One Who Survived

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And about noontime that day a PBY [Catalina seaplane] flew over and circled around and then it went away again. Well, I gave up. I figured, well, I guess it’s just like all the other planes, they ain’t gonna bother, they figure you ain’t worth while coming for. Or maybe they didn’t know what I was because I was all black. I might have been a Jap for all they knew. A couple of hours later they come back and they flew around me and they dropped smoke bombs all around me.

Well, that built up my hope a lot and I took off my shirt and I waved at them and they waved back at me and then they went off and I could see them way off flying. And I figured, well, they must be guiding the ship to me. And that’s what they were doing because it wasn’t long before I could see the mast of a ship coming over the horizon and it was the U.S.S. Ballard [a destroyer]. They lowered a small boat and came out and picked me up and took me aboard there and that’s about all, for I went on there into sick bay.

LT. PORTER:

What day was this they picked you up, do you remember?

HEYN:

It was the 22nd [November, 1942].

LT. PORTER:

And then they took you where?

HEYN:

They took me into Espiritu Santo.

LT. PORTER:

When you got on the Ballard were you delirious?

HEYN:

Yes, I was.

LT. PORTER:

Suffer from anything else? Shock, of course?

HEYN:

I had very bad headaches in my head where I had been hit on the ship. And I was sick all over and I don’t know, I was sorta wore out.

LT. PORTER:

Broken foot, too?

HEYN:

Yes.

LT. PORTER:

How long were you in the hospital ashore?

HEYN:

I was in Espiritu Santo for about, I think it was about two weeks. I can’t remember any more. Then I was transferred to the U.S.S. Solace and from there I went to Fiji to an Army hospital and stayed there until I got better. I wasn’t really better but they needed the hospital so bad then that they transferred us out when we were able and I was sent to a naval dispensary there.

LT. PORTER:

How long were you on Fiji?

HEYN:

I think I was there nine months.

LT. PORTER:

Then you went to Australia?

HEYN:

Yes sir. There was a letter came out asking for volunteers for submarines and I volunteered for it and they transferred me down to Australia.

LT. PORTER:

Feel pretty good now again?

HEYN:

Yes, I do.

LT. PORTER:

Think you’re fully recovered?

HEYN:

I think I’m all right.

LT. PORTER:

Good. Having fully recovered, you then asked for and were given submarine service. Is that right?

HEYN:

Yes, that’s right.

LT. PORTER:

And you went out on a war patrol?

HEYN:

Yes sir.

LT. PORTER:

And on that patrol, you’re officially credited with sinking some five ships and damaging four?

HEYN:

That’s correct.

LT. PORTER:

Your preference for future service would be in submarines?

HEYN:

Yes sir, it would.

LT. PORTER:

Back in the same hunting area?

HEYN:

It wouldn’t make any difference as long as it’s out in the Pacific somewhere.