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The Battle of Samar – Taffy III at Leyte Gulf

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Robert Cox started writing about Taffy III in November 1992 after an ever-growing fascination with my great-uncle’s (Virgil Cox) service in World War II on the USS Gambier Bay (CVE 73), the Battle Off Samar, and U.S. naval history. The mission statement for his website is.  

  • To Honor the Missing in Action and Killed in Action, and Survivors who served aboard the thirteen ships and embarked composite squadrons of Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy III) on October 25, 1944. 

  • Aide survivors, their family members, and enthusiasts in their search for  information concerning loved ones, the men, and the battle.Support all Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy III) survivor associations by any means possible within my power.

  • Reunite “lost survivors” and their family members with their respective Taffy III survivors’ association.Promote the remembrance of the Battle Off Samar for future generations.

  • Promote the research of the Battle Off Samar.

  • Dedicated to being the single-greatest source of data concerning this battle on the internet.

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Mission Statement

The simple goal of NavSource Naval History is the preservation of naval history, in the form of images and text, also to help former shipmates find each other by providing reunion and contact information. We also hope to help historians and researchers find information and sources not previously available through private photo collections and records donated to us by former ships personnel. We also make available to everyone public images and records found scattered in various locations Indexed in one place for easy reference.


NavSource is not a business, it is a group of volunteers who are not paid for their time and efforts; we do it because we all share the same respect and love of naval history and through our efforts provide a free resource for the naval enthusiast that has been unavailable by other means.

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National Museum of the Pacific War

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The National Museum of the Pacific War is a dynamic, world-class experience designed for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. It is the only institution in the United States dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the Pacific Theater battles of World War II. 

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National Cemetery Administration

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Presidential Memorial Certificates 

A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. 

History – This program was initiated in March 1962 by Presidnet John F. Kennedy and has been continued by all subsequent Presidents. Statutory authority for the program is Section 112, Title 38, of the United States Code. 

Administration – The Department of Veterans Affairs administers the PMC Program by preparing the certificates which bear the current President’s signature expressing the country’s grateful recognition of the Veteran’s service in the United States Armed Forces. 

Eligibility – Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. More than one certificate may be provided. 

Dad Navy Photo

 Paul LaRocco crossed the bar in January 1991

Presidential Memorial Certificate

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National Personnel Records Center

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Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR), in St. Louis, MO, is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. NPRC (MPR) also stores medical treatment records of retirees from all services, as well as records for dependent and other persons treated at naval medical facilities. Copies of most military and medical records on file at NPRC (MPR), including the DD Form 214, Report of Separation (or equivalent) can be made available upon request. 

Veterans and “Next of Kin”: Veterans and next-of-kin of deceased veterans have the same rights to full access to the record. Next-of-kin are the un-remarried widow or widower, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran.

Authorized Representatives: Authorized third party requesters, e.g., lawyers, doctors, historians, etc., may submit requests for information from individual records with the veteran’s (or next of kin’s, for deceased veterans) signed and dated authorization. If you use a signed authorization, it should include exactly what you are authorizing to be released to the third party. Authorizations are valid one year from date of signature.

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Honor Flight Network

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Honor of our Veterans – Honor Flight Network is our way of paying a small tribute to those who gave so much – a memorable, safe, and rewarding TOUR OF HONOR!   Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices.  We transport our heroes to Washington, DC to visit and reflect at their memorials.  Top priority is given to our senior veterans – – World War II survivors.

Of all the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation and as a culturally diverse, free society.

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Honor Flight Network – – – Flags of Our Heroes 

The newest initiative of Honor Flight, conceived by Dave Bauer, a Vietnam Veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart, is “Flags of Our Heroes”. It is our desire to show the respect so richly deserved to our deceased veterans and their families. Even though they will never see their memorial, we want to provide the families with the opportunity to know that their family member was shown the highest regard and respect at their memorial.

In order to do this, Honor Flight would obtain from the family and/or friends of the deceased veteran, a 5 x 7 photo of the veteran and a copy of the obituary notice, if available. A flag of a deceased WWII Veteran has been donated and is taken along with your Veteran’s photo on one of our trips to the memorial in Washington, D.C. The flag, and photo would be placed in front of the memorial and a photo taken. The family would then receive an 8 x 10 photo and a certificate from Honor Flight honoring the veteran. All items taken to Washington would be returned to the family after the trip.

If you are interested in honoring a deceased veteran from your family in this way, please contact Honor Flight at their telephone at (937) 521-2400 for additional information.

Dad - Flags of Our Hereos - Certificate

Dad - Flags of Our Hereos - Photo

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Escort Carrier Sailors and Airmen Association (ECSAA)

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Not until 1991, 46 years after the end of the War, was an association formed to represent all CVEs of World War II and Korea.  The Association was named the Escort Carrier Sailors and Airmen Assocition, Inc., and is usually referred to as ECSAA.   

Today ECSAA has over 2,400 members and instead of diminishing in size as most WWII veterans groups, its membership continues to grow at a healthy annual rate.  

ECSAA’s Board of Governors handles the business affairs of the association, publishes a highly popular bi-monthly newspaper, The Piper, holds annual conventions in various cities where CVE sailors and airmen and their families meet to visit with old shipmates, make new friends, and recount their days of service aboard the little aircraft carriers which contributed so much to the nation’s victory during the war.  

One of ECSAA’s goals is to carry out programs to educate current and future generations of the vital role the CVEs played during the war. The story of the escort carriers has never been told. During the War, the nation’s press rarely made mention of the CVEs, and their outstanding record of service in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of war.

Escort Carrier - 1

Escort Carrier - 2

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The Veterans Heritage Project

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We are a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to connecting students with veterans in order to record and preserve the stories of their service to our nation in the US Library of Congress for future generations. The program though is more than a history preservation project. VHP offers students an opportunity to learn history from primary sources and skills in communication, writing, technology and project management. It enables them to achieve a new sense of purpose, whether in their daily school activities, pursuit of higher education and choices in careers.

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Witness to War

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The Witness to War Foundation is a non-profit (501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving the stories and unique experiences of combat veterans.  It was founded in an attempt to answer the unanswerable:  What was it like to be there?

These are the stories of scared 18 and 19 year olds thrust into circumstances of such intensity and violence, that they became the defining moments of their lives

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Golden Arrow Military Research

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We specialize in the research of individual veterans of WWI, WWII, the Korean War and other conflicts. We can trace the steps of individual U.S. Veterans to show you where they were and what they did during their military service. If you are hoping to discover what your father or grandfather did during the war, we can find you the Military Service Records that will show you exactly what they did during the war. Our military research specialists are on-site at the National Archives and can locate a wide variety of records for you.

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Quilts of Valor Foundation

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The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

Thank you to San Diego Quilts of Valor for providing 55 quilts to all survivors in attendance for the Taffy III reunion memorial service aboard the USS Midway on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

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World Conflicts – Personal Stories

Throughout history, millions of courageous men and women have served and protected their country in times of conflict. Were your ancestors among them? It’s never been easier to find out on, the world’s largest online collection of family history resources, including millions of military records spanning from before the Revolutionary War all the way up to Vietnam.

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