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Stanley Libera’s postwar account

When I visited Stanley Libera at his home in New Britain, Connecticut, in July 2011, he produced the following, undated statement, which he said he wrote after the war—he guessed c. 1950-55—and taped to the back of a picture (apparently the photo of the sinking survivors on the bleachers at Midway). Apparently, as of that visit, it had been there more than fifty years.

 

Page                   As I remember             History of ship

1                                                                    I served on

 

Stanley Libera    RM 2 class                  USS MACAW

 

Submarine rescue vessel         Feb 13  1944

 

off Midway Island         World War II

 

I served on.

 

Midway island is all sand and goony birds with all coral reef around it   to get in had only one chanel to get into island

This was Pan American Air lines stop over before the war

The island is all sand and only vegation plants are in the picture with the bleachers

brought over by Pan American

and one long pier to the island where ship or submarine can come along.

One of our submarines was traped in the Corl off the island.

USS MACAW a submarine rescue vessel our ship to free the submarine in the Corl reef.

A storm was up the submarine was able to free itself  but the ship USS MACAW now was traped in the corl reef and was taking on water and was sinking  The crew off the ship was put ashore on Midway Island with only a crew of 16 to stay with the ship try to save it in the severe storm.

 

Page 2

 

The storm getting worse and the 16 of us all had to get into the navagation bridge  The ship was tilted sliding down on the corl reef with the water inside the bridge we  getting higher to our Body and the hatch door to get out water blocking us  I  in.  The executive officer told the Captin we have to break the hatch open and get out or we are all going to die like rats.

All of us together finaly broke the hatch cabin door open to get out.  The Captian had no life jacket   :   They never found him plus  3  others were never found.

It was dark winds and waves going over my head  I swaloed water trying to get air

I swam all night my self saw no one not knowing where I was with the high winds and waves

It happened the winds and waves blew me toward Midway island shore

Crews on shore with winds and the sever waves was hard to spot me

They had flood light on  out

Under order no one was to try and go out on the water to severe

 

 

Page 3

 

They spoted me out in the water with orders no one to try and go out with the high waves and winds

3 sailors agents orders took out a motor launch which is big to try and pick me up

but when they went out to pick me up the waves so large fliped the big motor launch over on top of them and the 3 were killed I was told  They finaly pulled me out.  I had pneumonia out of it in the hospital

I was lucky with the storm kept the any sharks out of the corl reef

The picture with the blechers and with the plants was the only plant life  all sand and goony birds on the island

 

Later they took a picture of the 12 survivors — the captain and 3 others that did not make it.

I was promoted from RM 2C to RM 1C   for my service

 

Stanley Libera

 

as I remember the sinking of

USS MACAW