Kamikaze attack on the USS Belleau Wood CLV 24 October 1944. After two (Zeka) Kamikaze air craft near the USS Franklin: the first plane hit the Franklin near her island structure and set it ablaze. The second towards USS Belleau Wood and crashed into its port quarter blowing Lonnie P. Ham who was manning his 50 caliber machine gun post into the sea. The ship burned and the fire spread, the rest of the ship gunners not killed or chased from their guns by flames, continue to fire at more diving Kamikazes air craft to protect the USS enterprise and the USS San Jacinto, two ships close to the Belleau Wood. After seaman Lonnie Ham was in water, one of his ship mates who had to jump off the ship to escape the flames, pulled him to a floating net with cork floats. Both men were later picked up by the escort destroyer USS Mugford DD389. Lonnie Ham’s burns were treated and later when well enough, he was transferred back to his ship the USS Bellaau Wood.
As a result of this attack: the ship’s losses were 92 killed, 97 with minor to moderate wounds, and 54 with critical wounds and 11 F6F Hell Cat fighter planes were destroyed.
We honor you, Lonnie Ham.