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World War II Honor Roll

Harry Horn

Seaman, First Class, U.S. Navy

09065565

USS Callaghan DD-792

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: July 29, 1945
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial
Honolulu, Hawaii
Awards: Purple Heart


SEAMAN FIRST CLASS HARRY HORN served aboard the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Callaghan DD-792. He was one of 47 sailors lost when the Callaghan was struck by a kamikaze and exploded and sunk on July 28, 1945, off Okinawa, only a few weeks before the Japanese surrender.

Harry Horn was survived by his wife, Virginia Horn, who had moved to 521 Beideman Avenue in Camden NJ in the then-new Westfield Acres public housing project after Seaman Horn had entered the Navy, and three children, Virginia, Harry, and, Helen. 



Harry Horn and a Friend
from the crew of the
USS Callaghan

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Callaghan I (DD-792)

Born in San Francisco, Calif., 26 July 1890, Daniel Judson Callaghan graduated from the Naval Academy in 1911. His prewar service included command of Truxtun (Destroyer No. 14), staff duty afloat and ashore, and duty as Naval aide to the President. He commanded San Francisco (CA-38) from May 1941 to May 1942, then served as chief of staff to Commander, South Pacific area and South Pacific Force. Rear Admiral Callaghan was killed in action in the bitter naval Battle of Guadalcanal 13 November 1942 while commanding forces that helped turn back a far stronger Japanese fleet. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism during the action in which he gave his life.

(DD-792: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; s. 36 k.;
 cpl. 320; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)


Callaghan (DD-792) was launched 1 August 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Pedro, Calif., sponsored by Mrs. D. J. Callaghan; commissioned 27 November 1943, Commander F. J. Johnson in command; and reported to the Pacific Fleet.

Callaghan sailed from the west coast 5 February 1944 to plunge into action with fast-striking 5th Fleet in smashing air raids on the Palaus, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai from 30 March to 1 April. Based on Manus in April, Callaghan supported the Hollandia operation through important services as picket ship during air strikes, and screening the valuable tankers.

From June to August 1944 Callaghan provided screen for escort carriers softening up, and later supporting the invasions of Saipan, Tinian and Guam. At Saipan Callaghan's guns joined in driving off a heavy Japanese air attack on 17 June, helping splash three enemy planes. Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70) was struck by a bomb in this attack, and Callaghan shielded the crippled escort carrier safely back to Eniwetok. Late in August Callaghan began operations as escort for air strikes on the Palaus, Mindanao, Luzon, and the Central Philippines in support of the invasion of the Palaus, a stepping stone to the Philippines.

With the long-awaited return to the Philippines scheduled for mid-October 1944, Callaghan steamed in the screen of the carrier force conducting essential preliminary neutralization of Japanese airfields in Formosa and Okinawa. During a heavy enemy air attack on 14 October, Callaghan joined in downing several planes. Sailing on to stand guard off the invasion area on Leyte, Callaghan's force contributed air power in the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf, which insured the Allied advance in the Philippines against the desperate Japanese efforts to break up the landings. After pursuing Japanese cripples fleeing north, Callaghan returned to support the Philippine operations, in company with the 3d Fleet, for air strikes on Luzon. En route, on 3 November, Reno (CL-96) was torpedoed, and Callaghan stood by to protect the stricken cruiser until relief forces arrived, when Callaghan was able to rejoin her group for the strikes, Through December, she participated in more air strikes on the Central Philippines, and in January 1945, the destroyer sailed with the 3d Fleet for air raids on Formosa, Luzon, Indo-China, Hong Kong, and the Nansei Shoto.

Through the following months, Callaghan operated at the same active pace, screening carrier strikes pounding Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Tokyo area. Callaghan assisted in sinking a Japanese picket boat on 18 February, and on 3 March joined the bombardment of Parece Vela. In late March she joined a battleship force at Ulithi, and from this base sailed for the preinvasion bombardment of Okinawa, where she threw harassing fire ashore during the night of 26 March. This initiated prolonged fire support and screening duty in the dangerous waters off Okinawa during which, in addition to invaluable aid to the troops, Callaghan joined in the sinking of a Japanese midget submarine and in the kill of three dive bombers.

On 9 July 1945, Callaghan took station on the embattled radar picket line, where on 28 July she drove off a biplane intent on suicide with well-directed fire, but the plane, skimming low and undetected, returned to strike Callaghan on the starboard side, It exploded and one of the plane's bombs penetrated the after engine room. The destroyer flooded, and the fires which ignited antiaircraft ammunition prevented nearby ships from rendering aid. Callaghan sank at 0235, 28 July 1945, with the loss of 47 members of her valiant crew.

Callaghan received eight battle stars for World War II service.


USS Callaghan, DD 792, at 23 knots, completion photo, 5 January 1944.

USS Callaghan DD 7921944 Ulithi

The night the USS Callaghan was sunk is described here by Bill Benton,
aboard the Callaghan, July 29th 1945.

My Story

By William Benton

The Callaghan DD-792

Meeting A Great Lady

Our names were being called all night, about 2 A.M., I was called to board a motor launch at a specific location. I made it to the launch and was taken to my ship. Up to this time I had no idea what ship I was going to. I was put aboard the U.S.S. Callaghan, D.D. 792. She was a fighting lady.

I must first tell you about the U.S.S. Callaghan. The U.S.S stands for United States Ship. The Name came from Rear Admiral Daniel Judson Callaghan, killed in action in a Naval battle at Guadalcanal, November 13th. 1942.

The U.S.S. Callaghan D.D. 792 was 376 feet and 6 inches in length. Weight displacement was 2050 Tons, We called them 2100 ton Fletcher Class. Our armament was five 5 inch 38'turrets. These guns would fire at targets 6 miles away. We had four twin 40 M.M. Two forward of the Bridge, one on the port side, mount 41, (my station) and one on the starboard side, mount 42. Two, just forward of mount four five inch, they were called mount 43 an ÷d mount 44. We had ten 21 inch Torpedo tubes. There were numerous 20 m.m. on both sides of the ship including the Fan Tail. We had a complement of 320 men, to make her go. And go she did. I have seen her up to 38 knots or just about 42 miles an hour over water. We could have pulled the entire crew on water skis. That is really moving 2100 tons.

The Destroyer was built by Bethlehem Steel Company, In San Pedro Calif.

The ship was launched on August 1st. 1943. The Callaghan Sailed from the West coast, February 5th. 1944. She was assigned to Fifth Fleet, The mission of the ship was to screen Aircraft Carrier strikes on Pala, Ulithi, and Woleai.

When I was put aboard, it was very early, still dark, and the watch detail did not have a place for me, until later. I was very tired, so I took my gear, found me a comfortable place in a coil of line and fell fast to sleep. Here I am in a strange place, knowing no one, and far away from home. I had no idea, what was going to happen next. It was a little frightening.

The stories I am going to tell you as far as I know, has never been told, or written about. Some of these stories can be verified from my Shipmates. Hear I am a boy of 18 and still learning about life. I feel I am walking in a dream. Our Skipper was only 34 and he had just found out he had became a father. We all congratulated him. We did have some older men, but being 18, I felt everyone was older than me.

There will be several terms, I will use in my stories, other than what they really are, I will explain.

Pogie Bait---Candy Bar Scuttlebutt---Drinking Fountain

Gee-Dunks---Ice Cream Scuttlebutt---Rumors

Banzis-------Suicide Planes Sh-t on a Shingle&emdash;Chipped Beef on toast

Sugar George--Surface Radar Sugar Charlie--Aircraft Radar

Deck--- Floor. Bulk …head---Wall. Hatch---Door.

There may be others and I will add to these as I run across them.

I was introduced to the First Class Sonar man. For the life of me, I can't remember his name. He was about 26 years old, tall and thin. He had a small mustache. He was a great guy and very pleasant to work with. He help me, by showing the ship and all departments. He answered all my questions and introduced me to all the personnel. I was assigned to C division. All personnel working in and around the Bridge are in this division. We would muster, at the starboard boat David.

My bunk assignment was in the mess hall, top bunk. It was great, If I had a watch, say twelve to four, I could stay in my bunk, look what was for breakfast, If I liked it and was hungry, I would get up. The bunks were four high. Each bunk was canvas bottom and a mattress would lay on this. You would have a sheet and a pillow case. a blanket to keep you warm. The temperature was always comfortable, and the smells coming from the galley would make you lie in your bunk and try to figure out what was cooking. There was a table just below me, and the three bunks under me were folded against the bulkhead when serving meals. My bunk was the only bunk left in the down position. Just above me, about 12 to 24 inches were covered steam lines, air ducts. electrical conduit and other lines to operate the ship. The steam lines were always warm and comfortable. This was my space. It was open with no curtains, like today, but it was my space. My locker was on the deck just below me. These lockers were aluminum and would open from the top. There were four of them. To get to your locker, you had to fold the bottom bunk against the bulkhead. If one of you shipmates was in bunk and he was asleep you waited until the bunk was free. You learn to live this way and respect each others privacy. We stood our watch, four on and eight off. This would keep you from being over worked and alert. On my watch there would be three Sonar men. We would stand 30 minutes on the helm and 30 minutes on Lookout, either on the wing of the Bridge or up on the flying Bridge. We would then move in the Sonar shack, this would be where we could have a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette. We would rotate every 30 minutes and your four hours, would go really fast. This was a great way to stand a watch. You didn't tire as easily, it kept you on your toes. While in the sonar shack you could do the things, like smoke, drink, and eat a snack as long as it did not interfere with the operation on the sonar gear.

When you went into the service, you gave up your privacies, in the showers and when you would go to relieve yourself. The shower stalls were all open, and going to relieve yourself was a conversation piece itself. In the crews head the were two troughs about 50 feet long each. These troughs had about 20 seats on them. The water was a continuous flushing of water. Everything was open, no modesty here. The water would run from one end of the trough to the other. Some jokers would light a piece of paper and float it down to singe the butt of some unsuspecting shipmate. I was new and many jokes were played on me. Shortly after this, I learn to play the game. I Became known as a practical joker. I never did anything that would harm or hurt anyone. But I did get even. This was always in fun. If you didn't have some of this, we would have gone nuts. I guess I have been called to General Quarters in about every situation, from the shower, on the thrown, and asleep. Now you must see why women were not on combat ships during the war. Can you imagine the problems we would have? Not that women couldn't handle a combat position, but they may be in the wrong position when General Quarters sounded.  


USS Callaghan DD 792
Letters


The memory of Harry Horn is kept by his three children: Virginia Horn Plaster, Harry Horn, and Helen Horn.


 

The Callaghan's 59th Reunion in Fenton, Mo. was an event I would not forget. My brother Harry, sister-in-law Barbara, and I went. I was very uptight about going to the unknown, after all, these men were in their late 70s and 80s and everything was a very long time ago. Well as it happens, there were a few Callaghan shipmates who never knew about the reunions over the years and it was their first reunion. I met a women who was like me, her father was killed in action when she was two years old also.

The woman who hosted the event, Norma Radeackar, was the survivor's sister. She and her husband managed the affair very nice. The first two nights the meetings started with entertainments. We had a day to the Harrah's Casino if we wish and many of us went. Many of us were not very lucky and some (like me) was very lucky. I invested $5.00 into a five cents slot machine and won $200.00 in one hour! I took the money and ran. Some of us went to the city of St. Louis and saw the "Arch." The Arch was very impressive and so was the city of St. Louis. St. Louis is the city of parks, and beautiful parks they have. I was quite impress.

The third day was supposed to been "Weath-Laying-Ceremony" but was cancelled for the next day. It rained. The evening reception was a little more formal and the theme was "Remembrance of the Shipmates" for those who did not survived. First, LCDR L. Peter Wren, (Ret), Richmond, Va was the Guest Speaker. He is the author of two books: "Those in Peril on the Sea" -1999 and "We Were There" - 2002.

The "Memorial Service" and "Two Bell Ceremony" were the next two agenda and was beautifully orchestrated. Two women from the Navy Department, (Lieutenants and one was the hostess' niece), named the non-survivors while the other rang the bell twice after each names announced. It got quite emotional for me. I realized every year the survivors would do this and never felt so honored. This ceremony finally put a closure to the fact that my Dad was finally buried. It was as if I attended my Dad's funeral at last. My family had gotten a memorial plot at the Beverly's Veterans Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey and I always felt content with it. The Two Bell Ceremony actually felt it was a small private funeral for me.

The final agenda for the evening was "In Remembrance." The Association presented Harry (my brother), Pasty McCoy, and I each a plate with our father's name on it, ship's name, and date of death, etc. Gee, who would ever have thought to honor us like that. It was amazing!

The last day (4th) was the "Weath Ceremony" which almost did not happened. The morning was pouring, but the afternoon was a beautiful day as if had never rained. I was glad because there were those who were in wheel chairs, some just about could walk, and few other things. It could not happened on a better day, for it was the hostess' brother birthday.

The reunion in summary: Two members met for the first time in 59 years, three children went for the first time to honor their father, two survivors attended the reunion for the first time, friendships made, and learned success of some survivors - one of them has a son whose is the Senator of Missouri: Senator Christopher S. Bond. It was a very interesting journey and glad I went. I often wondered about the survivors and they always wondered about us.

The 60th reunion will be held at Bath, Maine in September. The host is Mr. Wally Brunton. I think I will make that journey too.:)

Note: As you know, there were a few survivors who passed away since last year. One of the survivors was the Japanese who blew the ship Callaghan. Over the years, the man had become successful and some how became associated with the Callaghan's survivors, in fact he became an honorary member. 

Sincerely,

Helen Horn
Helen Horn

 


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