Sinking the Japanese Navy

MNSN Reg Vollmer served with me in Azuma in 1958 and was one of the most likeable guys I knew. He was a good sized guy, perhaps 6'3" and about 250 pounds. We worked in Mine Assembly at the time. When we had finished testing a shop full of mines, included their scraping and painting, we waited for a fresh batch to arrive. Proving that "idle hands are the devil's workshop," Reg set out to prove the adage. The Oppama channel, which lay alongside Azuma Island, was the seaway by which the Japanese navy came and went from their base. As a Japanese DD approached, Reg produced a long leather sling, similar to what David must have used against Goliath. Outside the door of Mine Assembly lay a layer of granite stones. Reg retrieved a large one, the size of a man's fist, and put it in the sling. As the destroyer Uranami came alongside Mine Assembly, Reg wound up and launched the missile seaward.

During the suspenseful time it took for the rock to reach its target, we all took flight inside the building, watching and waiting. We were rewarded with the sound of the granite missile striking the deck of the ship. Suddenly, Japanese seamen, clad in whites, bounded from within the ship and ran about, seeking the source of the sudden attack. Minemen from NOF once again avenged Pearl Harbor!


--Derick S. Hartshorn




Derick S. Hartshorn - 2009-present
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