Remembering a Lighthouse from WWII
Many stories told to me and books relating to lighthouses have intrigued me. The source seems limitless, thanks in part to Lighthouse Digest; therefore, may I share an unusual experience concerning a lighthouse during World War II?
While aboard the USS Sands, APD 13, in the company of Mine Squadron 2, we approached Leyte Gulf in the Phillipines, October 17, 1944: four days prior to D-Day. On Suluan Island, at the mouth of the Gulf, was located a lighthouse with a garrison of 32 Japanese soldiers, equipped with radio and radar. Japanese lookouts at the lighthouse, sighting our forces, broadcast a prompt warning to Toyko. The cruiser USS Denver shelled the lighthouse for 20 minutes; followed by the landing of the 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion in a 60 knot wind, incessant rain squalls and a rising sea. Their objective was to look for mine charts at the lighthouse, but they found none. As a result of the storm, boats in which the troops landed were broached and wrecked. The next day, October 18th, the Rangers were taken off Suluan Island by boats from our ship and returned to the USS Crosby from which they had debarked the previous day. I was a coxswain on one of the boats. My story could continue relative to this operation, some of crisis proportions but is not associated with my favorite subject-Lighthouses.
Joseph C. Heim
Lighthouse Hobby includes the Lawn
First let me tell you, THANKS, so much for Lighthouse Digest. I savor every article for more information on our beloved lighthouses. Two years ago, my husband and I started touring the Great Lakes lighthouses - what an adventure! We now collect miniatures of them and have an extensive photo album. The enclosed photo is of our 5 1/2 foot lighthouse which is our pride and joy. We saw it while returning home, going through Eagle River, Wisconsin. We painted it up, replaced the white rope and put lights in the tower. With a timer, it comes on at dusk and goes off at dawn, Of course, we secured it with a chain, being one of only two in town. Thanks again for Lighthouse Digest and my chance to show my own (small) lighthouse.
It Better not be Recycled!
Just a note of thanks for having a very entertaining publication. It gives me a real "Downeast" feeling every month I receive the magazine. It has actually gotten to the point where if I don't receive it the same time every month, I ask my wife if she recycled it by mistake. We stop by the store every trip to Maine, while we investigate where we would like to move and live.
In response to your editorial regarding the status of the plan to save Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, I wrote letters to my two state Senators, Congressmen, and to Newt Gingrich, as well as to Hugh Morton's committee.
I enjoy your magazine and look forward to its arrival each month. I am always curious to see if I can identify the lighthouse on the cover and whether or not it is a light my husband and I have already visited. I enjoy each and every article, especially the personal remembrances of those who worked, or whose spouses worked as a lighthouse keeper, or whose parents were keepers. Yours is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover.
Editors Note: Our thanks go out to the hundreds of you that wrote to us to let us know you had written to your Congressional representatives on saving the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, however, the battle is far from over. Please, If you haven't done so yet, write to your Congressmen.
Wants Museum in Staten Island
I have been reading the articles in Lighthouse Digest concerning the National Lighthouse Museum in the past few issues. I support having the museum in the old U.S. Lighthouse Service Depot on Staten Island. I agree with all the letters and articles supporting this site. While Maine, Michigan and other places may have more lighthouses than New York, the volume of tourists from around the world visiting New York is considerably greater than many other, if not all the other places. Because of this fact, the museum, might create more enthusiasm for lighthouses in people who didn't have an interest in them before visiting the lighthouse museum. I think more people from around the world would find out about the museum and visit it, if the museum is in the New York City area.
Contrary to the letter in the February 1998 issue, it is not difficult to get to. There are hotels on Staten Island. Maybe most people don't realize it is one of the five boroughs of New York City and a free ferry ride from downtown Manhatten. Most of the Staten Island ferries are able to carry cars. The subway offers a fast, cheap and relatively safe way to get to the ferry terminal. You won't even have to worry about traffic.
I would also like to add that New York Harbor and the region has its fair share of lighthouses to view. The historic buildings that would house the museum need some work, but I can't think of a more appropriate place to house lighthouse artifacts. I hope many people will join the others and myself in supporting the old Lighthouse Depot on Staten Island as the site for the museum.
This story appeared in the
June 1998 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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