USS Gambier Bay Sinking – 1944
By: Joseph E. McQuade
I first boarder the USS Gambier Bay 73 in September 1943 leaving my wife Joan behind to destination in the Pacific Ocean, only God had knowledge.
At 23 it felt like a life time away till I would see land once more. They kept us busy preparing for anything to come our way.
The morning of October 25,1944 we were awaken to the barrage of 8″ shells from the Japanese heavy cruisers.
First it was the forward engine to be taken out slowing the Gambier Bay although the battle was only hours it felt like days. The rear engine was taken out.
Somewhere around 9:00 am the ship started listing dead in the water when the order came down to vacate before the ship had sunk.
Jumping starboard my friend Fred Yeoman and I hit the water. With no raft we swam and swam, searching anything to climb aboard.Soon enough a giant wave reached me high enough to locate a floating raft loaded with wounded on the wooden floor. So I grabbed on to a rope and held fast, 3 nights and 4 days of no food or water till finally rescued climbing the mesh. To this day I don’t remember what my answer was!
I returned home for a week with my wife Joan for Christmas. Then stationed in San Francisco till my discharge, November 1945. I’ll never forget that day I lost several fellow sailors and pilots friends.
Today I am 91 and going strong with wife Joan, daughters Jo Ann, Mary, sons Ron, Richard, Joe, Jr., Past But Not Forgotten: William and Michael, 11 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and “1” great-great granddaughter “Aubrey”.
When my son-in-law said I have a story that needs to be told, as Col. Oliver North would say. So my story written by Harold Herrington, the one, the only “Dinkiedow”!
And I approve, AM3 Joseph E. McQuade, Sr.
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(Click on link below for video – Tarry III / Dragons off Samar)
Joseph crossed the bar in December 2013