Last Known Activity|
USS Kidd (DD-661)
Kidd sailed 19 February 1945, to join Task Force 58 (TF 58) for the invasion of Okinawa. Trained and battlewise, Kidd played a key role during the first days of the Okinawa campaign, screening battleships, bombarding key targets ashore, rescuing downed pilots, sinking floating mines, providing early warning of raids, guarding heavily damaged Franklin (CV-13), and shooting down kamikazes.
While on picket station 11 April 1945, Kidd and her division mates, USS Black, USS Bullard, and USS Chauncey, with the help of Combat Air Patrol, repelled three air raids. That afternoon a single enemy plane crashed into Kidd, killing 38 men and wounding 55. As the destroyer headed south to rejoin the task group, her effective fire drove off enemy planes trying to finish her.
JACK LEE WALSH
Born on April 04, 1922, to parents James E. and Marvel Guthrie Walsh, Jack Lee Walsh grew up in the small village of Elmore, Ohio, in Ottawa County near Toledo and the shores of Lake Erie. It is known as "America's Hometown" and boasted a population of 1,500 even eighty years after his birth.
Not much is known of Jack's family life except that prior to his birth, his father had served in the Army between 1910 and 1919. Along with his sister, Kathryn Walsh Beck, Jack attended Harris Elmore High School, graduating from there in 1940. During his search for photos of our lost crew members, researcher Richard Ammon even located a grade card for Jack's senior year.
On November 18, 1942, Walsh enlisted with the Navy and was sent to Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois for boot camp. He reported aboard the KIDD on July 04, 1943, at Norfolk, Virginia. His last visit home occurred in January of 1945 while the ship underwent an overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard near San Francisco. Up to this point in time, he had seen six major invasions in the Pacific. Okinawa would be his last. When the kamikaze struck the KIDD on April 11, 1945, and pierced the hull, Jack—a Watertender 2nd class—was killed at his post in the forward fireroom. Initially listed as Missing In Action, his body was later discovered in the fireroom's wreckage during recovery operations there. He was buried at sea along with his shipmates at 1100 on Sunday, April 15, 1945, at 10.0 N latitude, 139-50 E longitude as the KIDD was en route back to Ulithi Atoll from the front lines. His body surfaced, however, and so Jack was interred on Asor Island at Ulithi Atoll until the end of the war.
When contacted by the War Department, Jack's mother declined to have him buried in Arlington Cemetery outside of Washington, D.C., asking instead that he be returned to Elmore. Sadly, neither of his parents would live to see him brought home again. Mr. Walsh died on November 26, 1947, at the age of 59. Mrs. Walsh passed away the following year in 1948. Jack's sister, Kathryn, now living in Willow Run, Michigan, would see that her mother's final wishes were fulfilled.
Jack Walsh was returned home and laid to rest at Union Cemetery in Elmore, Ohio, with the graveside services conducted by American Legion Post 279, the same post in which his father had served as commander and as chaplain for two and three years respectively. Jack was one of two KIDD crew members lost on April 11, 1945, who would eventually return home for burial, the second being Charles N. Allwhite. A 1948 newpaper article reported that the United States flag was presented to Walsh's only immediate surviving family member—his sister, Kathryn—during the service.
Years later during his search, researcher Richard Ammon would locate Walsh's niece, Sue Beck Ziegler, and his first cousin, Bill Hetrick. But it was Jack's girlfriend, Sue Yost Loucks, who was able to provide a photo to include in the display of the KIDD's lost shipmates. Mrs. Loucks loved to play piano, and for years Jack's photo resided on the piano in her home. Sue always kept a fresh rose placed beside it, and it wasn't until her first child was born that she finally put Jack's photo away.