Friday, November 19, 2021

Fullbore Friday

 So, how was your command tour? Think you accomplished a lot?

Benchmarks? Yes, we have benchmarks.
Made a commander on November 1, he was the commanding officer of USS Laffey during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The ship was struck by an 8-inch shell, which did not explode. 
Laffey broke up an attack by German E-boats on June 12 and bombarded Cherbourg on June 25. Becton was awarded a second Silver Star for his actions in June. 
Transferred back to the Pacific Theater, he received his third Silver Star for his handling of Laffey in support of the landing of the 77th Division at Ormoc Bay, Leyte, the Philippines, on December 7, 1944. 
His fourth was for entering the "restricted waters of Lingayen Gulf during the initial bombardment and assault at Luzon" in January 1945. In February, Laffey escorted aircraft carriers in airstrikes against Tokyo.

On April 16, 1945, Laffey came under attack from 22 or 30 Japanese kamikaze and bomber aircraft while on radar picket duty off Okinawa. 
In a battle lasting 79 minutes, the ship was struck by five, six or eight kamikazes and two bombs, but Becton refused to abandon his ship. For his "unremitting tenacity of purpose, courageous leadership and heroic devotion to duty under fire", he was awarded the Navy Cross. 
The ship had to be towed to Seattle.
Rear Admiral Frederick Becton, USN - mensch.

Will someone please tell me why we do not have a DDG-51 named after this man? 

OK, if not the man - then can we at least have another LAFFEY, the book Becton wrote a loving tribute to in The Ship That Would Not Die?

You would think, after the above, that she would have never steamed under her own power again. Well, you'd be wrong. She was decommissioned in '47, but was brought back for the Korean War.

The lady could not stay out of trouble;
Although frequently subjected to hostile fire in Wonsan Harbor while embarked in his flagship, the U.S.S. LAFFEY, Captain Whiteside conducted a series of daring counterbattery duels with the enemy and was greatly instrumental in the success achieved by his ship.
She continued to serve until 1975.

Next time you see her when driving around Charleston, give her a nod.

First posted April 2015.

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