By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mikey Mulcare, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det.
PACIFIC OCEAN - A ceremony to honor those who fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf was held on the Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85), Aug. 4.
The ceremony, led by McCampbell’s chief petty officer selectees, included a narration of the key events of the battle and called for a moment of silence in remembrance of those lost in battle.
The ceremony especially hit home for the crew of McCampbell. Cmdr. David McCampbell, the ships namesake and an F-6F Hellcat fighter pilot, fought in the battle in 1944 and was awarded several awards and commendation as a result.
“During the battle of Layte Gulf in the waters around Cebu, the same water we now sail upon, assisted by only Ensign Roy Rushing, Cmdr. McCampbell broke up a large group of Japanese fighters headed for USS Essex,” said Electrician’s Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Youssef Saab, a speaker for the ceremony.
During the conflict unaided McCampbell and Rushing were able to shoot down a total of 14 enemy aircraft in the course of one morning, potentially saving the lives of their own crew.
“There were many scarifies and moments of unimaginable bravery, a testament to what Sailors are capable of,” said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Edward Stasny. “Those acts of heroism took place in these very waters we sail in today the Sailors who fought here will be forever memorialized.”
Leyte Gulf is a body of water east of the Filipino island of Leyte, where allied forces fought the Imperial Japanese Navy. Losses on the allied side totaled 3,000 casualties, one light carrier, two escort carriers, two destroyers, one destroyer escort and more than 200 aircraft. The battle is consider to be a crucial turning point in World War II.
McCampbell is one of seven Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers attached to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is currently underway in the Western Pacific.