My dad, Frank E. Ahlstrom, passed away in 1997. He survived the Savo Island disaster after spending 7 hours hanging to wreckage in the water before being picked up. He told of his gut feeling that he had to stay w/ the ship until the last second to avoid being drawn under. He slid down decks, hauled himself up, then slid and hauled several times before going into the water. He was a strong swimmer and that saved his life. He spoke of trying to keep as still as possible so as not to draw the attention of sharks.
I cannot watch the Robert Shaw (Quint) silioquy in "Jaws" or the "Titanic" movies without thinking about what our sailors went through that night and the risk of all sailors while at sea. When my dad died, his obituary mentioned his service on the Quincy CA39. A stranger showed up at his wake and said he had to come when he saw my dad's obituary. He wanted me to know that he didn't know my dad, but he lost an beloved uncle on the CA-39 and by coming he as paying respects to both of them. I will never forget that. I have a picture of a group of men from the Quincy taken before the sinking. My dad only identifies one of the sailors. I can share whatever I have. Pam
HI PAM.I READ YOUR MESSAGE ON YOUR FATHERS SURVIVAL OF THE SINKING OF THE QUINCY. MY FATHER ,ANDREW(JIM)GARNER, SURVIVED THAT EVENING ALSO.UNFORTUNATELY HE DIED OF A HEART ATTACK IN 1970 AT THE AGE OF 48.IN YOUR MESSAGE YOU MENTIONED HAVING A PICTURE TAKEN ON QUINCY,I WOULD APPRECIATE SEEING ANY PICTURES OF THE SHIP.I'M READING A BOOK CALLED"THE BATTLE OF SAVO ISLAND" BY RICHARD NEWCOMB.ITS AN EXCELLENT ACCOUNT OF THE SINKING.THANKS FOR YOUR TIME,LESLEE GARNER
My father JOHN WILLIS HEBERT also survived the sinking. He was 18 yo at the time. He later attended Tulane Law School,married and had 10 children. He, too, died of a heart attack (in 1976) at the age of 52.
My memory of his story:
He was in a boiler room when the ship was struck. He climbed to the deck, sat and took off his shoes and walked down the sloping deck to where the water met it, then swam off. He wanted to swim as far as possible before it sank so he wouldn't be "pulled in". He said there actually wasn't much suction. The ship rose on end and looked like a skyscraper, then rolled in a circle and silently slid down. He planned to swim to the island that he knew was full of Japanese soldiers, but preferred to take his chances with them rather than the sharks.
He was pulled from the water by an American ship before either happened.
My father (Mervyn Anderson-Smith) was also on the Quincy the night it sank. He never talked about it much, only how thankful he was to the Salvation Army for the candy bars and dry clothes afterwards. We still have the "skivies" he was wearing when he jumped into the water...I also would be interested in any pictures.
My father Daniel H. Galvin Jr. is also a survivor of the sinking of the USS Quincy CA39, when it sank in the Savo Islands, Augus 9, 1942.
Daniel is a very healthy 85 years young. He was a Fire Control Man. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who wants to share information or and survivors..thanks
Hi Pam! God bless you and your family! My dad that I really never knew survived on the USS Quincy! His name was Walter Earl Albright. My uncle(Chet Judd) survived too!. What a miricle! I really wished that someone who knew him could tell me more. I feel that I was seriously left out on my dad's life regarding the Quincy. Take care Doug Albright
Hello, My daddy was a surver of the USS Quincey 8-9-42 also, Marine Arvle Raymond Brake from AL. I would love to see any pictures you have. My daddy didn't speak much either. Thank you for your time and help! Gail
My dad, John (Jerry) Giardino was a survivor on CA39. He and several other survivors contributed their stories a while back (they used to attend the annual CA39 reunions). Doc Scwitters was a good friend of my dads, as was Harris Hammersmith. I still have the book - and I have an audio cassette with my dad telling his story of that fateful night.
Such brave men - I hope that our generation can keep their stories and memories alive. My dad passed away from lung cancer in 2001.
My Mothers Uncle (Donald Van Meter) was on board the Quincy the night it sank. Sadly he went down with the ship. I am trying to research my family's military history. Pam you mentioned that you had a picture taken aboard the Quincy. If you still have a copy available I would like to request one.
I'm just starting to dig into my fathers Naval past. His name was Arther Donald Cornelisse but he went by "Bud". He was a survivor of the sinking of the Quincy. He was injured and lost a kidney and he too didn't speak much about that day. He passes away in 1980 from kidney failure. Any pictures or information you have would be great!
My father (John Hebert, 18 at the time) was only in the water a few hours or less, I believe. He did say the ship was at a 45 degree angle when he reached the deck (he was in a boiler room when it was hit). He sat down and took off his heavy boots so he wouldn't sink, then walked down the deck until he reached water and swam away. He said he was more afraid of the sharks than the Japanese, so his plan was to swim to the island that was controlled by the Japanese. He said he started swimming away from the Quincy quickly because he was afraid of suction pulling him under when it sank. He was 100 or so yards out when it stood straight up (he said it looked like a sky scraper) rolled 180 degrees and slid very quietly into the water. He said he felt no suction, but quite some time later huge air bubbles came up.
I don't know the name of the ship that picked him up, but he was rescued from the water before he reached the island.