Claude Morgan's letter to Edward R. Howard
1942

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March 7th, 2017
This letter was found in Edward Howard's papers by his daughter and given to his son, Stephen Howard. Stephen sent it to me to share on the website.
Calton, Calif.
21 Nov, 1942

Good old Reg -

Congratulations!!! Damned but I'm happy to hear that you made it. Didn't have time to let you know of my personal safety before leaving Kanakiville so I had Quigley do it for me. Hope you have heard before now.

In being proud of our old Swayback Alma mater, you have just cause. We are all proud of her. During that nite battle, which I watched from a rubber boat (my buddy? Tate really fixed us up). She was the heroine. Small (Captain) ran her right into the line of fire of a Jap 8" CA to save the Boise which was afire (she's ok) and we dropped the Jap then and there. Just rolled over and disappeared. I didn't actually see this as we were about 15 mi away but I could see and hear the firing.

We had burst into flames just as we cleared the end of the catapult and crashed about 400 yds. from the ship - a defective P flare on the deck under my feet detonated. About three hot sparks up my pants legs got me underway - unhooked my safety belt and helmet cord and climbed out on the wing. I was standing next to Tate yelling "LAND". When we hit I was thrown none too gently into the water. My goggles, I believe, cut quite a gash in my right eyebrow - a permanent souvenir. Neither of us was burned by the fire. Tate wasn't scratched. We were from Sunday nite (2200) until the following Tues. about 1400 in the boat.

We were sniped at off the N. end of Guadalcanal about 15 rounds were fired from what I figured to be the standard Jap army .25. About an hour later two Japs in another rubber boat gave chase but they didn't have a chance.

That night about 0000 a Jap DD passed within 35 feet of us. Boy was I scared! We then watched those devils shell our positions. They have wonderful illumination. The following morning we were heckled by a couple of hungry looking sharks and then watched 40 Mitsubishi 96s give our boys a load of Jap T.N.T. from 20,000 ft. Our FMF's knocked off two then and there, and twelve later I was told. The two I saw were flamers. Those boys carry no chutes. So many interesting tales I could tell but it would take a book (excuse my writing a whole letter about myself). We weren't picked up until we got within 1/2 mile of our own beach. Higgins boat. Got out the next day in a DC-3 to Santos and two days later to Free French by B-24. Back aboard there. Tate is now doing duty at Pearl-what, I donít know. Ramage is senior AV. 20% of the crew got leave. J.T. and myself in the radio gang.

Once again Reg, Whoopee, I'm tickled pink for you. Give 'em hell. I'm proud of you. I'll be here in Colton until next 5th. Drop me a line if possible. Hope you can read this.

Always a shipmate
Claude

PS. Still a standing invitation here...anytime
Got your address for Quigley


Return to Claude W. Morgan, ARM1c ball-red-02 Deceased
Return to Edward R. "Reg" Howard, ARM1c ball-red-02 Deceased

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