Rudy Friederich's 'Carrier Capsules' on WASP CV-7

WASP, CV 7 Apr 25 40:  The 1st carrier WASP was commissioned this day at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Base, Boston, MA. CPT John W. Reeves, Jr., her first commanding officer. Letters WASP were painted on her deck, her air group called Wasp, and her aircraft had black rudders. These were carrier customs in those days. The air group was called by the carrier's name, the ID painted on aft deck, and a distinctive color for rudders, The "Stinger" was sunk by 3 Japanese torpedoes on Sep 15 42 southeast of Guadalcanal. CAPT Forrest P. Sherman was in command.

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WASP, CV 7, June 30, 1942

This date WASP began her final war cruise from San Diego. She is tasked to support the American landings in the Solomon Islands at Guadalcanal and Tulagi. WASP participated in these operations and the Guadalcanal Capture and Defense operations in early August until her demise. WASP was sunk by a Japanese submarine torpedo on Sep 15 42. We will have more on the sinking in September.

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This first person account details John Bee's abandoning the sinking carrier WASP near Espiritu Sancto, New Hebrides in the South Pacific on Sep 15 42....

"I was in the radio room when the torpedoes hit. We had a porthole open forward right over the 1.1 guns on the main deck below. I was not on a watch per se, I was always sent to Air Plot whenever they wanted someone to man the teletype for the transparent screen projector, like weather, flight info, etc. I was on my feet when the ship shook and there was a loud thud. I moved to the forward bulkhead.

"There I climbed on the radio table on my knees to look out and see what was going on. I didn't like what I saw and realized we had an emergency of some sort Immediately, I backed away but not before the outer steel plate for that porthole fell, catching my right thumb and cut it. Quickly I dogged that port down The next thing I remember is standing on the fantail, looking down to the water over the port side railing, trying to decide how I was going to abandon the ship. My LJ (lifejacket) was on securely. Not liking those guys hogging the nets, not relishing getting skinned, and being very averse to getting myself pushed down a rope by the guy above, I looked elsewhere.

"When I saw that there were only a few people left more forward, I decided it was time for me to go--feet first, hugging my LJ to me like an overcoat. I had abandoned the shoes earlier. I swam through oil, ahead of the burning stuff, until (I think) I was picked up by a boat or a life raft. I never remembered for sure, but was helped up a net on one of the DD's. I never found out which one says I helped take care of his hands, salve and bandages as we waited for a trip home (from Noumea).

"After the war I returned to American Airlines at Ft. Worth, Texas becoming in time, the chief radio operator and then, radio supervisor."

By John S. Bee

Another WASP survivor exited his ship a different way....

"I was standing of the flight deck. An explosion occurred which blew me off the ship into the water. The waves were running 6-7 feet".

By CPO Malcolm Booker, from Portland, OR news clipping.

Rudy Friederich,
Coordinator 1539 Fox Meadow Circle
Aircraft Carrier Study Group Knoxville, TN 37923

[email protected]


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