"THE BATTLE OFF SAMAR"
Copyright©1996 Lynn L. Redfern
USED BY PERMISSION
Written by Mr. Redfern in honor of his uncle
S2c B.F. Wallis, USNR, USS KITKUN BAY (CVE 71)
Rain swept decks with wind torn skies,
sleep just creeping from their eyes.
Lookouts high scanned white capped seas,
dawn had come for the CVE's.
Toward the north a warning was screamed,
Kurita's task force for you does steam.
Unbelieving ears at first failed to heed,
But crashing shells soon brought full speed.
General Quarters, General Quarters loud speakers roared,
while shells from the Yamato thundered and soared.
Some splashes yellow, others splashed green,
their shooting us in color one sailor screamed.
Destroyers turned firing to meet the foe,
Huge cruisers shells into them flowed.
Johnston, Roberts and Hoel burned into the sea,
And death came too for the CVE's.
First to go was the Gambier Bay.
Over thirty rounds would mark her grave.
As she died old sailors say,
The torch was passed to the Kitkun Bay.
Revenge our sisters, the sailors cried,
Gunners cursed and fired and died.
From Kitkun Bay Avengers arose,
they found their marks with torpedoes.
Still Kurita pressed on the attack,
for the mini carriers smok'n black.
Huge shells crashed mak'n many a hole.
Success was his, kamikaze's sank the St. Lo.
More planes harried the enemy force.
Chikuma went down, the fight grew worse.
The other carriers added more planes,
Kurita's fears grew with the flames.
And just as a victory was about to him go,
He ordered course north for the Yamato.
Aboard the White Plains one sailor did say,
"Lets turn about, they're get'n away".
So went the battle off Samar.
For the little giants in a terrible war.
Heroic sailors on ships named for bays,
fighting for this freedom that we know today.
Lynn L. Redfern
Visit Mr. Redfern's art gallery: The Aviation Art of Lynn Redfern