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  Vernon Seawright, Greenville, South Carolina
Served on the USS Daly as a Torpedoman during WWII in the Pacific Theater in 1944 and 1945.
The following excerpts are first hand accounts of his experiences, from his personal hand written log that has been transcribed by me for the purpose of publication on the Daly web site.

The Navy recalled Vernon to serve again from February 1951 to June 1952 aboard the Caperton DD 650, which was re-commissioned during the same period as the Daly.


From the Log of Verner Seawright
USS Daly DD519

On the 20th day of October 1944
we (US Military) invaded the Philippines. A Jap fleet was coming in from the south to attack the transport area.

Today is my birthday October 24, 1944.
The ships are preparing for action.

I checked the air in the torpedoes and charged them up to 2800 lb. About dark our destroyers headed south to battle. The water was calm. My station was on #2 Torpedo Tube. What I report here, I was witness to. They say that this battle was one of the greatest sea battles ever fought. The Daly fired 5 fish from the forward mount. Our ship was authorized to paint three symbols on the bridge.

The following are quotes from a message from:
Commander Destroyer Squadron 24

To: USS Daly DD 519
In my Official Report you were credited with three torpedo hits on an enemy battleship. It is a good job you have done.

This is exclusive of other credits to the Daly during the Battle of the Surigao Straits.

1. Three torpedo hits on one enemy Battleship causing it to slow and making it impossible to escape from the guns of our cruisers and battleships.

Seriously damaged and set afire one enemy Heavy Cruiser, and making impossible it’s escape from the guns of our cruisers and battleships.

2. Hits and damaged one enemy heavy ship.

3. Hits and damaged one enemy destroyer.

A.M. D’Ambly Jr. Lt. USNR Executive Officer

December 26, 1943 USS Brownson

When the Brownson was hit, I was stationed on the #3- 40MM Gun Control Director to operate the Smoke generator.

I saw the Japanese dive bomber drop the bomb that struck the ship.

After the bomb burst our Captain positioned the Daly about 2 or 3 thousand yards from where the Brownson went down to assist in picking up survivors.

The first sailor that got to the Daly was a black man who I helped up over the rail.

He looked back at the area where the ship had been hit and said to me “Man I couldn’t swim a lick until I was in the water and I am fine!”

This gave me confidence as I could not swim either.

February 21, 1945

The 21st of February was hell. The enemy tired a new trick. They began their attack just as our carriers were landing planes. This was the most fierce air attack I have seen to date. We went to GQ sometime around 1700.
Four Japanese torpedo planes came in low over the water at the carrier Bismark . One plane was hit and struck the Lunga Point, a destroyer. There was fire but it was brought under control with little damage.

The second plane was hit by the Bismark but dove into the fantail. The bomb the plane was carrying went off. Three more tremendous explosions followed and the carrier began to sink. The USS Bismark sank around 2100 that evening. More than 400 men were lost.

Did I hate to see them go, but this is the war that the people back home do not get to see. The third plane in the attack was hit by the Daly and burst into flames. The fourth plane somehow got away.

In the next air attack the mighty carrier USS Sarasota was hit. Then 4 more planes attacked one of the battleships and they were all knocked out of the sky.

I had been stationed on tube #2 scared to death but I was able to help pull some of the survivors of the Bismark aboard. There were 8 in all.

February 22, 1945

No Jap planes today, just “Boggies”. The ship headed south to meet up with the fleet tankers to refuel.

April 28, 1945 - Off Okinawa

The Daly arrived at her station replacing a destroyer that had just been damaged in an air attack.

The Daly is 65 miles north east of Okinawa on Picket Station #2. At present I am on watch ( 8-12 ) Took a shower after dinner and went to bed.

0330- General Quarters 35 to 40 planes closing in on us. Our fighter planes intercepted them and broke up their run. A second group was picked up at 128 miles; they are all around us closing in on all sides. I saw a piece of tin foil overhead that the enemy planes drop so that our radar cannot pick them up.

The group of ships in the squadron got in line formation one behind the other. We are second with two small rescue boats behind us.

The attack started as one plane went up the port side, then the DMS ahead of us opened fire. At the same time another group of planes started a suicide run on the Daly. “Here they come!” I am behind the blast shield of the #2 Torpedo Tube. My buddy has the headphones on. Am I scared? You bet I am! A Kamikaze plane missed me by about 3 feet. God was with me. It came in on the starboard quarter firing at us as it dove on the ship. It barely missed us and hit the water 10 feet from the ship to port side. Bessert, one of the gunners was hit and I was told to help him out of the 40mm gun turret.

As I was down below on the main deck helping the wounded gunner, US Navy fighter planes engaged the enemy in an aerial dogfight to starboard. The fighters saved us.

Another plane came in from the starboard quarter
missed the ship and with a bomb still attached to the plane exploded in the water tearing the hell out of the Daly.

Officer Martin and many others were hit by the machine gun fire. Others were then hit by shrapnel when the bomb exploded.

The Captain’s gig moored in the davits to the port side, caught fire. The radar went out. The gyro had been out all the time during the action causing a problem with accurately firing the main 5” batteries. Cables were broken everywhere – what a mess.

Our ship’s doctor was killed by a piece of shrapnel that tore through his skull. He died instantly. Scheidt, who was operating the Fire Control Director for the 40mm guns and McElyea a good friend of mine were both killed instantly by shrapnel from the bomb explosion.

I had been talking to Scheidt just a few minutes before the attack. It’s hard to watch friends die in battle after helping them get the ammunition up to the gun. I had just been up to the 40mm gun helping someone else. Both these men were about 10 feet from my GQ station on #2 Tube Mount when they were.

They took Scheidt to sickbay on a stretcher. I felt his pulse; I could still feel a faint beat. The sick bay was full of wounded. The Pharmacist Mate looked at him and announced him dead. The body was taken aft to the crew’s head with the other two for preparation for burial at sea.

We had K rations for supper. The ship was relieved at 1845 hours and the ship headed back to the transport area. Arrived at 2130 and anchored.

They just had their 46th air attack of the day.
Two hundred enemy plane were in the attack; 104 were destroyed. The Daly got credit for destroying 5 of the 15 planes that attacked us. Naval intelligence reports that the attack today was the most concentrated yet

God I thank you

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