Torpedoed in the Caribbean
The SS Sixaola was en route from the Canal Zone to New Orleans, Louisiana, via Guatemala carrying Army trucks and cargo on June 12, 1942 with 87 merchant marine crew, 6 Armed Guard, and 108 passengers. Two minutes after being struck by two torpedoes Captain William H. Fagan ordered the ship abandoned.Mrs. Edna T. Johansson, the first female recipient of the Merchant Marine Combat Bar with Star, was a stewardess aboard the liner SS Sixaola. Twenty-nine crew members died in the explosions. After all survivors were aboard 5 lifeboats and 6 rafts, the ship's boiler exploded. The U-159 questioned the crew about the ship and its cargo. Some of the survivors were rescued by the SS Carolinian, USS Niagara, and Army Tug Shasta. 42 others in one lifeboat made Panama in 4 days.