Pepoon, R.S., F1c

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Last Rank
Fireman 1st Class
Last Primary NEC
F1c-0000-Fireman 1st Class
Last Rating/NEC Group
Fireman First Class
Primary Unit
1944-1945, F1c-0000, USS Aaron Ward (DM-34)
Service Years
1944 - 1945
Fireman 1st Class

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home Country
United States
United States
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Pepoon, R.S., F1c.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
May 03, 1945
Hostile, Died
Other Explosive Device
World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  2017, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

 Duty Stations
US Navy
  1944-1945, F1c-0000, USS Aaron Ward (DM-34)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
In Tribute to the Brave sailors of the USS AARON WARD (DM 34) O'er the blue Pacific The day was bright and fair-- But in their hearts, the brave men knew That death was waiting there. Into the quiet of evening The enemy came to kill-- And when they left, they left behind So many, cold and still. On picket patrol on Station Ten The Aaron Ward was found, And as the Japs came hurling by She fought back round by round. O, Death, O Death--! This thou sting! Out of the sun the kamikazes came, Certain death on glinting wings! Into the gloam of evening, Into the homesick hearts, The Angel of Death came roaring, Never, ah never, to depart! The Devil's Angel's, when they came, Turned the ship to blazing hell-- Tired and weary, sick of death, Still, she stood brave and fought back well. Early in the morning, she limped into the port, Sounds of mourning filled the air, for hymns the mates did wail, Her victory was costly, her toll was dread and dear, But as history records, she in valor, did not fail. So many like the Aaron Ward, Their stories go untold, And we today, do honor them, Our warriors as so bold. Beverly Hearn Cook
The USS AARON WARD (DM 34) began her life as a destroyer, but was re-designated and refitted as a destroyer-minelayer. She was commissioned in October 28, 1944 in San Pedro, California. On May 3, 1945 she was on Picket Patrol duty, about 70 miles off the coast of Okinawa. Her task was to prevent Japanese aircraft from reaching the American ships and troops fighting for control of the island. At dusk, she was attacked by a swarm Japanese aircraft, most of them bombers. The Kamikazes, the "divine wind", were suicide aircraft. The pilots were trained only how to take off, navigate to the target, and which part of an American ship to aim for. On that day, their target was Radar Picket Station 10 which was patrolled by the USS AARON WARD and the USS LITTLE; along with several "small boys." The LITTLE took 3 direct hits, and sank. Meanwhile, the USS AARON WARD was fighting for her life. Although she shot down many of the kamikazes, six of them penetrated her defenses to crash into her deck. Two of them were still carrying bombs. The action lasted less than an hour, she was settling into the sea, her steering was knocked out and she was without power. It seemed she must break apart and sink, but her captain and crew had other plans. Most of her lifeboats were smashed, and the rest were needed for the wounded "just in case". The main deck, starboard side aft, was ankle-deep awash. The guns were powered by by hand. Fires raged on her deck from the gasoline of the kamikazes and exploding ammunition. Forty-two men were dead or dying. The log entry reads simply: "Ship refused to sink." Although she managed to steam, on one engine, from Kerama Retto to Brooklyn Navy Yard (from east of Tokyo, Japan to New York City) the war ended just as her repairs had begun. Her damage was so extensive that the Navy elected to scrap her rather than continue the repair. She was decommissioned October 28, 1945, and eventually scrapped.
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