Aboard U.S. Navy Ships
October 17, 2011 by staff
Badgley sailor survived. Some of his companions, including a good friend did not. Badgley, now 90, still hesitates when he recalls a fellow who had designed a special bracelet he wore on his wrist.
“As we swam, saw a body floating near me, upside down with open arms. I knew him immediately to see the bracelet,” said Badgley. “The shark had killed him.”
Badgley was a merchant on board LCS 15, a landing craft, flat-bottomed with fuel and ammunition.
“Sometimes we call our landing craft Craft suicide,” he said.
Badgley said the 15 LSC carried a crew of 66 enlisted men and officers of six years. His job was to raise a beach and unloading of supplies. That’s what made the April 1, 1945, the day U.S. forces invaded Okinawa.
Badgley said the initial landing and unloading was not a problem. The real problem began when his ship took picket duty at sea with a destroyer.
On 22 April, Badgley said a Japanese fighter evaded a ring of protection of the Navy Corsair fighters and went after the destroyer. Badgley was helping a 40-mm double man of arms when the enemy rushed down.
“It was after the destroyer, but both in shot hit him, and changed course to fall on us.”
When the plane crashed into the suicide 15 LCS, the explosion burned his left hand. In total, 14 partners to die as the LCS was reduced.
“I jumped and swam like crazy,” said Badgley. “Then I looked back and saw my boat that was on the bow.”
It was then when he saw his dead crewmate floating nearby.
“We were in the water for 45 minutes to an hour before we were picked up,” he recalled. “A couple of Navy Corsairs were flying circles overhead. One of my neighbors, Victor Smith, was a Corsair pilot and claims that he was one of the men flying circles overhead.”
One of the sad stories refers to the provision of room three men from the ship radio.
“The story is that the hatch was blocked, so that two men came out for a slimmer porthole, but the third man could not pass and sank with the ship,” said Badgley.
The survivors were transferred to the USS Intrepid, and taken back to the U.S. for the same boat. At this point in the Pacific war had ended with the surrender of Japan.
After being treated for burns, the sailor Badgley was sent to Great Lakes Training Naval Center, where he was discharged from the Navy. Almost 30 years later received a Navy Combat Action Ribbon in the mail. He said that his film did not exist at the time, but was created in late 1970 and sent to men like him, who had served in World War II.
Born in Cleveland, grew up in Galion Badgley and graduated in 1939 from Galion High School.
He worked as a draftsman in the North Electric Co. in Galion and later as a supervisor for the electrical design. He would spend 43 years with that company.
Badgley said the project was postponed because he worked on government projects.
“I got tired of that and decided to stay with the Navy,” he said.
Joined in the spring of 1944 and joined the newly launched LCS 15 in Boston for the long journey to the Pacific through the Panama Canal. One of the stops on the way to Okinawa was at the naval station at Ulithi in the Caroline Islands.
“I’ve never seen so many boats in my life when we got there,” he said.
At one point, a nervous gunner in a nearby boat opened fire on an American “Kingfisher”, aircraft and other ships opened fire, too. Badgley said all missed calls.
Once he was home, he returned to North Badgley Electric. After a divorce, he met his wife, Mary. They have been married 62 years.
His son, Douglas, was killed in a car accident when I was 20.
His daughter, Beth Carpenter, lives in Galion. The Badgleys has two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
After living several years in Kingsport, Tennessee, the couple decided to return to Galion and bought a house that was being auctioned. That was 23 years ago.
Badgley said he is a Mason, a life member of the American Legion Post 14 in Galion and the First Lutheran Church. The Badgleys used to go to meetings of the Navy, but the last time was four years ago.
“They were two men, my husband and an officer,” said Mrs. Badgley.
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