Andrew L Foreman (DE 633) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 2005

Page 22 of 50

 

Andrew L Foreman (DE 633) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 2005 Edition, Page 22 of 50
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Andrew L Foreman (DE 633) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 2005 Edition, Page 21
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Page 22 text:

The Okinawa Campaign Departing Ulithi Atoll on the 21st of Nlarch, and sortie-ing with the other ships of Task Force 54, the Foreman was at last on her mettle. For her Commanding Officer told the crew that her goal was Okinawa Jima in the Ryukyu Islands, a mere 325 miles south of the main Japanese islands. "This will either be a push-over, or the worst thing we've been through," Comdr Carey told his men. How prophetic his words were to be, not one member of his crew fully appreciated. On the 23'd of March, the Foreman fueled for the first time at sea from a battleship, more were to follow. The men thrilled at the gigantic war machine which they were guarding against underwater attack, and knew that with the many other similar battleships and cruisers in the group, that the Navy this time meant business. At dawn on the 25th of March, Task Force 54 arrived at Okinawa Jima and was surprised to encounter no enemy opposition. This was to come later. The entire day of the 25th passed uneventfully, and the Task Force retired from the immediate area of Okinawa at night. Still no enemy opposition appeared, and nothing of significance occurred. The crew was sure that this could not last. They were right. On the 26th of March, while attached to a fire support unit covering attacks on Tonachi Shima, the Foreman witnessed the first air raid she was to see at Okinawa. A fire was observed in the immediate vicinity, but no enemy planes approached her formation. The day did not pass quietly, however, for at 0746, after search planes from a cruiser near-by had sighted underwater targets, the DE was ordered to make attack. lt loosed depth charge patterns, and circled to make ramming attack on contact. As the distance closed between the target and the Foreman's bow, her crew braced themselves for the jarring shock of the collision. Tension ran high as the PA system sounded, "ZOO feet," "1OO feet," "50 feet," "2O feet." The ship trembled as she approached her flank speed. "Any second now," men were saying in low, hushed, worried tones. lvlingled regret and happy relief ran thru the crew when it was discovered that the "target" was nothing more than a huge Japanese blackfish. Still more action was observed in the afternoon of that second day at Okinawa when a sudden raid warning was received and anti-aircraft fire was observed from other formations close-by. But still no enemy aircraft approached the Foreman's group. The night passed without significant events.

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return to the United States. Events negating this happyjuncture, she returned to Manus on February Gm. ' After a few days at anchor, the Foreman was again undenlvay. Her orders read Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands, and the crew read between the lines and realized that this was the end to rear area duty for her. This time they back in the fight. On the 20th of February she returned to lVlanus for replenishment, joined again with her sister ship, the USS England, and together they sailed to Ulithi, saying goodbye to Manus Island forever. Their new base was just then assuming a tremendous role in the last step of the war- the strikes against the Jap homeland, and all about her, the Foreman saw bustling activity, and felt the thrill of knowing that she, too, was to play her part in the crushing of the Nip empire. On all sides, she saw the might of the U.S. Navy drawn together, and knew that big things were afoot. Here, at last, she was the "fighting Navy." From now on, the destinies of the Foreman were to be closely allied with those of the Fifth Fleet, the striking fleet of one of the leaders of the Naval war, Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. T Arriving on the 5th of lVlarch at the nerve center of future attacks on Japan, the Foreman knew she was through with merchant escorting and other "rear area" tasks. Now she was with the "heavies" and that meant action. This conception was not wrong, for after a few days, at Ulithi, and another brief period at Palau, and a one-day trip to Pelelieu, the Foreman was ordered to rush back to the Ulithi and there was ordered to join Task Force 54, composed of battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and one or two other destroyer escorts. The orders left no doubt. This was BIG! f



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The Morning of March 27 On the morning of March 275 the Foreman went to General Quarters at dawn, alert to air raids. She was not disappointed, for at 0620, enemy bombers were sighted releasing their deadly missiles in the vicinity. At 0623, three enemy aircraft attacked the formation, and two directly attacked the Foreman, an identified Val tJap dive bomberl approached dead astern, and closed steadily, passing over the stern amid a thick wall of anti-aircraft fire from the Foreman's automatic guns, and 3" cannon. Accompanying vessels also were firing on this attacker, which passed within 15 feet of many of the Foreman's crew at their battle stations. The Val crashed close-aboard the starboard bow of the Foreman, carrying the forward life-line, and leaving heavy scratches on the hull. Meanwhile, an identified Tony tJap fighterl attacked an escorted cruiser, was shot down by anti-aircraft fire from the Foreman and the cruiser, and crashed 500 feet on the Foreman's beam. One casualty, a member of the ship's No. 1 repair party, and ammunition party was injured seriously as a result of the debris and shrapnel being thrown from the crashing Val. No more attacks occurred during the remainder of the 27th of March. On the 28th, at 1425, the Foreman rescued an American pilot from the sea, who had survived a plane crash close-by an escort cruiser. ln accordance with the custom in vogue among Navy ships, the Foreman received icecream for her crew from the cruiser. The 29th saw four enemy aircraft being brought down with the Foreman's formation, though none directly attacked her. The 30th was comparatively peaceful, with only one air raid alert being sounded. The 31st of March was marked by the approach into the formation of one enemy aircraft. Other ships opened fire, but the plane was outside the range of the Foreman's batteries. The remainder of the day passed uneventfully. By now, the foreman had come to know the real meaning of "Flash Red," the first of which she had experienced back in 1944. As she steamed back and forth those last five days of March, screening against enemy submarines, she knew she was doing her part in this campaign, for the heavy ships she was protecting were even then bombarding the Hagushi beaches in preparation for the landing on Love Day.

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