Haskell Free Press

The following article was in the Haskell Free Press on the date shown  The original article was in three columns with the picture in the center column.  The date shown in the article was changed from the original text due to the fact that the article had his enlistment date as November 1945 which is incorrect since the article was written in January 1945.

Friday, January 26, 1945


Former City Official, Storekeeper On U. S. Destroyer, Writes of Fleet’s Action Against Japs

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R. A. Coburn, former city secretary and deputy county tax assessor-collector who enlisted in the Navy in November 1943, and is now Storekeeper third class on a U. S. destroyer in the south Pacific, related a number of incidents concerning U. S. Navy action against the enemy over a period of several months in a recent letter to his wife, Mrs. Pauline Coburn, of this city.

S. 3-c Coburn declared that it was natural for him to want the war over as soon as possible, but said that he "wouldn’t trade places with any man at home until Japan and Germany are decisively beaten."

In a recent letter, the Haskell sailor wrote as follows: "Censorship regulations have been lifted to some extent whereby we are now at liberty to disclose a little concerning our operations during the past nine months. You probably know more about the details, from reading the newspapers and magazines, than we are at liberty to tell but you did not know definitely that we were involved in those particular operations."

"Time and Life magazines carried a pretty accurate account of the First Battle of the Eastern Philippines, which took place within six hundred miles of the Philippines, the battle of Saipan, Tinian and Guam.

"We were with the big carriers in the battle of the Eastern Philippines and were privileged to see several Jap planes hit the drink in flames."

"After the battle of the Eastern Philippines we teamed up with the battle wagons and headed back to Saipan. Upon our arrival there we pulled in between the battle wagons and the beach and let the Jap pillboxes have it. We patrolled the coast night and day for several days before the Marines landed, firing at shore batteries, ammunition dumps and everything that presented itself. On D day as the Ampibs landed we poured many a ton of hot lead over their heads in keeping the Japs pushed back from the shore. After the landing we hung around for what seemed eternity in protecting the ground forces and knocking out shore batteries and installations.

"Since the battle of Saipan we have teamed up with the floating airfields almost all together. At the time of the battle of Saipan we had no idea of the part that the air strips there would play, but after reading the accounts concerning the operations of the B-29;s we feel proud of our part in the taking of the island."

"In working with the carriers we have pulled raids on many outlying parts of the Jap empire. Some of these raids were pulled on the Bonins, Yap, Palau and others. Most of the work was done by the planes from the carriers but in a few instances we pulled in and threw a few shells at the beach. Since then we have pulled raids on Formosa, Luzon and other parts of the Philippines.

"These Navy pilots are really on the ball. They cannot be praised too highly for the way they handle the planes and the work that they do. They have to take off and land on the carriers under any kind of condition, and some are very adverse conditions. The can pack a plane up and put it down no matter how rough the sea is and incidentally we have been in some pretty rough water. They have our support, respect and admiration one hundred per cent.

"When General MacArthur and his boys sailed to re-take the Philippines we hit the high sea once more with the carriers. Our planes were over the Philippines every day to keep the Jap planes off our transports and troops as and after they landed on Leyte. After the landing the Jap fleet decided to make a stand. We were in the edge of this battle and watched a couple of the Nip ships head for Davy Jones’s locker.

"Our recent operations remain in the realm of ‘military secret’ therefore we are not at liberty to discuss any phase of it at this time. When the time comes the Army and Navy will lift censorship restrictions on these operations and we will be able to write about them. Until that time comes you will have to be satisfied with the newspaper and magazine accounts and from your own conclusions as to our whereabouts." 





This page was last updated on 07/19/03

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