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


Welcome shipmate!
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Online since June 4, 1996

takes a pounding 
from the IJN heavy cruiser CHIKUMA




"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.


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

Comments have been enabled on the bottom of the page 
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.

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.
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.
Added by Clark Davis- son of Donald A Davis DD532
March 30, 2015

I heard about this battle while hiding, as my dad read from an illegal Diary he kept as a front 5" gunner on DD532, Heermann (Destroyer X in news reports). I know an 8" round went thru both sides, blowing his bunk out to sea. The way he spoke, it was an order given unhappily by the Admiral as he knew he was sending the ships to Davey's Locker. I heard how the 18" rounds from the Yamato sounded while flying above the ship (they were so close Yamato could not lower it guns low enough. In short, what a horrific battle. Any naval records sites or other places for info appreciated. My Dad kept a written Diary (illegal during the war but he finally took it to a reunion 30 yrs ago. He died from asbestos cancer 10 yrs ago. The notebook was not found. Any help appreciated. Thank you.
Added by Anonymous
April 18, 2015

My Father Walter Wright was on the USS Gambier Bay, he was a survivor. My heart breaks every time I see a picture of the USS Gambier Bay being sunk, just to know my dad was inside the ship while the pictures were being taken. As most have said their loved one did not talk about that time, my dad did not either. When I would say to him he was my Hero, he would say "no not me, the boy's who did not come home are the Hero's". I just want to thank all of you who serviced or are sill servicing our country.

Added by Richard Lee Johnson
April 21, 2015

My father, Marcus Eugene Johnson (621 96 61) served aboard the KINKUN BAY (CVE-71). Dad enlisted August 26 1943 and celebrated his 18th birthday September 18 that same year. Dad wasn't one to talk about his war experience, however he kept a picture of his ship mounted on the wall directly in his view. I know he thought of the Battle Off Samar a great deal. Dad passed on September 29, 1998. For myself and my siblings we Thank You so very much for this work!
Added by Michael
May 16, 2015

Thanks so much for sharing those photographs. I probably read about the Battle of Samar when I was a child, and I'm like 60 now, so a very long time ago. I didn't mind reading about then or now, but I sure am glad I wasn't there to experience it personally.

It is recorded that the White Plains's lone 5-inch gun scored a hit on the Japanese heavy cruiser Chokai, which it had a running duel with, and which detonated the torpedoes in Chokais' torpedo battery and taking her out of action, and which subsequently caused the loss of the Chokai the following day to aircraft from the Escort Carrier Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) of Taffy 2.

I guess things have a way of working out, but it sure would have been interesting to have seen what a dueling battle with the USS Iowa or New Jersey might have brought had Halsey just left one of the two behind.
Added by Anonymous
June 26, 2015

I am reading the Last Stand Of The Tin Can Sailors and it is my favorite book. I love reading about naval engagements and am really impressed by all the pictures of the battle.
Added by Anonymous
July 12, 2015

My father, John Schindele, was on the Johnston, and passed away last year (5/27/14). He manually steered the rudder with another sailor following damage to hydraulics, then spent 52 hours at sea. His picture is in the Hornfischer book. After the war he was a great high school football coach in the Seattle area and worked for the Seahawks in retirement. A voracious reader and a man of great character who I miss greatly.
Added by Anonymous
October 23, 2015

My dad ,Anthony Wickham served on John c butler de 339 . I loved the book and are so proud of my dad
Added by jwnelson
December 31, 2015

Looking for any information concerning the annual meeting of the surviving members of the crew of the USS St. Lo (CVE-63) My Father attended these annual meetings several times until his passing in 2001. His name was S1c Frank "Nellie" Nelson. I would appreciate any information concerning this meetings and the possibility of maybe attending.
Added by jwnelson
January 11, 2016

Like many of you, my Father was aboard the USS St. Lo when the Battle of Leyte took place and would never discuss this action hardly at all. He was a S1C Quartermaster Frank "Nellie" Nelson. He passed away in 2000 and I was just wondering if any of the crew of the St. Lo was still around and if they are still having the reunions. If so I would sure like the pleasure of attending the next one if possible, in honor of my Father. Any information concerning this reunion would be greatly appreciated.
Added by Linda Huey
June 24, 2016

My dad served as a Fireman 2C on the USS Heermann during the Battle Off Samar. He was only 18 then. He never talked about what he did in the war. Maybe because it was classified for a long time after. He passed away (lung cancer and cancer of pancreas)when he was only 49 years old back in 1976. I just this past year got his military records and discovered that he was a war hero. I started learning about the Battle of Leyte Gulf etc. What an honor to be his daughter. I'm so proud of him. Thank you to all the men who served in WWII. Because of their heroics, I am here and so are my children and grandchildren.
Added by CarlErickson
August 21, 2017

My uncle, Carl Erickson was on the USS Hoel. He was killed in action and my grandmother never got over losing her first child. Our family gathered for the lovey ceremony at the dedication at Fort Rosecrans. Met several surviors & words cannot express our gratitude for their service. Moved me enough to enlist. God bless those who have served. If you knew my uncle, I would love to hear from you.
Added by Linda Huey
October 25, 2017

Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the brave men of Taffy 3 in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. My dad served aboard the USS Heermann in the Battle Off Samar. He was only 18 then. I'm a proud daughter.
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