Hyman, Willford Milton, LCDR

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Primary Unit
1941-1942, USS Sims (DD-409)
Service Years
1924 - 1942
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Colorado
Colorado
Year of Birth
1901
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Kent Weekly (SS/DSV) (DBF), EMCS to remember Hyman, Willford Milton, LCDR.

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Casualty Info
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)

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 Additional Information
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.
   
Comments/Citation

Service number: 058619

Navy Cross
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
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.
   
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Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of the Coral Sea
Start Year
1942
End Year
1942

Description
The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.

In an attempt to strengthen their defensive positioning for their empire in the South Pacific, Japanese forces decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby in New Guinea and Tulagi in the southeastern Solomon Islands. The plan to accomplish this, called Operation MO, involved several major units of Japan's Combined Fleet, including two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion fleets, under the overall command of Japanese Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue. The US learned of the Japanese plan through signals intelligence and sent two United States Navy carrier task forces and a joint Australian-American cruiser force, under the overall command of American Admiral Frank J. Fletcher, to oppose the Japanese offensive.

On 3–4 May, Japanese forces successfully invaded and occupied Tulagi, although several of their supporting warships were surprised and sunk or damaged by aircraft from the US fleet carrier Yorktown. Now aware of the presence of US carriers in the area, the Japanese fleet carriers entered the Coral Sea with the intention of finding and destroying the Allied naval forces.

Beginning on 7 May, the carrier forces from the two sides exchanged airstrikes over two consecutive days. The first day, the US sank the Japanese light carrier Shoho, while the Japanese sank a US destroyer and heavily damaged a fleet oiler (which was later scuttled). The next day, the Japanese fleet carrier Shokaku was heavily damaged, the US fleet carrier Lexington was critically damaged (and was scuttled as a result), and the Yorktown was damaged. With both sides having suffered heavy losses in aircraft and carriers damaged or sunk, the two fleets disengaged and retired from the battle area. Because of the loss of carrier air cover, Inoue recalled the Port Moresby invasion fleet, intending to try again later.

Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies for several reasons. The battle marked the first time since the start of the war that a major Japanese advance had been checked by the Allies. More importantly, the Japanese fleet carriers Sokaku and Zuikaku – one damaged and the other with a depleted aircraft complement – were unable to participate in the Battle of Midway, which took place the following month, ensuring a rough parity in aircraft between the two adversaries and contributing significantly to the US victory in that battle. The severe losses in carriers at Midway prevented the Japanese from reattempting to invade Port Moresby from the ocean. Two months later, the Allies took advantage of Japan's resulting strategic vulnerability in the South Pacific and launched the Guadalcanal Campaign that, along with the New Guinea Campaign, eventually broke Japanese defenses in the South Pacific and was a significant contributing factor to Japan's ultimate defeat in World War II.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1942
To Year
1942
 
Last Updated:
Mar 14, 2019
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  136 Also There at This Battle:
  • Banzuelo, Antonio, MCPO, (1930-1960)
  • Gayler, Noel, ADM, (1935-1976)
  • Gregory, William, PO1, (1935-1943)
  • Mead, Sanford, CAPT, (1927-1958)
  • Nabors, Paul, S1c, (1940-1942)
  • Panks, Gerald, PO3, (1942-1946)
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