By: "Pops" Lindmo, Radio Operator, U.S.S. Harris, (A.P.A. 2) 4.3.45
The Harris made another invasion,
So I'll do the best I can,
To tell what I saw at Okinawa,
In the Ryukyus just south of Japan.
It's hard for the average person,
Not seeing such an invasion,
To just realize the tremendous size
Of a modern day invasion.
Many a day before that "H" hour
After sound and good preparations,
Bombers galore are bombing the shore
To wreak all the Jap installations.
There are Mine Sweepers and P.O.Boats,
All out there before that day,
Spreading their times, and catching the mines
To clear them all from the Bay.
It's a sight to see upon that morn
That the troops are going to land.
Transport Ships and Cargo Ships
And G.C.s of the command.
There's many a Battleship along with us,
Lots of Cruisers and Cans:
There's LSV's and LSD's
And hundreds of LSM's.
There's LCI's, that rocket ship
And the important LST's
There's LCC's and APD's
And the fast and speedy PT's.
The LCV's that carry the troops,
There's hundreds and hundreds of them.
They mill around like ducks on a pond
Along with the LCM's.
Over the horizon like a ring of steel,
Are the Task Force and Carrier ships,
Out there lie to clear up the sky
Of all the incoming "Nips."
There's Hell Divers and TBF's
And the fighting Navy Corsair,
With the fighting Wild Cat and mighty Hell Cat
Are constantly out in the air.
Along towards dawn outside the beach
All the ships and convoy are in,
Cruisers and Cans according to plans
Let loose as the battle begins.
Sixteen inchers of the Battleships,
The Cruisers sixes and eights:
When they let go with a big salvo
The hatches of the ship vibrates.
Hour after hour throughout the dawn
They keep up the booming roar,
The shells all fly, thru the darken sky,
Burst their fury on the shore.
While this goes on "1A" is set
So there is action all about.
The winches scream with hissing steam
As the boats are ready to go out.
The LCVP's of the Transport ships
Are lowered and ready to go,
As group after group of the landing troops
Go to the boats below.
The LCM's are loaded with gear,
Like Jeeps and trucks and tanks,
They carry the gear of the Army Engineer,
To help the invading Yanks.
They rendezvous wave by wave,
As far as the eye can reach,
As it was planned the boats are manned
And ready to hit the beach.
You'd have to be there with "H" hour near
As the final barrage is begun,
Just to realize how those LCI's
Tear loose with their rocket guns.
The first wave then starts for the beach,
The ramps are dropped on the shore,
Running they go and none of them know
Just what is to be held in store.
An observation plane keeps circling around,
The Kingfisher of the Cruiser ships,
Watching and spying, reporting and trying
To locate the batteries of "Nips".
Bombers and Strafers are high over head,
Flying and waiting they go,
The peel off and dive, they bomb and strafe
To break up resistance below.
All day long this procedure goes on
As we are unloading the ships,
The LCM's and LSM's
Are making trip after trip.
Along towards dusk they sound G.Q.
The Jap planes are coming in,
Everyone runs to man all the guns
And wait for the attack to begin.
With flash gear on, they man the guns
And wait for the planes to arrive,
The thought at their post that bothers them most
Is that Japanese suicide dive.
Then, finally, all hell breaks loose
As thousands of guns open fire,
The tracers streak high and cover the sky
But still the planes don't retire.
One came in and dropped his bombs
He missed and then made a turn,
They caught him square as banked up there
And dropped n the sea to burn.
Shells are bursting, a plane is over head,
Tracers just cover the bay,
His bombs are dropped and it seems he's stopped,
As he hovers over his prey.
He banks and starts into his dive
At hundreds of miles per hour,
Shells are raining and guns are blazing
With all of their shooting power.
On and on this diver comes,
His target the ship's huge frame,
There's a mighty crash and a blinding flash
And the ship is all a flame.
Many a plane are thus shot down
But all of them gave a try,
To hit a ship on their last trip
Before they burn up and die.
I've told no tale of bloodshed or death
Or suffering that these men have seen,
Right from the start they all did their part,
The Soldier, the Sailor, the Marine.
At last night comes at Okinawa,
A beach head has been made,
But the horrible cost of lives that were lost
Is one that will never be paid.
This was sent to me by Gary Priolo from NavSource - it came from Celest Viale:
Attached is the poem “Okinawa Invasion”. I am sending it re-typed (exactly as the original). Due to its length( 32 verses), paper size, and fading type, it would not scan well. I believe that “Pops” Lindmo, was Oscar Lindmo of Hennipin, MN. I have not been able to confirm this yet, but since he was born in 1905 his age would have been such that it would earn him that nickname.
I found this poem in a duty roster book which also lists all the travels of the Harris beginning with 4.24.43 “S.O. of San Francisco for Norpac” and ending with a bold entry of 4.30.45 “Landed in San Francisco, Cal.” An entry for 9.13.43 states “Crossed Equator for the first time.” A year later on 9.22.44 the entry is “crossed the Equator for the 14th time”.
I’m so thankful that my dad treasured these things for all these years.