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

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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)/Makin Raid
Start Year
1942
End Year
1942

Description
The Makin Island Raid (occurred on 17–18 August 1942) was an attack by the United States Marine Corps Raiders on Japanese military forces on Makin Island (now known as Butaritari Island) in the Pacific Ocean. The aim was to destroy Japanese installations, take prisoners, gain intelligence on the Gilbert Islands area, and divert Japanese attention and reinforcements from the Allied landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi.
Execution of the raid

Makin as seen by USS Nautilus.
The Marine Raiders were launched in LCRL rubber boats powered by small, 6 hp (4.5 kW) outboard motors shortly after 00:00 (midnight) on 17 August. At 05:13, Companies A and B of the 2nd Raider Battalion—commanded by Lt. Col. Evans Carlson—successfully landed on Makin. The landing had been very difficult due to rough seas, high surf, and the failure of many of the outboard motors. Lt. Col. Carlson decided to land all his men on one beach, rather than two beaches as originally planned. At 05:15, Lt. Oscar Peatross and a 12-man squad landed on Makin. In the confusion of the landing, they did not get word of Carlson's decision to change plans and land all the Raiders on one beach. Thus, Peatross and his men landed where they originally planned. It turned out to be a fortunate error. Undaunted by the lack of support, Peatross led his men inland.

At 07:00, with Company A leading, the Raiders advanced from the beach across the island to its north shore before attacking southwestward. Strong resistance from Japanese snipers and machine guns stalled the advance and inflicted casualties. The Japanese then launched two banzai charges that were wiped out by the Raiders, thus killing most of the Japanese on the island. At 09:00, Lt. Peatross and his 12 men found themselves behind the Japanese who were fighting the rest of the Raiders to the east. Peatross's unit killed eight Japanese and the garrison commander Sgt. Major Kanemitsu, knocked out a machine gun and destroyed the enemy radios; but suffered three dead and two wounded. Failing to contact Carlson, they withdrew to the subs at dusk as planned.

At 13:30, 12 Japanese planes—including two flying boats—arrived over Makin. The flying boats—carrying reinforcements for the Japanese garrison—attempted to land in the lagoon, but were met with machine gun, rifle and Boys anti-tank rifle fire from the Raiders. One plane crashed; the other burst into flames. The remaining planes bombed and strafed but inflicted no U.S. casualties.

Evacuation of the Raiders
At 19:30, the Raiders began to withdraw from the island using 18 rubber boats, many of which no longer had working outboard motors. Despite heavy surf seven boats with 93 men made it to the subs. The next morning several boatloads of Raiders were able to fight the surf and reach the sub; but 72 men, along with just three rubber boats, were still on the island. At 23:30, the attempt by most of the Raiders to reach the submarines failed. Despite hours of heroic effort, 11 of 18 boats were unable to breach the unexpectedly strong surf. Having lost most of their weapons and equipment, the exhausted survivors struggled back to the beach to link up with 20 fully armed men who had been left on the island to cover their withdrawal. An exhausted and dispirited Carlson dispatched a note to the Japanese commander offering to surrender, but the Japanese messenger was killed by other Marines who were unaware of Carlson's plan.

At 09:00 on 18 August, the subs sent a rescue boat to stretch rope from the ships to the shore that would allow the remaining Raiders' boats to be pulled out to sea. But just as the operation began, Japanese planes arrived and attacked, sinking the rescue boat and attacking the subs, which were forced to crash dive and wait on the bottom the rest of the day. The subs were undamaged. At 23:08, having managed to signal the subs to meet his Raiders at the entrance to Makin Lagoon, Carlson had a team, led by Lt. Charlie Lamb, build a raft made up of three rubber boats and two native canoes, powered by the two remaining outboard motors. Using this raft, 72 exhausted Raiders sailed 4 miles from Makin to the mouth of the lagoon, where the subs picked them up.

Casualties
USMC casualties were given as 18 killed in action and 12 missing in action. Of the 12 Marines missing in action, one was later identified among the 18 Marine Corps graves found on Makin Island. Of the remaining eleven Marines missing in action, nine were inadvertently left behind or returned to the island during the night withdrawal. They were subsequently captured, moved to Kwajalein Atoll, and executed by Japanese forces. Koso Abe was subsequently tried and executed by the Allies for the murder of the nine Marines. The remaining two Marines missing in action have never been accounted for.

Conclusions
Carlson reported that he had personally counted 83 Japanese bodies and estimated that 160 Japanese were killed based on reports from the Makin Island natives with whom he spoke. Additional Japanese personnel may have been killed in the destruction of two boats and two aircraft. Morison states that 60 Japanese were killed in the sinking of one of the boats.

Although the Marine Raiders succeeded in annihilating the Japanese garrison on the island, the raid failed to meet its other material objectives. No Japanese prisoners were taken, and no meaningful intelligence was collected. Also, no significant Japanese forces were diverted from the Solomon Islands area. In fact, because the vulnerabilities to their garrisons in the Gilbert Islands were highlighted by the raid, the Japanese strengthened their fortifications and defensive preparations on the islands in the central Pacific — one of the objectives of the raid, insofar as it would dissipate Japanese material and manpower — which may have caused heavier losses for U.S. forces during the battles of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaigns. However, the raid did succeed in its objectives of boosting morale and testing Raider tactics.
 
   
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

  34 Also There at This Battle:
 
  • Tingle, Robert, PO1, (1942-1946)
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