Lynch, Jack, ENS

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Ensign
Last Primary NEC
116X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare (In Training)
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1942-1943, 116X, USS Helena (CL-50)
Service Years
1941 - 1943
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Shellback
Order of the Golden Dragon
Ensign
Ensign

 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 Lynch, Jack, ENS.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Jul 06, 1943
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Other Explosive Device
Location
Solomon Islands
Conflict
World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Kula Gulf
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Pearl Harbor Memorial Medallion Order of the Golden Dragon


 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United StatesUnited States Navy Cruiser Sailors AssociationMilitary Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1941, Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States - Assoc. Page
  1943, United States Navy Cruiser Sailors Association
  1945, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

 
 Duty Stations
Commander Navy Reserve Forces Command (COMNAVRESFORCOM)USS Helena (CL-50)
  1941-1943, 116X, Commander Navy Reserve Forces Command (COMNAVRESFORCOM)
  1942-1943, 116X, USS Helena (CL-50)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Cape Esperance (Second Savo)
  1942-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)
  1943-1943 World War II
  1943-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Georgia Campaign (1943)
  1943-1943 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Kula Gulf
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

                                 FINAL DUTY ASSIGNMENT

                                  U.S.S. Helena (CL-50)

   
Comments/Citation

Helena's history closes with the almost incredible story of what happened to her men in the hours and days that followed. When her bow rose into the air after the sinking, many of them clustered around it, only to be fired on there. About a half hour after she sank, two American destroyers came to the rescue.


At daylight, the enemy was in range once more, and again the destroyers, Nicholas (DD-449) and Radford (DD-446), broke off their rescue operations to pursue. Anticipating an air attack, the destroyers withdrew for Tulagi, carrying with them all but about 275 of the survivors. To those who remained they left four boats, manned by volunteers from the destroyers' crews. Captain C. P. Cecil, Helena's commanding officer, organized a small flotilla of three motor whaleboats, each towing a liferaft, carrying 88 men to a small island about 7 miles from Rice Anchorage after a laborious all-day passage. This group was rescued the next morning by Owin (DD-433) and Woodworth (DD-460).


For the second group of nearly 200, the bow of Helena was their liferaft, but it was slowly sinking. Disaster was staved off by a Navy Liberator that dropped lifejackets and four rubber lifeboats. The wounded were placed aboard the lifeboats, while the able-bodied surrounded the boats and did their best to propel themselves toward nearby Kolombaranga. But wind and current carried them ever further into enemy waters. Through the torturous day that followed, many of the wounded died. American search planes missed the tragic little fleet, and Kolombaranga gradually faded away to leeward. Another night passed, and in the morning the island of Vella Lavella loomed ahead. It seemed the last chance for Helena's men and so they headed for it. By dawn, survivors in all three remaining boats observed land a mile distant and all who were left were safely landed. Two coastwatchers and loyal natives cared for the survivors as best they could, and radioed news of them to Guadalcanal. The 165 sailors then took to the jungle to evade Japanese patrols.


Surface vessels were chosen for the final rescue, Nicholas and Radford, augmented by Jenkins (DD-447) and O'Bannon (DD-450) set off 15 July 1943 to sail further up the Slot than ever before, screening the movement of two destroyer-transports and four other destroyers. During the night of 16 July, the rescue force brought out the 165 Helena men, along with 16 Chinese who had been in hiding on the island. Of Helena's nearly 900 men, 168 had perished.


Helena was the first ship to receive the Navy Unit Commendation. Her actions in the Battles of Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal, and Kula Gulf were named in the citation. Helena also earned the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign medal with seven stars.


   
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