Morgan Moore

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 [Japanese] torpedo boats, but smooth enough to let us get out fast. We knew the next morning that [Japanese] 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 [Japanese] 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 www.bvvm.org or Bill Youngkin at 979-776-1325.

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