed a second later by the aircraft that dropped it. The subsequent explosion and fires took 4 hours to contain. All Dad ever said was "Lord...we didn't think we were gonna make it." The Sangamon never returned to battle, and her aviators and others were transferred to the Chenango.
Should you be interested in more on the escort carriers, there is a book titled 'The Little Giants: U.S. Escort Carriers Against Japan". The author is William T. Y'Blood. (yes, that's the spelling, not a typo.) Another book (which I have read 3 times) is Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, by James Hornfischer; a great chronicle of Taffy One holding off Center Force. You WILL get chills at their valor.
My father passed away in September of 2007, at age 83. Small world, however. In the St. Louis airport on my return to home here in Manchester, NH, I encountered a man I had met on the way to my parents' home in St. Louis. This man was a Fleet Marine who served on board the USS Montpelier, CL-57. Fleet Marines manned 20mm AA guns. This gentleman told me, that off Okinawa, May 1945, the Montpelier was out of all ammunition EXCEPT 20mm, and a cloud of kamikazes were headed their way. This man told me that 75 Naval and Marine aviators appeared on the scene and "...blew these people away." My father could have been one of those aviators that had that man's back that day.
The stories our fathers have never told us.!! May we NEVER forget what they sacrificed, that we might live as we do. Thank you for telling yours, for the wonderful website ...and allowing me to take some of your time to tell a bit of the story that I know.
With Highest Regards,
Thank you for adding to the Leyte story and for your kind comments about AHOY, an amalgam of my research, and
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