Callaghan Vets Remember Their Comrads During Reunion - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/20/03

Callaghan Vets Remember Their Comrads During Reunion

Old pictures and memories of these crew members are all that's left of the destroyer USS Callaghan. Ironically, the crew had just been told they were coming home on the same day the ship was attacked by a kamikaze pilot off the island of Okinawa in the Pacific.

It was July 29, 1945, the day before Wilfred Wallace's 19th birthday.

"They had all that explosion. I thought the Japanese were helping celebrate my birthday," Wallace jokes.

The men were ordered to abandon the sinking ship. Wallace went overboard without a life jacket. His friend Chet Anderson helped him stay afloat.

"We went over the side and hung around in the water until we were picked up by the other destroyer, covered with oil," Anderson says.

The other destroyer was one of several ships in the area that picked up the men after they spent many hours in the water.

Crew member Leo Jarboe says, "I was with the chief gunners mate and the two of us was right there together and we figured we were gonna make it but we didn't know when."

50 of their fellow sailors didn't make it. In the years since their military service, the crew gets together to catch up on each others lives and to remember those who didn't come home.

Michael Novelli says, "Proud more than anything else. Just proud to be one of 'em."

Novelli's friends share those feelings as they fondly remember their military service.

byMarcia Hill

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