Last Mission LCI (L) 600
Posted By: James Murphy (email)
Date: 10/2/2011 at 07:36:03
This is the story of the last mission of LCI-L-600, but first a story of two crew members, John Darrell Murphy and Tony Judkins.
Their stories start three days after December 7. These two had been friends since grade school in Des Moines, Iowa and decided to enlist in the Navy, which they did on the 10 of December.
Both went through basic training near Chicago and were assigned to the East Coast after Basic leave, there they were assigned to the newly built LCI-L (600).
They took it through the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor where they spent many months in the pipeline waiting to see where they would be used in the many invasions that were taking place in the Pacific. Finally they were sent to Ulithi Atoll in the Carolinas.
The ships their size were very often used to shift supplies and personnel between the larger vessels because of their stability and maneuvering ability. On this day their mission was to transfer a sailor from his ship to a hospital ship for medical treatment.
Since they were zipping around the captain decided to drill the crew and went to battle stations bringing all hands to their gun stations.
Judkins was a cook and this action probably saved his life by bringing him to the forward gun. My brother John was in a gun emplacement near the wheelhouse.
The official navy lists an undetermined explosion, but recent exploration of Japanese war records reveals that HILMS Submarine I-36 released four Kaiten Special Attack Submarines on January 12, 1945 and one of these struck the LCI-L (600).
Judkins went up into the air and came down with minor injuries but landing on deck. John Murphy on the other hand went up above the wheelhouse roof and was thrown into the water. John found floating debris, clinging to it with another man keeping him afloat until he knew he had died. Arguing with himself about leaving his shoes on or take them off, he decided to keep them on in case sharks took his foot he’d give them a piece of leather; John had those shoes in his closet when he pasted away.
Rescuers gave up finding any one but Tony Judkins kept insisting that John was still out there. On the last try, After 24 hours in the water they found him a mile away with his arm through an anchor chain, he had sustained a broken back which bothered him through the rest of his life.
The CO and the second were killed in the wheelhouse.
Tony was transferred to an aircraft carrier and returned to the States but John was to badly hurt to be moved from the hospital ship and was transported back to the States aboard it.
John D. Murphy gave this narrative to me, James Murphy before he pasted away.
James C. Murphy
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