Lieut. Archie R. Fields Tells of Daring Battle

The following article appeared in the Mountain Eagle newspaper on March 18, 1943

The stories of men in action and the horrors or modern warfare are never brought home so closely to us as when heard from the lips of one of our own acquaintance.

This story comes from Lt. Archie Reid Fields who was on the Destroyer USS DeHaven DD-469. "We were underway on a sunny afternoon in the Solomons area when air raid alert was sounded; crews immediately went to battle stations. Jap planes appeared a formation of dive bombers at low level and two-motored bombers at high level. The dive bombers at high level plunged at the DeHaven and attacked in succession, in spite of heavy defensive fire. Meanwhile, defending Marine Corps fighters were engaging the larger formations at high altitude. In about 10 minutes of furious fighting, all the attacking Jap planes were shot down, but not before several direct hits by large bombs were made on the ship.

The ship sank rapidly trapping a number of officers and men below decks.

Lt. Fields slipped into the water and swam through the oily waters 100 feet to a raft. Through wounded in the foot and in great danger Lt. Fields was conscious of the loss of his academy ring which slipped from his fingers as he swam through the oily waters. Both Japs and American men were drowning side by side. Lt. Fields talked to a survivor who saw a Jap flyer going under water and as his life slipped away he shook his fist in bitter hatred of the Americans.

Lt. Fields observed that the Japs are fearless of death, daring, and will take a chance from which they have no hope of escape in order to destroy the enemy.

After a two weeks leave, Lt. Fields will go to Dallas., Texas for two months primary pilot training. Later he will report for duty a Pensacola, Florida, to receive training in the Naval Air Corps. Lt. Fields says he hopes in his next engagement to repay the Jap, with bombs, for the loss of his ship and shipmates.

 

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