USS KILLEN DD593
Donice H. Copeland RDM 3/C
I was born Dec.6, 1925 in Arkadelphia, AR. I joined the Navy Dec. 6, 1943 and went to Boot Camp in San Diego. I went to Radar School at Point Loma and San Clemente Island of the coast of California,. They picked 12 of us out of Radar School, that is how many it takes for a DD. I went to Treasure Island for a couple of weeks. While there we went out on a training DD for a few days.
Then we were sent to Bremerton, WA to put the Killen in commission. She was commissioned May 4, 1944. After a shakedown we went through Pearl Harbor and on to Manus Island and Hollandia, New Guinea. We were in the invasion of Leyte on Oct. 20, 1944. We were under many air attacks and did a lot of shore bombardments. We knocked out 3 gun emplacements in one 30 minute span. It really got hot in the Surigao Straits on the night of Oct. 24. The Jap fleet was coming up the straits. We fired five torpedoes at the first Battleship getting several hits. They said we did the most damage on the Battleship Yamashiro as we set our torpedoes at 21 feet and everyone else set them at 17 feet. We made a run on a Cruiser and fired 3 torpedoes getting some hits. We made another run on a Cruiser and fired 2 torpedoes at it but it turned and those missed. We were firing our guns from the time the first torpedoes hit until it was over. John Ruddick on the Melvin was on the other side of the Jap Fleet.
On the first on November at 10 minutes of 10 in the morning while on picket duty we were attacked by 7 aircraft. We shot down the first 4 but the next one dropped a 500 pd bomb into the No. 2 magazine. It killed 15 and wounded several, I donít know how many. We shot down the plane that dropped the bomb. The destroyer Robinson came to our aid and shot down the rest of the planes. We were towed to Tacloban, Leyte where some plates were welded on the sides and to drydock in Manus. Then to Pearl Harbor for more repairs and then to Hunterís Point for a new bow. I got my only leave then, 21 days.
The Killen left the States around the first of April 1945. On the 20th of May we were in Subic Bay and on June 6 VE Day were in Cebu City. On June 10 we invaded Brunei Bay and on June 30 invaded Balikpapin and June 4 the Tawi Tawi Tea Party. August 3 we were in Eniwetok, Aug. 14 VJ Day in Adak Aleutians, Sept. 18 at Ominato Ko, , Nov. 14 Farwell Ominato. After the war I was transferred to the Minesweeper YMS 313. We swep mines from the Yankzee River to French Indochina. I left Hong Kong for Mobile, AL through the Panama Canal and was discharged in Memphis, TN July 27, 1946.
I married Juanita (Skeeter) Gogle on Aug. 24, 1950 and she hasnít gotten rid of me yet. We have 3 daughters, 7 grandkids and 1 great grandkid. I have driven a truck for over 40 years for Merchants Fast Motor Lines where I retired the first of 1989. I have a Motor Home and we do a lot of traveling. I also have a 4 wheeler that I like to ride. PS The Killen earned 3 Battle Stars