A Request for help from an Original Plankholder

Ken Loewecke is an original Plankholder and he is looking for some help.  Below
is an account of an incident that happened while Big J was anchored at Ulithi on December 23, 1944.  He'd like to know if anyone has a picture of the damage that occurred to the ship that day.  Ken recently visited the ship in Camden but he
wasn't able to see any evidence of the repairs he made that day.  If you can help,
please send me an e-mail and I'll get you in touch with Ken who lives in Illinois.  
To send me an e-mail, click

Safe at Last!  Or are We?

After some time at sea we anchored at Ulithi.  Our ship had survived a typhoon five days before, so we had seen a bit of sea action.  When we dropped anchor the day before Christmas Eve 1944, it was a relief to all hands on board.  While walking the main deck aft, I heard a hissing sound and saw a puff of dust coming from the main deck about 60 feet from where I was standing.  Everyone started to run for cover, including myself.  A destroyer nearby was target practicing and firing toward the harbor,  Thank goodness this five-inch shell was a DUD.  It went through the main deck and landed in the head where there were 20 to 30 men showering, shaving, etc.  Unfortunately, one sailor lost his leg.  Being on duty at the time, I worked all night welding a steel plate in the opening in the deck.

If the shell had exploded, it would have been a sad Christmas for many men and their families.  I'm sure the Lord was looking out for the sailors aboard the USS New Jersey!  BB-62, which never took enemy fire.


Line Drawing of Big J

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Last updated on February 25, 2010.