World War II

The Greatest Generation
One in a series of tributes to members of “The Greatest Generation”
who served our country during World War II

Morgan Moore

By Bill Youngkin
Special to The Eagle
Morgan Moore, now of Bryan, was
seventeen years old when he joined the Navy
in 1944. As stated by Moore, “I was born on
August 15, 1926 in the Flynn community of
Leon County. I attended five schools in Leon
County during my time in school to include
Flynn, Buffalo, Jewett, Leona and Concord.
I graduated from Jewett in 1943 but wasn’t
able to volunteer for the Navy until just
before my eighteenth birthday.”
“My older brother was in the Navy and
had been at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese
bombed it. He would enter the submarine
service during the rest of the war. I wanted
to do my part, whatever that might be.”
“I did boot camp at San Diego and was
then shipped to a preplacement center at
Schumaker, California. From there it was on
to Bremerton, Washington and eventually
to Adak, Alaska where I was assigned to a
destroyer, the USS Rowe DD-564.”
“For those who have never served
aboard a destroyer, it is a slim metal tube
full of machinery designed to haul guns
and torpedoes swiftly through the water.
The crew is an afterthought, squeezed
in between the turbine’s boilers, pipes
and ammunition hoists. It is crowded,
uncomfortable and roughriding duty. I was
in the fireroom and had to find a place to
sleep. I tried to hide out as best I could so I
could avoid K P duty.”
“Our ship was a virgin, meaning it had not
fired a shot in anger at the enemy. Our group
consisted of five destroyers and two, four
stack cruisers. Our destination was to attack
Matsuwa Island, which was just off the coast
of Japan.This puts us several days away from
the nearest friendly base.”
“We attacked at night and hoped to be far
away come daylight because if we weren’t,
we could expect a swarm of Japanese
torpedo planes. Orders finally came and we
made a wide sweep and headed for Matsuwa
at high speed.We were in range of Jap patrol

boats. All was darkness and silence.”
“We turned running broadside to the
island. Our target was about two miles
wide. All our guns erupted at once. Our
ship was not a virgin anymore. We could
see the tracers from the shells launched by
the cruisers behind us. The shells landed
and explosions and fires lit up the night.
The pinpoint lights on the island was the
Japanese shooting back at us. We fired for
about twenty minutes, then turned the
ships and headed away right into the middle
of a storm.”
“Before the attack we had wanted a
rough sea, just choppy enough to bother
Jap torpedo boats, but smooth enough to let
us get out fast. We knew the next morning
that Jap planes would be searching for us
and low, overcast, bad weather is what we
wanted. We got our wish. Asking for bad
weather in the North Pacific waters isn’t
asking much. We made two other raids on
Jap islands before the war ended.”
“The war ended and the Surrender was
signed in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
Our destroyer, the USS Rowe, was patrolling
the area to insure nothing would interfere
with the surrender. In November 1945 we
headed out of Tokyo Bay to Pearl Harbor and
then on to the USA.”
“I was finally discharged on June 6, 1946,
the anniversary of D-Day. I came home to
Leon County, went to Houston to get a job,
got married and got a job with Shell Oil for
30 years. I raised a family and have returned
back to Leon County and Bryan. As I look back
on my time of service, the older I become,
the prouder I am that I served, whatever my
small part may have been.”
If you know a World War II, Korean, or
Vietnam War veteran whose story should
be told, please contact the Brazos Valley
Veterans Memorial at or Bill
Youngkin at 979-776-1325.

See more stories of Brazos Valley veterans on “Veterans of the Valley”, with host Tom Turbiville,
on KAMU-TV each Saturday at 6:30 pm and Sunday at 5:30 pm.

PO BOX 3000, BRYAN, TX 77805


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