Autum Winds Over Okinawa, 1945
On the fateful day on August 31, 1945, four sailors departed the U.S.S. Antietam CV-36 on a launch headed for the shores of Okinawa. The war was officially over, and all of them wanted to transfer back to the States. In the launch were Chief Petty Officer of Machinists, Ken Mead, Seaman First Class Robert Brown, Seaman First Class Lincoln Overland, and Seaman First Class Charles Smitty. The seas were calm that day as the launch headed into the docks at Haku Bay. Atop a flagpole beyond the beach, Old Glory was rippling in the wind. The stumps of hundreds of burned out palm trees were visible beyond the white beach sands. As they approached the beach, they saw battle debris everywhere including American plane parts, and a Jap wing with the red circle on it half sunk in the sand. Huge craters pockmarked the sand where bombs had hit and exploded.
Unbeknown to them this would become their home for over a month despite all their radio efforts calling to nearby ships. It would be a month from hell as two major typhoons hit the island causing massive damage. It would be a month from hell dodging Jap snipers. It would be a month of survival with limited food and water available, since the Navy no longer had a post on the island. All that was left was the Army, and hundreds of Okinawan civilians, and of course Jap snipers, who did not believe the war was over. Insects and disease were as much the enemy as were the Jap soldiers hiding in the limestone caves fighting to the death in honor of the Emperor. This is a story of survival in an unknown incident on the Island of Okinawa at the end of WWII.