Courtesy of Frank Morrison
Silver Star Purple Hearts
This is a brief account and two pictures of James M. LaPointe. Added to "The Honored Dead" section on the website.On the morning of April 16, 1945, 21 year old Coxswain James W. LaPointe from South Dakota was a gunner in Mount 53 aboard the USS Laffey. He and the rest of the Mount 53 crew fought feverishly to stop the onslaught of suicide attackers. The number seven Kamikaze, a Japanese VAL was hit by one of 53's five inch guns, altering it's path. Instead of a direct hit the VAL grazed the mount causing a gasoline fire and exploding fragments witch wounded James M. LaPointe and Calvin Cloer. Cloer was sent for treatment, but LaPointe stayed at his station refusing treatment. The number ten attacker another VAL rammed the starboard part of Mount 53 killing Chester Flint. Shortly after at 8:47 am the eleventh suicide bomber, a VAL or JUDY hit Mount 53 directly, it's bomb blew up killing six including James M. LaPointe. After being wounded previously James LaPointe stayed at his station to defend his shipmates, his ship and his country. For his sacrifice that day he was awarded two purple hearts and the SILVER STAR.