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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services

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Mississinewa

Ship Designation: 
AO-59
Date Lost: 
Monday, November 20, 1944
Kaiten Attack at Caroline Islands
Mississinewa was loaded with 440,000 gallons of aviation gasoline and a full load of fuel oil. However, aviation fuel had been pumped from the #3 wing and centerline tanks and bow wing tanks #1 and #2. These tanks had not been purged (filled with seawater), a procedure used to reduce the danger from the residual, highly volatile fumes. A Japanese suicide Kaiten hit the oiler on the starboard side, between the #2 and #3 wing gasoline cargo tanks forward of the bridge. Fumes from these tanks exploded with as much force as the initial impact of the sub's warhead. It tore a 40 foot gaping hole down to the keel on both the port and starboard sides. ... Of the 278 enlisted men and 20 officers on board at the time of the attack, 63 (3 officers and 60 enlisted men) died, most forward of the bridge and many in the forward crew berthing, as the area was consumed with flames. The situation further deteriorated when a second explosion, presumably the 5-inch ammunition magazine, occurred at 6:05 AM. Totally engulfed in flame from the torpedo attack and secondary explosions Mississinewa sank with a loss of 63 men. ... Mississinewa would be the only US Navy vessel to be solely sunk by a Kaiten in WWII

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 56

Name Service Branchsort descending
Sea 2c Kenneth Goldsmith USN
MOMM 2c Orlando Roberts USN
Lt(jg) Herbert Allen USN
CCS Frank Lutz USN
Sea 2c Irving Goldstein USN
MM 3c Oscar Rosenshein USN
GM 3c Thomas Bodtke USN
StM 1c Roosevelt Magett USN
Sea 1c James Gillespie USN
MM 1c Hal Payne USN
StM 1c Joseph Brown USN
SK 1c John Maher USN
Sea 2c Mathew Difresco USN
Sea 1c Edward Vigliotta USN
Sea 1c John Costello USN
Cox Peter Liupakka USN
GM 2c Francis Dietz USN
Lt(jg) Wallace Wilson USN
Sea 1c Gaston Cote USN
F 1c James Moffatt USN

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