SOUTH CHINA SEA - On April 14, 1945, a kamikaze plane struck the destroyer USS Sigsbee (DD 502) during the battle of Okinawa, killing 23 Sailors and causing extensive damage to the ship.
The same day, 71 years later, Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung- Hoon (DDG 93) operating in the South China Sea, ensured what happened aboard Sigsbee is never forgotten.
At the time of the attack, Sigsbee was under the command of Cmdr. Pai’ea Chung-Hoon. Chung-Hoon received the Navy Cross and Silver Star for his heroic efforts while serving as commanding officer from May 1944 to October 1945. USS Chung-Hoon is named in honor of Rear Adm. Chung-Hoon.
"It's an honor to serve aboard Chung-Hoon and to try to live up to the legacy of the crew of USS Sigsbee,” said Cmdr. Tom Ogden, commanding officer of Chung-Hoon. “It's our job to always remember those heroes that have come before us, and to tell their story to future generations of Sailors."
During the attack, Sigsbee suffered extensive damage to its port engine and a complete loss of steering control. The ship was towed to Guam for repair and then towed back to Pearl Harbor. Sigsbee was finally decommissioned on March 31, 1947 in Charleston, S.C.
“Being aboard USS Chung-Hoon is something I am proud of,” said Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 2nd Class Cody Goldizen, a native of Riverton, W. Va. “I am serving in the light shining forth from the accomplishments and sacrifices of the crew of USS Sigsbee, and I am forever grateful.”
During the ceremony, Chung-Hoon Sailors gave a 21-gun salute and committed 23 flowers to the sea in honor of those 23 fallen Sigsbee Sailors who lost their lives.
Ogden spoke about why it was important that Chung-Hoon Sailors remember the sacrifice of all who served aboard Sigsbee.
“As we take time tonight to remember the heroes of our past and continue to forge the next links in the chain of our naval heritage, we must remember that we are a critical part of that chain,” said Ogden. “We are all committed to the task at hand, be it damage control after a Kamikaze attack, or the daily maintenance check you have done 90 days in a row. Take time to remember Sigsbee’s sacrifice and strive to live up to their heroic example.”
Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Chung- Hoon is operating as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.