Pacific ‘Gem’s’ Rescue Role
Commander Thomas “Duke” Wayne, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)
Please pass along to James M. Scott, author of “Terror & Triumph at Lingayen Gulf” (October, pp. 36–41), my appreciation for his enlightening article. It was heartening for me to read additional details of a battle in which my father was engaged while on board the light cruiser USS Columbia (CL-56), nicknamed “Gem of the Pacific.”
Of interest to me were the quotes from Chaplain Arthur Anderson, who had been rescued by the “Gem” from the sinking Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) on 4 January 1945. The description in the Columbia’s 1942–45 cruise book begins by recounting the arrival on board of 6 officers and 112 enlisted survivors (17 of them urgently in need of medical attention) from the Ommaney Bay. After reading Scott’s article and rereading my father’s cruise book, I was struck by just how intense the first ten days of January 1945 were for Task Groups 77.2 and 77.4.