- Historic Sites
The Last Cruise Of The YP-438
His job was to destroy German submarines. To do it, they gave him twelve men, three machine guns, four depth charges, and an old wooden fishing schooner with an engine that literally drove mechanics mad.
June/july 1985 | Volume 36, Issue 4
O’Brien spoke up, “I’ll see to it, Captain.” I’m sure he did, but I never found out because I never saw any of them again. That day I took a bus to Miami and met my wife and some friends. “What’s the matter,” one of them said, “your ship sink or something?”
I said, “Yes.”
That stopped the conversation.
Despite the YP’s wan showing against the German navy, the little ship proved a good school. How well her skipper learned his trade is reflected in the citation accompanying the Bronze Star that came to him a year and a half later when he was captain of a fine new 326-foot LST (Landing Ship, Tank):
“For Heroic Achievement as Commanding Officer of a Landing Ship moored alongside other ships during explosions and fires on those vessels at a Naval Base with his ship fully combat loaded, ablaze from stem to stern, [Lieutenant Russell E. Sard] coolly and courageously got her under way, displaying excellent seamanship in extricating her from very cramped quarters. At the same time, he directed the extinguishing of the fires on his ship, which was ablaze as badly as any in the nest, exposing himself without thought of personal safety to the constant rain of shrapnel, large metal fragments, and burning debris resulting from the ships outboard. His courage and leadership were undoubtedly the governing factors in the saving of his vessel to the Navy and his conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service.”
After the war, Ellis Sard worked in radio and television; today he is semiretired and lives on Cape Cod.