Watching his first kamikaze attacks was a thrilling and terrifying experience for an ensign recently transferred from the Atlantic to the Pacific theater.
I'll never forget the meeting. It was the first week in December 1944, and I was an ensign on board the USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570). Commander H. W. Baker, commanding officer of the Fletcher -class destroyer, had called all the officers to the wardroom. He started off by announcing that the U.S. invasion of Mindoro, one of the Philippine Islands, was to take place on about 15 December. He then explained that the Ausburne would not be involved in the assault landings but would probably be called on to convoy the first resupply echelon a few days later. "There will be more excitement on this trip," he predicted, "than there will be in the landings."