Wednesday, August 25, 2010

R.I.P. George P. Gosslin

Monday evening August 23 I posted on facebook:

"In loving memory of my uncle, George P. Gosslin, born Feb. 25, 1917; departed this life Aug. 23, 2010. Seaman First Class, USS Windham Bay CVE-92, served at Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. 'Home is the sailor, home from the sea.'

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."
Uncle George was either a Seaman First Class "striking" for Gunner's Mate Third Class, or he was a Gunner's Mate; that part isn't clear anymore.
What we do know is that he was a gunner in a forward sponson under the flight deck of his "baby flattop" and fired water-cooled 20mm cannon at Japanese aircraft who were trying to kill him. I read that at these three battles the Japanese began using kamikaze pilots, and their primary targets were the aircraft carriers.
A history of his ship I found online says: "On 4 to 5 June, [1945] while steaming with the logistics group in support of TF 58 and the strikes on Okinawa, the carrier steamed right through the famous typhoon of 1945, suffering lost and damaged planes as well as damage to her flight and hangar decks." George once showed me a picture of the bow of his ship; the flight deck was bent over like a crushed pop can.
One sailor friend of mine on facebook said that is is because of George and men and women like him that we don't speak German and Japanese here today.
The picture is of George and his wife of 56 years, my Aunt Rita (a Canadienne), and their daughers Linda and Barbara.

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