Plymouth County

Harold J. Mack

Born 29 Dec 1917
Died 09 Aug 1942

 

AWARD NAVY CROSS TO HAROLD J. MACK FOR HIS HEROISM
Wounded In Action He Continues To Direct Gun Fire

Harold J. Mack, gunner’s mate second class, LeMars, who was reported missing in action August 9, 1942, has been awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism.  Mack is the son of Mrs. Mack who now lives at 2811 Gilroy St., Los Angeles, Calif.  He enlisted in the Navy May 18, 1938.  His citation reads as follows:

“For extraordinary heroism as gun captain aboard the USS Vincennes during action against enemy Japanese forces off Savo Island on August 9, 1942. While his ship was fighting desperately for her life against a concentrated bombardment of hostile torpedoes and shellfire, Mack, under a veritable hail of exploding shells, grimly stood by his station in the 5 inch battery and directed the fire.  Struck down by grave wounds in both legs, he propped himself upright against the bulkhead behind his mount and there, with tenacious devotion to duty and almost superhuman effort and endurance, continued directing his gun in local control.  When the vessel was eventually put out of action and had to be abandoned, he was placed in a life jacket and lowered over the side.  His courageous fighting spirit, maintained with utter disregard of personal safety, was in keeping the with highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Source:  LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, August 10, 1943

Name Destroyer Escort In Honor of Harold J. Mack
Mother of Youth Is Designated As Sponsor of Ship 

Mrs. Gertrude Mack, 2733 ½ Gilroy Street, Los Angeles, California, formerly of LeMars, has been designated as sponsor for the USS MACK, a destroyer escort, named in honor of her son, the late Harold John Mack, gunner’s mate second class.  USN Mack was reported missing in action August 9, 1942, and declared officially dead on August 10, 1943.

The USS MACK is scheduled to be launched at the plant of the Consolidated Steel Corporation, limited, shipbuilding division, Orange, Texas, on April 11, 1944.

Harold Mack was born in LeMars, Iowa, December 29, 1917.  He enlisted in the navy at Des Moines, Iowa, on May 18, 1938, and had continuous service advancing through the enlisted ratings to that of gunner’s mate second class, which he attained February 1, 1942.  He received the Good Conduct medal the same year.

Mack has been awarded the navy cross posthumously with the following citation:

“For extraordinary heroism as gun captain aboard the USS Vincennes during action against enemy Japanese forces off Savo Island on August 9, 1942.  While his ship was fighting desperately for her life against a concentrated bombardment of hostile torpedoes and shellfire, Mack, under a veritable hail of exploding shells, grimly sttod by his station in the 5-inch battery and directed the fire.  Struck down at the height of battle and painfully incapacitated by grave wounds in both legs, he propped himself upright against the bulkhead behind his mount and there, with tenacious devotion to duty and almost superhuman endurance, continued directing his gun in local control.  When the vessel was eventually put out of action and had to be abandoned, he was placed in a life packet and lowered over the side.  His courageous fighting spirit maintained with utter disregard of personal safety was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

Mack also has been awarded the Purple Heart medal posthumously and is entitled to the American defense service medal, with Bronze A, and the Asiatic-Pacific area campaign medal.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, April 7, 1944