Mighty Midget U.S.S. LCS 82
by John Rooney
Second edition, originally published in 1990
Privately published, 2001, 202 pages
U.S.S. LCS (Landing Craft, Support) 82 encountered fierce kamikaze attacks on
two separate days in May 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa. The crew of 6
officers and 63 men escaped damage, but destroyers at the same radar picket
stations as LCS 82 suffered heavy damage and loss of life. The idea for this book
came from a 1988 reunion of the National Association of U.S.S. LCS(L) 1-130.
John Rooney, radioman aboard LCS 82 from the time of her commissioning in
November 1944, gathered the recollections from over 20 crewmates and weaved them
together into a chronological history of the ship.
More than half of the book consists of reminiscences of LCS 82's former crewmen, and the remainder gives a basic ship
history, comments by Rooney, and a few official documents such as deck logs for
selected dates. The only photo other than the one on the cover is a blurry photo
of LCS 82 in Tokyo Bay. The crewmen's stories sometimes cover the same events,
but they provide insights into individual emotions as they faced enemy attacks
by air and sea. Captain Peter Beierl provides extensive comments and excellent
background descriptions in addition to personal anecdotes.
On May 11, 1945, in the chapter entitled "Suicide Alley," LCS 82 was at Radar
Picket Station 15 together with the destroyers Evans (DD-552) and Hadley
(DD-774) and with three other amphibious support craft. Over fifty kamikaze
aircraft attacked the ships with their focus being the larger destroyers. Four
kamikaze aircraft got through the fierce antiaircraft fire to hit Evans, and
another three hit Hadley. Gunners on LCS 82 shot down three incoming planes and
assisted on two others. LCS 82 escaped harm that day but had a very close call
as described by Captain Beierl (pp. 106-7):
Both tincans [destroyers] took a lot of evasive maneuvers, as they
managed to shoot down a record number of attacking planes. The four small
Amphibs of their screen picked off a few planes too, but were threatened
less than the more attractive big DD targets. We screen stuck fairly close
together, racing to try to keep close to the larger pickets. Our own ship
had two very close calls. The first was a Tony, overhead at a thousand feet
or less when we shot off his tail. At first this seemed a good thing, but
then, as the plane went into a flat spin - falling leaf style - everyone
topside seemed to realize that the aircraft was rapidly getting bigger, but
not changing bearing. On deck the aft damage control party rushed forward -
and the forward one rushed aft. On the bridge, someone ordered "full speed
ahead" in a voice which must have betrayed a trace of strain. It caused a
few nervous moments for those below, unable to see what was going on. The
extra speed was just enough, and the Tony crashed into the water right in
our wake - too close, but a miss.
LCS 82 helped save Evans as men pumped flooded engine and boiler rooms,
brought aboard wounded and dead, and assisted in shooting down a kamikaze Val
diving at the destroyer dead in the water.
On May 27, 1945, in the chapter entitled "Hell for Breakfast," LCS 82
assisted again when two kamikaze aircraft crashed into the destroyer Braine
(DD-630). LCS 82 crewmen fought fires aboard Braine and pulled survivors out of
We recovered one who had not made it, hanging pale and lifeless in his
Mae West, a leg torn away, the other arm gone, gutted by the sharks. He had
escaped the terror of incineration on his ship.
The horror and revulsion, the anger and wrenching pity we felt had to be
swept aside by the urgent need to react quickly to all that was happening.
Our feelings of shock and compassion would have to be dealt with later when
the skies were quiet, the wounded and dead taken care of and the fires and
damage under control. In time the shock and horror would pass. The pity
We machine-gunned the sharks. In their mindless savagery they started
tearing each other apart, this time turning the ocean crimson with their own
LCS 82 not only did picket station duty but also guarded Okinawan harbor
perimeters and provided artillery support for the ground campaign on the island.
One chapter describes a night when an explosive-filled suicide motorboat, called
a "skunk" by the US Navy, barely missed LCS 82, but the ship's gunners managed
to sink it moving away from the ship after its near miss.
Mighty Midget U.S.S. LCS 82 provides valuable firsthand accounts of kamikaze attacks and damage during the Battle of Okinawa from the perspective of
the crew of an amphibious support craft.