as told by Mr. Huddleston in Third Savo - Battle at Guadalcanal
|Mr Huddleston was born in McRea Arkansas April 20 1920. He
enlisted in the navy September 16th 1940 and completed boot camp in San
Diego ,Ca.. Following Bootcamp Mr Huddleston was assigned to the
Battleship USS California (BB44).
Following the USS California Mr Huddleston was reassigned to the USS Atlanta in late December, just prior to it's commissioning. He was a loader in the left gun of 5"/38 mount #1.
While on leave in Pearl Harbor, Mr Huddleston found a dog and smuggled him aboard ship. The dog was found after the Atlanta had set sail and Capt Jenkins allowed him to stay aboard as the ships Mascot. They named the dog "Lucky" who was a favorite of each member of the crew. Lucky was killed during the battle on Nov 13th when a shell exploded in a compartment where he stayed!
At the time of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal Nov 13th his mount took a direct hit in the face of the mount killing 4 men. A close friend of Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Thomas Meehan, was mortally wounded. Mr. Huddleston told of conversations with Mr. Meehan that revealed how he, (Mr. Meehan< joined the navy at age 15 to help support his mother and family. Mr. Huddleston help bring Mr Meehan out of the mount and after helping remove all wounded from the mount returned to Mr Meehan and administered morphine. He stayed with him until he passed away shortly there after.
Following the battle an officer was ordering the men in the forward part of the ship to abandon ship. Mr Huddleston decided it was better to take his chances aboard the Atlanta then with the sharks. After participating in the battle damage efforts to try to save the ship, the final decision to abandon ship was given by Capt Jenkins. .Mr. Huddleston then helped prepare the demo charges which were used to scuttle the Atlanta.
Mr Huddleston made it back to Guadalcanal along with the remaining survivors of the Atlanta by Higgins boat. He remained there for 13 days, manning machine gun positions on the beachhead.
On the following evening he had a grandstand view of the Battleship confrontation on Nov 14t, when the Battleships USS South Dakota (which was severely damaged) and the USS Washington sunk the Japanese Battleship Kirishima.
Mr Huddleston made it back to San Diego on December 20th 1942, receiving orders to report to Boston Ma for duty aboard the Heavy Cruiser USS Boston CA-69 which was just completing construction. He was Turret Capitan of 5"/38 mount #6.
Mr Huddleston served aboard the USS Boston participating the the South Pacific campaigns until March 1945 when he was ordered to Washington DC for Fleet Hydr. School. Following this he was assigned to the destroyer USS Sarsfield (DD-837) until being discharged Nov 17th 1946.
Mr Huddleston received the following medals:
Mr Huddleston lives in Montana along with his family.