July 10, 1945
From: The Perry Daily Chief
Donald Wilson Serves on Famed Hancock
Aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hancock in the Western Pacific, Donald Wilson, chief electrician’s mate, U.S.N., son of Mr. and Mrs. C.D. Wilson, Route 2, Perry, Iowa, shared this carrier’s unequaled one-day record of 71 enemy aircraft shot down, 19 probably downed, 8 destroyed, and 12 damaged on the ground, during a raid over the Tokyo area on Feb. , 1945.
Before this performance, the U.S.S. Hancock gained fame by bombarding Okinawa for eight straight days, during which the record of 600 individual plane strikes was set. The result was 10 ships sunk, including three attack transports, a sub tender, and a large tanker, with 22 Japanese aircraft and industrial and chemical plants destroyed.
Commissioned a little more than a year ago, the carrier took part in operations off Samar, supported the Leyte invasion, attacked shipping in the South China Sea, and provided air support for the Iwo Jima campaign.
In 190 strikes by the Hancock, she accounted for nine warships, 32 merchant ships, 241 enemy planes, and an indefinite number of aircraft destroyed on the ground.
Each crewman has eight solid pages of battle actions and commendations entered in his service record.
Wilson, who is 28, has been in the Navy since 1934 and served aboard the carrier Yorktown until she was sunk. His last visit home was in June of 1943.
Wilson has four brothers also in service—Delbert is an electrician’s mate first class in the Navy; Dale and Danny are second lieutenants in the Army Air Force; and Junior is a flight officer in the Air Corps.
A brother-in-law, Lt. Warren D. Neal, is taking B-29 training.
That same day, a U.S. Navy Task Force, which included Don’s carrier, launched 1000 aircraft against Tokyo airfields.
A few days later, the carrier was part of another 1000-aircraft strike on airfields and shipping on Hokkaido. The Japanese had mined around their islands, and their submarines were also a serious threat.
Donald Wilson’s story is told in Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II. All five served. Only two came home. Leora was their mother, and my delightful grandmother.
The Wilson brothers are featured on the Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn, Iowa. All five served. Only two came home.
I always enjoy posts like these. I will have to read about the USS Hancock.
Did you ever read the book about the USS Laffey, The Ship That Would Not Die? It’s an incredible story about a destroyer. I’ve been on the USS Laffey at Patriot Point. It’s a great read!
Not yet! I’ve made only a a couple of forays into the USS Indianapolis (obvious reason), and the LST 388, written by a daughter with her father while he was still living. LST 388 was his history, but also a history of the ship, which was fascinating.
I think I read that Mel Gibson is doing a major motion picture about the USS Laffey.
Which Laffey–before or after Guadalcanal?
It was the second USS Laffey that battled and survived an overwhelming kamikaze attack among other events.
It really is hard to imagine this type of warfare. WWII was somewhat unique in that regard.
Especially with the mindset they warred against. Brutal.
It was quite astounding to read the statistics all at once.
A very detailed story of the adventure of the ship and the navy staff and Uncle Don.