Flight Ops

Flight Ops

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Film: A Salute to the Silent Service - "The Growler Story" (1958)

Featuring one of truly heroic acts in American Naval history - Commander Gilmore and his "Take her down" order:

His Medal of Honor citation:
Medal of Honor Citation for Commander Howard W. Gilmore
For distinguished gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding
Officer of the USS Growler during her Fourth War Patrol in the Southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943. Boldly striking at the enemy in spite of continuous hostile air and antisubmarine patrols, CDR Gilmore sank one Japanese freighter and damaged another by torpedo fire, successfully evading severe depth charges following each attack. In the darkness of night on 7 February, an enemy gunboat closed range and prepared to ram the Growler. CDR Gilmore daringly maneuvered to avoid the crash and rammed the attacker instead, ripping into her port side at 11 knots and bursting wide her plates. In the terrific fire of the sinking gunboat’s heavy machineguns, CDR Gilmore calmly gave the order to clear the bridge, and refusing safety for himself, remained on deck while his men preceded him below. Struck down by the fusillade of bullets and having done his utmost against the enemy, in his final living moments, CDR Gilmore gave his last order to the officer of the deck, “Take her down.” The Growler dived; seriously damaged but under control, she was brought safely to port by her well-trained crew inspired by the courageous fighting spirit of their dead captain.

Drawing by Fred Freeman from the Naval History and Heritage Command collection.

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