Lawrence Loman Hill, USN, KIA 7 April 1945

Uncle “Larry”, Lawrence L. Hill, Seaman 1st Class, 654-99-08 USN. Larry was my Grandmother's brother, born 3 February 1913 in Portland Oregon. He grew up in the Pacific Northwest living in the Portland area. He was a tall, 6-foot burly young man, dark-haired and had a dark complexion. Larry grew up in the Pacific Northwest back when the west was still fairly young.  He was a logger and woods workman, employed with his brother's logging company. Being almost 30 by the time he went into the Navy, he would have been considered an old man.

Larry went into the service on 22 August 1942. On October 5th, 1942 he was assigned to the USS Maryland and soon was sailing for the far West Pacific islands; in the spring of 1945, the USS Maryland would head for one of the Navy’s most terrible battles, The Battle for Okinawa.

Battle of Okinawa

Maryland was assigned targets on the southern coast of Okinawa to support a diversionary landing, which would distract Japanese forces away from the main landing on the west coast. Japanese forces responded with several air raids, with two of Maryland's radar picket destroyers being struck by kamikaze planes, with Luce sinking. On 3 April, she was moved to the west coast invasion beaches to assist Minneapolis in destroying several shore batteries. Following the land invasion, she remained with the support force off Bolo Point providing artillery support for the invading troops.
 

Maryland continued fire support duty until 7 April, when she steamed north to intercept a Japanese surface force with TF 54. The Japanese ships, including the Yamato, came under constant U.S. air attacks that day, and planes of the Fast Carrier Task Force sank six of the 10 ships in the force. At dusk, a kamikaze loaded with a 551 lb (250 kg) bomb crashed the top of Turret No. 3 from starboard. The explosion wiped out the 20 mm mounts and caused a large fire. The 20mm ammunition ignited from the heat, causing further casualties.  In all, 10 were killed, 37 injured and 6 missing following this attack. Wikipedia.

Larry was KIA during this kamikaze attack.

Okinawa was the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War. The most complete tally of deaths during the battle is at the Cornerstone of Peace monument at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which identifies the names of each individual who died in Okinawa in World War II. As of 2010, the monument lists 240,931 names, including 149,193 Okinawan civilians, 77,166 Imperial Japanese soldiers, 14,009 American soldiers, and smaller numbers of people from South Korea (365), the United Kingdom (82), North Korea (82), and Taiwan. Wikipedia.

USS Maryland (BB-46), also known as "Old Mary" or "Fighting Mary" to her crewmates, was a Colorado-class battleship. She was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the seventh state. She was commissioned in 1921, and serving as the flagship of the fleet, cruised to Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil. Wikipedia.

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