Quantcast

A miracle at sea

Delmar man looks back on ferocious sea battle 69 years ago

The World War II heavy cruiser Salt Lake City during the Battle of of the Komandorski Islands on March 27, 1943.

The World War II heavy cruiser Salt Lake City during the Battle of of the Komandorski Islands on March 27, 1943.

— “Luckily I was close enough to land to be able to swim and then crawl to reach an airfield,” he said.

He stayed at Pearl Harbor for a few weeks on guard duty while rescue and clean up occurred, then he was asked by a petty officer if anyone wanted shore duty in Salt Lake City. Looking back, with the country now at war, Krenn said he wished he had been a little more skeptical.

He collected all of the possessions he owned quickly into a bucket, got into a launch with the rest of the volunteers and sure enough, was taken right to the Salt Lake City, floating in the middle of the harbor.

“I asked, ‘That’s our shore duty?’” said Krenn. “He (the petty officer) said, ‘Yep.’ I could have shot him right then and there.”

Krenn said it was hard to adjust from the life aboard an orderly battleship during peacetime to that in a heavy cruiser during wartime. He was extremely unhappy with his decision, not believing that he could possibly be aboard a U.S. Navy vessel.

“It was like going from two extremes,” he said.

He would stay with the Salt Lake City for the next two years of his naval career. The first real action he saw after Pearl Harbor was after his ship picked up Marines in Wellington, New Zealand for the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in November of 1942.

“That was night action, and oh boy was that scary,” he said.

The Salt Lake City was then transferred to Alaska, when in March of 1943 it was given orders to escort four destroyers and a light cruiser to stop Japanese supplies from reaching a base in the Aleutians.

An article in the Saturday Evening Post by John Bishop titled “My Speed Zero,” called the battle “one of the strangest sea engagements ever fought.”

0
Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment