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Dedicated to the men who manned the ships
and the embarked composite squadrons
of Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy III)
on October 25, 1944

 

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Online since June 4, 1996

BOSAMAR logo:  USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE 73)
takes a pounding 
from the IJN heavy cruiser CHIKUMA

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COPYRIGHT © 1976 UNITED STATES NAVAL INSTITUTE

U.S.S. GAMBIER BAY (CVE 73)
"The Final Hour"
By C. G. Evers

 

Dye-colored splashes of shells fired by
Japanese battleships straddle the
escort carrier on 25 October 1944,
during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.


USED BY PERMISSION

In remembrance;
for action against the
Imperial Japanese Navy Centre Force
on October 25, 1944

Taffy III lost in action; 898 gallant men

"The high degree of skill, the unflinching courage, the inspired determination to go down fighting, of the officers and men under my command cannot be too highly praised."

Action Report - Rear Admiral C.A.F. "Ziggy" Sprague, U.S. Navy

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19 Comments
Added by Robert Coleman
May 22, 2012

Just finished reading James Hornfischer's "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors". What an outstanding piece of work on the Battle off Samar and Leyte Gulf in general.

Great website.

Thanks
Added by Burkesister
June 22, 2012

My brother, Nelson H Burke (aka Jack) USS KALININ BAY (CVE-68) was in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He survived Kamikaze strikes, helped extinguish fire down below, saving many of his shipmates. He received multiple awards and was a very proud retired Sailor but never one to discuss much about those horrible times. We love him dearly even though he passed away a few years ago.
Added by Anonymous
July 2, 2012

What our brave sailors did w/so few ships (6 escort carriers, 3 destroyers & the destroyer escorts) is simply amazing! Especially the Johnston, blown apart & still sailing straight into such a superior IJN force. It's no wonder her captain was awarded the Medal of Honor. Also, what a great tribute that a Japanese commander saluted the US men & ship as an enemies show of respect for an incredible fight! This, along with Midway, is my 2 favorite WWII stories.
Added by Robert, Buenos Aires.
August 3, 2012

I've read and studied this feat with admiration. The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors became my favorite book. GREAT SITE!
Added by Rick Carr
August 16, 2012

Thank you for these fantastic photos. Had a relative aboard the Samuel B. Roberts, his name was Paul Henry Carr. He was killed in the battle and went down with the ship. These photos help keep his memory and those of our other sailors alive.

Webmaster: See info about Paul Henry Carr in Chapter 10 of my online book.
http://www.bosamar.com/pages/bosc10
Added by macdaddy
January 1, 2013

My father was fcr2c aboard the Heermann, and never talked about this to anyone, after he passed I was amazed when I saw the documentary the last of the tin can soldiers. What a horrendous confrontation that was, god rest his soul.
Added by S D Elmes
January 13, 2013

I lost my uncle Norman Peden on the USS Johnston.
Added by wayne
January 31, 2013

I'm in my second reading of "The Las Stand of the Tin Can Sailors." Great book and a great source of pride to this old Tin Can Sailor. Today I was at Staples getting some ink cartridges for my printer. When I got out of my vehicle the man in the next car opened his door and said "hello Navy," noting my Navy Retired ball cap. We chatted for a short time and he began to tell me of his Navy time, on board the Gambier Bay, his name was Earnest Claude "Buddy" Burney. We discussed the Battle off Samar during the Leyte Campaign, me of my book learning and he of his personal experience. He told me of his abandoning ship and spending three days in the water before rescue. A miraculous meeting in Crestview, FL so far away from that Battle. Buddy is a real gentleman and we had a great time, one old sailor with another. Different generations perhaps but still "Ship Mates."
Added by Allen A. Hesson
February 2, 2013

My cousin, Earl E. Hesson, was on the Gambier Bay that day. He told of abandoning ship & the survivors time in the water before rescue. He also said that when the shelling first started, some of the Jap shells went right through the ship without exploding as the Japs thought they were shelling a ship with heavier armament.
Added by walvir1
September 12, 2013

My father served aboard the Kitkun Bay CVE71 in the battle of Leyte Gulf. I was wondering if there are any sailors still alive who were aboard the Kitkun Bay.
Added by jeffrey
November 22, 2013

My father was aboard the White Plains cve-66 he passed away at the first reunion for this ship if anyone knew Charles Lee during his service, please let me know, thank you and god bless all you brave gentlemen.
Added by Anonymous
March 18, 2014

wooowww this is perfect thanks. I'm doing a report with pictures.

Webmaster: Please credit this website.
Added by Anonymous
October 22, 2014

as we are coming up on the 70th anniversary of the Battle off Samar,and the other events of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, I am praying for the souls of the brave Americans who died in this campaign, for the deceased veterans of this action, and the living veterans who may feel sad or forgotten. And I pray for my country, under attack by enemies more sinister and clandestine than even the Japanese.And a thought to a brief friendship I had with Luther Oliver, who was a seaman on the USS St. Lo. Randy Routt
Added by jj-juju
November 30, 2014

My brother Jesse E. Jones served on the Kitkun Bay during the Battle off Samar/Taffy III at Leyte Gulf, and my sister married 30 yrs later, Glennon J. Walsh of the Kalinin Bay who also was there during this epic battle where so many gave their all. Jesse and Glenn met at My other brothers funeral and started talking about being retired navy and then found they both were in this battle of two mighty navy's. They became instant friends and and were close til Jesse's death Sept. 2014. Glenn is in poor health still fighting a gallent fight against many ailments in St. Louis Mo., Glenn stayed in touch and went to all of his reunions, He still loves each and everyone of his shipmates. May We All Remember These Men, Who we are losing with each day from time. Jesse's Burial flag hangs in my home and when I pass it will be stationed in the Prosser Wa. V.F.W. wall in a place of Honor.
Added by Oldest Son
December 3, 2014

My father, Joseph (Joe) Carlino (Gunners Mate 2C)served on several of the CVE's including Gambier Bay, Kalinin Bay, White Plains as he helped with the fitting of the 5" guns as I recall. He was there on one of them CVE66 I believe when the battle started. He passed away 2 1/2 years ago and I never could really get him to talk in depth about his experiances. If anyone knew him or can help me find out where he was that morning I'd like to pass this on to my family. Thanks
Added by Abie the Boats - USS Bearss DD-654
December 19, 2014

I'm a Korean War tin can sailor and have read of the heroic defense made by the destroyers of Taffy III in more than one source. But, this is the best set of photos of the battle that I've seen. My pride in these brave destroyer men is only tempered by the loss of so many of my shipmates in this action. They'll not be forgotten.
Added by Anonymous
December 23, 2014

I was on the William C Lawe DD763--- 59 to 62. I salute Taffy 3
Bravo Zulu
Don Taliento BT2
Added by kcoates
December 26, 2014

My great uncle Rexford Landers was aboard the USS Hoel. My dad (his nephew) remembers sitting at the kitchen table with him before he left for duty. It was the last time my dad saw him.
Added by Appywriter46
January 26, 2015

My cousin Scott Brown volunteered for service in March of 1944 and was assigned to the USS Gambier Bay in August of that year. He was only a Seaman 2C and I doubt he had the opportunity to make a lot of friends before the battle. However, if there still may be anyone among the survivors still living that remember him, I would very much appreciate hearing from them. Scott left a wife and two children, with only one child still living.
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