This site attempts to tell the story of the USS Macaw, of the men who served aboard her and of the three men who died trying to save those aboard her when she sank the night of February 12-13, 1944. My father, then Lieut. (later Lieut. Cmdr.) Gerald F. “Bud” Loughman, was the ship’s executive officer. As the senior surviving officer after she sank, he was charged with handling much of the paperwork attendant on the loss of the ship. Fortunately, he held onto that paperwork. After he died on December 28, 1998, my sister discovered his files on the Macaw in a box of his papers. I had talked with him several times over the years about his experiences aboard the Macaw and more or less formally interviewed him once, but had only just scratched the surface of the story. In his files were his own account of the sinking of the ship and those of all his fellow sinking survivors, all written within days of the event, and photos of the ship taken at intervals during her death throes and of the crew before and after she sank. What follows is based on my discussions with my father, on his files, interviews with and letters from a number of his shipmates and other sources I’ll note as I go.
Anyone who served aboard the Macaw, or who knows or knew anyone who did, or who served at the Naval Operating Base on Midway circa 1943-44, or who knew LeRoy Benny Lehmbecker, Ernest David Samed or Howard Eugene Daugherty in that or any other context, I would be very happy to hear from. You can reach me at email@example.com or (925) 322-9581.
Clicking on some of the photos in the site will give you an enlarged view. To return to the page you were on, click on your back arrow.
Special thanks to Bob Jacobsen, originally of Garibaldi, Oregon, later of Long Beach, California. Bob was a colorful and generous letter writer with a remarkably keen memory. The sixteen letters he wrote me over a period of a little more than two years c. 2009-2011 comprise my single greatest source of information about life aboard the Macaw. Bob died peacefully at his home in Long Beach on February 24, 2012, at age 89. Smooth sailing, Sea Dog.
When my siblings and I were kids, my dad would often tell us en route to or from church on Sunday to pray for Lehmbecker, Samed and Daugherty. He referred to them by last name only. This instruction made an impression on me not only because he repeated it so often but also because he never, as far I recall, asked us to pray for anyone else, relatives included. I don’t recall him telling us back then who Lehmbecker, Samed and Daugherty were or why he wanted us to pray for them. Nor do I recall that any of us asked. It was only years later that I learned who they were and why they were in my father’s thoughts every Sunday long after the war. This site is dedicated to them.
Welcome aboard …