FLIER, commanded by Cdr. J.D. Crowley, left
Several of the men on the bridge were injured and the Commanding Officer was thrown to the after part of the bridge, where he regained his senses a moment later. Oil, water and debris deluged the bridge. There was a strong smell of fuel, a terrific venting of air through the conning tower hatch, and the sounds of flooding and of screaming men below. Lt. Liddell, the Executive Officer, had stepped below the hatch to speak to Cdr. Crowley; he was blown through it and men poured out behind him. Within 20 or 30 seconds FLIER sank while still making 15 knots through the water. The Commanding Officer’s opinion is that the explosion was caused by contact with a mine.
Those men who survived have stated that the following men were seen in the water after the ship went down: Crowley, J.D., Cdr.; Liddell, J.W., Jr., Lt.; Jacobson, A.E., Ens.; Howell, A.G., CRT.; Tremaine, D.P., FCR3c; Miller, W.B., MoMM3; Russo, J.D., QM3c; Baumgart, E.M., MoMM3; Knapp, P., Lt.; Casey, J.E., Lt.; Reynolds, W.L., Lt, (jg); Mayer, P.S., Ens.; Pope, C.D., CGM; Madeo, G.F., F2c. Lt. (jg) Reynolds was wounded, as was Hudson, and when the word was passed for all survivors to gather together, they and Pope did not reappear. Ens. Mayer was being assisted by Howell, but after 20 minutes he was unconscious and had to be abandoned.
The first impulse was to swim to
All this time Lt. Casey had been unable to see, having been partially blinded by oil. At about 0400 he became exhausted and the others were forced to leave him. Commander Crowley realized that the only hope for anyone lay in swimming at best speed, and all hands were told to do the best they could towards land, which was now in sight. Madeo now began to fall behind and was not seen after 0500.
At 1330 five of the group, Cdr. Crowley, Lt. Liddell, Ens. Jacobson, Howell and Baumgart reached a floating palm tree and used this to aid themselves in remaining afloat and pushing towards land. This group came ashore and
In the days following, plans were laid to obtain food and water and to make contact with friendly natives. A raft was made of drifted bamboo lashed together, and the party began working from island to island, with
FLIER’s first patrol was conducted west of