Kamikaze Strike near Okinawa
At dusk of June 21, 1945, a Kamikaze's delayed action bomb rammed though to the center line of the Curtiss before exploding immediately over a bomb storage magazine which miraculously escaped detonation. The Kamikaze struck on the starboard side amidships at an estimated speed of 400 knots. The engine, part of the tail assembly and the heavy bomb ripped through the skin of the ship, opening two gaping holes and exploding on the third deck. The terrific explosion wiped out the sick bay spaces, together with the Warrant Officers' mess room, several staterooms, officers' galley, and pantry and library. Choking smoke gushed from the damaged area and flames licked through four decks above the point of the explosion. Fire mains and sprinkler systems in the blast area were ruptured and the Fire-fighting crew brought emergency extinguishing equipment to bear. With the fires out of control there was immanent danger of the flames reaching the bomb storage magazine, the upper ammunition handling rooms and adjacent magazines. During this critical period many acts of individual heroism were observed. When it became apparent that a great volume of water was needed to control the fires in the Curtiss, two salvage vessels and two ocean tugs came along side to assist.