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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services



Ship Designation: 
Date Lost: 
Sunday, December 3, 1944
Torpedo Attack near Ormoc Bay
Operating in company with USS Allen M. Sumner (DD 692) and USS Moale (DD 693) through Surigao Straits COOPER encountered a Japanese force of transports and escorting destroyers landing troops at Ormoc Bay, Leyte Philippines. The three US destroyers during the melee damaged or sank one destroyer, five transport freighters and 10 aircraft. At 0013 a Japanese torpedo found COOPER; she suffered a high order explosion on her starboard side, breaking the ship in two and sinking within a minute of the torpedo hit. 191 of her crew went down with the ship ... The proximity of Japanese forces precluded the immediate rescue of survivors by friendly surface forces, however the valiant efforts of “Black Cat” seaplanes enabled 168 survivors to later be rescued from the waters of Ormoc Bay

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 190

Name Service Branchsort descending
Lt(jg) Belton Bennett USN
SOM 1c Joseph Brooks USN
MM 2c Harold Reynolds USN
MOMM 2c Rudolph Sebesta USN
Sea 1c Crit Nolen USN
SK 1c Claude Vaughn USN
F 2c James Soper USN
WT 2c Kenneth Holtzapple USN
RM 3c Michael Draveck USN
Sea 1c James Fagg USN
RM 3c Howard Hoffman USN
CPhM Thomas Byrne USN
Sea 1c Howard Bennett USN
GM 3c Robert Brooks USN
Sea 1c William Riley USN
F 1c Sam Sgambati USN
F 1c Louis Pallak USN
MM 3c Raymond Vanwasson USN
F 1c Luther Spainhoward USN
MOMM 1c Robert Houser USN


Prepared by CAPT R.O. Strange USN (Ret.)