Bob McMahon USS Oklahoma

This is a story about the 2100 Class Destroyers and the part they played during the Okinawa Campaign.

After the Philippine Islands Campaign this incredible story about the advance picket lines and how the fleet was protected during the final phases emerged. The story, although at times unbelievable, is true.

I served on the USS Wedderburn DD684 and the USS Cushing DD797, both 2100 ton Destroyers of DESRON 6.

We started deploying four ships 25 to 50 miles out from the center of the main formation with the Carrie's in the center, surrounded by Battleships, Cruisers and Destroyers used in screening the main Task group on the outside. In this manner we could bring our guns to bear on the targets as the enemy planes broke through each screen. This way we would not fire toward other ships inside the formation.

Out toward Japan the enemy planes would hit us first but we had the Inner Air Patrol of friendly fighters in turn protect us somewhat. As time went by, during the morning of August 15 1945, approximately 300 Japanese Bombers and 150 Torpedo Planes hit us.

In this battle alone, our losses were 72 Ships sunk and 30 damaged. The Japanese lost over 400 airplanes. The Picket Lines were working for the fleet and were now called "THE ADVANCE RADAR PICKET SHIPS".

It was now apparent that the Japanese Imperial Navy could not destroy the United States Fleet over the area of Formosa and in actuality they had lost most of their surface fleet and we were destroying the last of their Kamikaze threat. The time was drawing near when we will actually invade the mainland of Japan.