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Inside Ten Days: A tribute to the men of the USS Columbia CL-56
By Carl David Adams
Privately published, 2006, 22 min., DVD

Calvin Adams, a 19-year-old crewman of the light cruiser Columbia (CL-56), was blown overboard when a kamikaze aircraft carrying a 250-kg bomb hit the ship in Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines at 7:45 on the morning of January 9, 1945. The kamikaze attack killed 24 and wounded 97 men. On March 17, 1945, his mother received a telegram that her son Calvin was missing in action, and his remains were never recovered.

Carl Adams, the oldest son of Calvin's younger brother Russell, became interested in Calvin's history when he attended the first memorial service honoring him in May 1997 at the cemetery next to Bethel Methodist Church in Mount Vernon, Texas. In March 1944 while home on leave after joining the Navy in November 1943, Calvin became engaged to his sweetheart Alma Lee Scroggins. When Carl heard the story of his uncle and saw a photograph taken in March 1944 of Calvin and Alma Lee together on an outing when they stopped at Bethel Church, he became interested in writing a song about their love story.

This privately created DVD emotionally depicts the love story of Calvin and Alma Lee, his tragic death, and the interest of his family decades after his death. The narrator tells the history through a series of still photographs. Carl Adams started in 1997 on a song but did not get very far until he found out more in 2005 about the history of the light cruiser Columbia (CL-56) through the members and web site of USS Columbia CL-56 Association. He found out that just over three quarters of Columbia crewmen who died during World War II did so within the first ten days of 1945, so "inside ten days" became the title and hook line for a song that he quickly completed about not just his uncle Calvin but all of the crewmen aboard Columbia who died during the first ten days of 1945.

The DVD's end has the song "Inside Ten Days" with the following lyrics. Carl Adams, an amateur songwriter and singer, sings the slow-paced touching song while various news clips are shown.

1) 1944 turned out
To be the best year of our lives.
The end of a war in sight
Our love so alive.
But that New Year came in like
One big dark scary haze.
And our '45 ended
Inside of ten days.

Chorus #1:
Now I am forever young.
I am forever gone.
Now our forever love
Can live on and on.
Divine wind-kamikaze.
One dark deadly haze
And our '45 ended
Inside of ten days.

2) From the fires of Peal Harbor
To that Lingayen Bay
Her crew and Columbia had known
Only glory and praise.
But that New Year came in like
One big dark deadly haze.
As three-fourths of her losses came
Inside those ten days.

Chorus #2:
Now they're all forever young
They're all forever gone
Their love for their country lives
On and on.
Divine wind-kamikaze
One dark deadly haze.
And all their '45s ended
Inside those ten days.

Chorus #3:
Forever young
Forever gone
Loved by their country
From now on.
Divine wind-kamikaze
One dark deadly haze.
And all their '45s ended
Inside ten days.

The mother of Calvin Adams kept her son's Purple Heart Medal until her death in 1976. When she passed away, it was given to Alma Lee, who lived in Dallas and had married after finding out about Calvin's death. In 2005 when Carl Adams was researching Calvin's history to prepare a documentary, she sent Calvin's Purple Heart Medal to him for use in telling his uncle's history. She passed away in February 2006 before she could hear the song that Carl had written.

Two kamikaze aircraft also attacked the light cruiser Columbia on January 6, 1945, three days before Calvin Adams lost his life in another kamikaze attack. The first plane crashed close to the ship after clipping off an antenna. The second plane caused heavy damage when its bomb exploded. In the second attack the ship lost 13 men, and 44 men were wounded.

Columbia continued to fight after the kamikaze plane attacks on both January 6 and 9, 1945, but the ship had to return to California for repairs after the invasion of Lingayen Gulf. The men of Columbia earned a Navy Unit Commendation for outstanding heroism during the Lingayen operation. Carl discovered that the 1952 documentary series Victory at Sea shows the actual kamikaze attack on Columbia on January 9, which he shared with relatives and members of the USS Columbia CL-56 Association.

Related Web Page
  • Burt, Kamikaze Nightmare - Story about Pete Burt, who was on board Columbia during the three kamikaze hits. He had been transferred to Columbia after his ship, escort carrier Ommaney Bay (CVE-79), sank when hit by a Japanese kamikaze aircraft on January 4, 1945.