Best Friends CO, Marine Detachment, Major Elliott
MGSgt Winfred Kiser
Pfc. Steve Nowak
Pfc. Andy Traus
Pfc. Mike Cunningham
Pfc. Woody Franklin
Pfc. Lloyd Charnstrom
Best Moment Rescue from life raft by DD 674, USS Hunt.
I was standing watch on 40mm quad mount #14 on the port side of the ship when the Japanese dive bomber hit us with 2 500-pound bombs. Since smoke and debris was coming down on us, we abandoned the mount and went aft on a catwalk just below flight-deck level. I was preparing to go down a line to the water when a 20mm ready service room exploded behind me, blowing me away from the ship. I was guided by one of our pilots to an empty life raft---he kept flying over me and pointing me in the right direction. During five hours on the raft, I picked up another Marine, Andy Trauss, two sailors, and two pilots. We were finally rescued by the USS Hunt DD 674, which we rode back to Ulithi where I rejoined the Franklin.
Worst Moment 19 Narch 1945. Ship was hit off coast of Japan by Jap bomber, 2 direct hits with 500 lb. bombs. I was blown off the ship by an explosion and spent 5 hours on a life raft.