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"My beaching station was the stern steering engine room. The escape hatch from the steering engine room was open and when the Jerries opened up on us the tracers from the four barrel 20mm up on the high bank put out enough shells to highlight the complete fantail. Ohe M0MM2/c was ready to drop the winch anchor when ordered. The 20mm's opened up before the order came and he was badly wounded. As a result, our stern anchor was not dropped and we broached.
Stark QM/2c was in the con. An armor piercing 20mm hit him in the shoulder. He died of blood loss and shock. Mace was on the wheel and a 20mm hit him in the chest. I can recall (I had the head phones on) the sound that he made as the round hit him. It was armor piercing. It came through the front of the pilot house, killed Mace, exited the back part gouged a dent in the deck and kept on going.
Pinky S2/c was on starboard ramp, an explosive 20mm got him on the helmet. His brains were splattered on the steel close to the ramp. Our Exec. (Palmer in the con) was also wounded.
Moore and Rice manned the bow 20mm. How they survived the concentrated flak is a miracle. while still not close to the beach Moore fired back and killed the Jerries manning the 4 barrel 20mm. Moore would fire, drop down and Rice would slam on another ammo drum on the 20mm.
After broaching we were pounded with mortar rounds. The captain commanding the 3rd Division troops aboard was riddled with shrapnel and died on the deck in front of the pilot house. I remember so well his wallet contained photos of his wife and small children. Still get teary eyed to think of it.
In the context of the great war, the landing at Licata beach played a small part, to the shipmates of mine that died there, we are forever to remember that they are forever young.
Looking back on those events I can almost come to the conclusion that we were deployed to draw fire before the rest of the LCIs hit the beach. The LCI's were one behind the other, sailing along when the LCI-1 turned to starboard and proceeded to conquer Sicily all by her lonesome.
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