Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon
The USS Sigsbee (DD-502) had served well in the war with Japan, downing 20 enemy aircraft while screening the carriers in their march across the Pacific. But on 14 April 1945, while serving on the destroyer radar picket line off Okinawa, it seemed her successful career was about to end. As the Japanese tried to turn the tide of war by preventing the loss of Okinawa, they attacked the U.S. invasion force with hundreds of kamikazes. One of the kamikazes evaded the curtain of antiaircraft fire thrown up by the Sigsbee and the other ships in the area and crashed into the destroyer aft of her number five gun. Twenty-three sailors perished in the explosion, and Sigsbee ’s port engine was knocked out of commission. She lost steering control from the bridge and soon her main deck was awash, leaving the ship sinking and capable of only five knots. To make matters worse, more attackers swarmed in.