Mariners and Armed Guard Together at the Guns

SS Francisco Morazon's Guns Fire 10 Tons of Ammunition at Japanese Planes. Get Critical Cargo of Bombs to Mindoro

 

Odlin - Maritime

 PR-226l (W)

WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION
Washington

Advance Release for

 Issued and Released

Monday Morning Papers

 Through Facilities of the

May 14, 1945

 Office of War Information

Radio Release:

 7 PM, EWT, Sunday, May 13

Despite repeated Japanese air attacks the Liberty ship FRANCISCO MORAZAN succeeded in landing 10,000 tons of critically needed ammunition for American forces on Mindoro, Philippine Islands and is back at a West Coast port for general overhaul, the War Shipping Administration reported today. Close co-operation between the merchant crew and the Navy Armed Guard resulted in several of the attacking planes being shot down, the performance winning official citation by the commanding general ashore to whose men, the ammunition was consigned.

The FRANCISCO MORAZAN was the only one of four Liberty ships in a convoy that succeeded in completing the voyage from Leyte to Mindoro several weeks ago without being sunk or damaged. How the feat was accomplished is described by Lieut. John J. Hartley, USNR, commander of the armed guard.

"If it hadn't been for the unceasing alertness of my men and wonderful cooperation from the merchant crew we could never have made it. We fired an awful lot of ammunition, about ten tons, all of which the merchant seamen passed to us.

"The way I figure is that we just threw so much stuff at the Japs they couldn't get through. The men never left their gun positions from the time we sailed from Leyte until we arrived off Mindoro 72 hours later. There just wasn't any chance to relax because we were having an alert practically every hour. On the way we knocked down six planes and hit three others.

"Strangely enough, our closest call came during an 'all clear.' An American fighter had shot up a Jap plane, which was in flames, and headed straight for us. It certainly looked as if our number was up; if it ever hit us we'd have gone up before anybody knew what had happened. But just as it seemed it was going to land on us its course was diverted, by an internal explosion and it passed over us. It was so close portions of its tail fell on our deck."

From headquarters of the Western Visayan Task Force, Brig. Gen. W. C. Dunckel, USA, sent this citation:

"I desire to commend Capt. John J. Brady, his officers and crew of the SS FRANCISCO MORAZAN for outstanding performance of duty during their stay in this area. The FRANCISCO MORAZAN, with a cargo of bombs and other ammunition, maintained full efficiency and a well-disciplined ship's and gun crew despite its perilous cargo."

Captain Brady's home is in New Orleans. The FRANCISCO MORAZAN named in honor of a Honduran patriot, was built at the Richmond, Calif., shipyard of the Permanente Metals Corporation, being launched January 18, 1944. She is operated for the War Shipping Administration by the Isthmian Steamship Company,. New York.

Other members of the FRANCISCO MORAZAN's crew during her perilous task at Mindoro and next of kin:

Andrew W. Haslan, chief officer, wife, Portland, Ore.
Erling Walle, second mate, Narvik, Norway
George E. Henesey, third mate, Conneaut, Ohio
LeRoy F. Kortune, radio operator, wife, Hollywood., Calif.
Robert J. Burns, purser, wife, San Francisco, Calif.
Ramon C. Rodriguez, carpenter, mother, San Francisco, Calif.
Warren C. Rose, able seaman, aunt, Palo Alto, Calif.
William F. Mulvey, able seaman, wife, Detroit, Mich.
Dennis E. Sullivan, able seaman, wife, San Pedro, Calif.
Denetreol Emanoel, able seaman, Annapolis, Md.
Harold L. William, ordinary seaman, mother, Lafayette, Ore.
William A. Van Cleve, ordinary seaman, mother, La Pryor, Texas
Leland M. Foote, chief engineer, mother, Bath, N. Y.
Walter R. Blake, first assistant engineer, mother, Los Angeles, Calif.
Gilbert A. O'Grady, second assistant engineer, wife, Ione, Calif.
Anthony J. Cass, substitute third assistant engineer, wife, San Francisco, Calif.
Stanley Broullett, oiler, wife, Minneapolis, Minn.
Robert J. Reed, machinist, wife, Oroville, Calif.
Fred W. Berkopec, oiler, mother, Geneva, Ohio
James P. Campion, fireman-watertender, father, Minneapolis, Minn.
Donald M. Vogel, fireman-watertender, mother, Dallas, Texas
Victor V. White, fireman-watertender, Webb City, Mo.
Hurley D. Tucker, Jr., fireman-watertender, mother, Long Beach, Calif.
John B. McElfresh, wiper, mother, Venice, Calif.
Clair W. DuWalt, junior engineer, mother, Tiffin, Ohio
August Schmidt, chief steward, wife, Las Vegas, Nevada
Julio B. Pelias, chief cook,wife, San Francisco, Calif.
Catalino V. Benigin, second cook, daughter, San Francisco, Calif.
Herbert E. Hunt, utility, Folsom, Calif.
Russell G. Smith, messman, father, Dallas, Texas
Jay W. Street, messman, Palacos, Texas
Bryan H. Siler, messman, Oakland, Calif.
Marcus P. Isbert, utility, San Francisco, Calif.

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