Message Three (11-28-1944)
Comments by Ari Phoutrides
Here is a haunting one. It was sent from the USS Cooper (DD 695) who was observing our gunnery
practice in the Pacific. Take note that the message was sent on November 28. Barely legible in the bottom
right hand corner, Cdr Becton wrote "In Pacific enroute to join fleet after a good gunnery practice."
I say this is a haunting message because 5 days later, the Cooper was sunk at Ormoc Bay
by the Japanese destroyer Take. She sunk in one minute with the loss of 191 lives.
A few hours later, the Laffey was part of the task force that supported
the landings in Ormoc Bay. The survivors had quite a story to tell.
It still puzzles me why the Navy sent just two destroyers
on that mission the night before the invasion.
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