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Home Town Pueblo, CO
Last Address 796 38th St San Pedro, CA
Casualty Date May 07, 1942
Cause Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Reason Other Explosive Device
Location Pacific Ocean
Conflict World War II
Location of Interment Manila American Cemetery and Memorial - Manila, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates (cenotaph)
Last Known Activity
On the morning of 7 May 1942, a search plane from the Japanese striking force sighted the oiler and destroyer and reported them to Admiral Takagi as a carrier and a cruiser. Takagi ordered an all-out attack. At 0930, 15 high level bombers attacked the two ships but did no damage. At 1038, 10 attacked the destroyer, but skillful maneuvering evaded the nine bombs that were dropped. A third attack against the two ships by 36 Val dive bombers was devastating. Neosho was soon a blazing wreck as the result of seven direct hits and one plane that dived into her.
USS Sims (DD-409) was attacked from all directions. The destroyer defended herself as best she could. Three 250 kg (551 lb) bombs hit the destroyer. Two exploded in the engine room, and within minutes, the ship buckled amidships and began to sink, stern first. As Sims slid beneath the waves, there was a tremendous explosion that raised what was left of the ship almost 15 feet out of the water.
LCDR Hyman, the commanding officer of the Sims, was among the men listed as missing in action and later declared dead.
Service number: 058619
Navy Cross Awarded for Actions During World War II
Division: U.S.S. Sims (DD-409)
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 313 (April 1943)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Willford Milton Hyman (NSN: 0-58619), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. SIMS (DD-409), during operations in the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942. Lieutenant Hyman skillfully warded off the first raid of a hostile aircraft attack on his vessel and the ship which it was escorting, and, in the second raid, when the Sims lay dead and crippled in the water, he kept her guns blazing away until the last Japanese plane had disappeared. Then he coolly directed salvage and repair operations until the bridge of the sinking vessel was completely awash and he went down into the sea. The conduct of Lieutenant Hyman throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.