One Sailor's Connection to the USS Porter, Shortly Before It Was Sunk

USS William D. Porter (DD-579) sinking after she was near-missed by a Kamikaze suicide aircraft off Okinawa, June 10, 1945. USS LCS-86 and another LCS are assisting her. (National Archives photo)
USS William D. Porter (DD-579) is shown sinking after she was near-missed by a Kamikaze suicide aircraft off Okinawa, June 10, 1945. (National Archives photo)

2nd Class Gunner's Mate Millard Simmons was on a nearby ship when the USS William D. Porter was sunk by the Japanese during World War II.

I was a second-class gunner's mate on the USS LCS(L)-53, and we were on radar picket duty between Okinawa and Japan. My gun was a 20 mm cannon. I was unfortunate enough to get an infection in the center of my right hand. We were too small a craft to have a resident doctor to attend my problem, so the skipper knew I had to get help in a hurry or lose my right hand.

The destroyer William D. Porter was on duty with us and did have a doctor. Our skipper contacted the destroyer, and they pulled in beside us while underway. The sea was too rough to tie the two ships together, so our crew rigged a boatswain chair and rigged it between the two ships.

I was put into the chair, and they pulled me out over the water. If either ship should vary too much in the rough seas, I would have went down between them.

I was very happy to set foot on the destroyer. They were nice enough to send back homemade ice cream to our ship in exchange for me, or so my mates kidded me. I spent the night on the Porter, and the next morning, they took me in and put me on a hospital ship anchored off Okinawa. The destroyer immediately returned to radar picket duty and within the hour was sunk by the Japanese.

The hospital ship was able to get me back in good shape and I went back to my ship. After my tour was completed and I was discharged, I checked my record and they have all the ships I served on ... To my surprise, the destroyer William D. Porter was listed!

Want to Know More About the Military?

Be sure to get the latest news about the U.S. military, as well as critical info about how to join and all the benefits of service. Subscribe to and receive customized updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Show Full Article