Jul 3

The Ship That Would Not Die

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 12:01 AM


Captain Frank A. Manson

Captain Frank A. Manson, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Frank Manson was commissioned in the Naval Reserve in 1942 and went through the naval training school at Ithaca, New York, before he transferred to the regular Navy on 7 May 1947. He attained the rank of captain before retiring on 1 January 1969.

Ordered to duty afloat in 1944, Manson joined the USS Laffey (DD-724). On 16 April 1945, the Laffey suffered heavy casualties following a concentrated Japanese aerial attack in which she was struck by bombs and kamikaze attacks. For services in the Laffey, Manson received a letter of commendation, with authorization to wear the commendation ribbon with combat “V,” and was entitled to the ribbon and a facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the Laffey. The citation reads in part:

Letter of commendation: “For meritorious conduct . . . as Communications Officer and Public Relations Officer aboard the USS Laffey after she was damaged in an engagement with Japanese planes while serving as a radar picket ship off Okinawa on April 16, 1945. He displayed outstanding professional ability and initiative in ascertaining and presenting the facts of this complex engagement to the Public Relations Officers and correspondents while his ship was undergoing emergency repairs at Okinawa and again after the ship returned to Seattle . . . .”

Presidential Unit Citation: “For heroism in action . . . during an attack by approximately thirty enemy Japanese planes . . . April 16, 1945. Fighting her guns valiantly against waves of hostile suicide planes plunging toward her from all directions, the USS Laffey sent up relentless barrages of anti-aircraft fire during an extremely heavy and concentrated air attack. Repeatedly finding her targets, she shot eight enemy planes clear of the ship and damaged six more before they crashed on board. Struck by two bombs, crash-dived by suicide planes and frequently strafed, she withstood the devastating blows unflinchingly and, despite severe damage and heavy casualties, continued to fight effectively until the last plane had been driven off . . . . ”

USS Laffey (DD-724)

USS Laffey (DD-724)

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