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USS LaVallette (DD448) Off the coast of Panay, en route to Luzon, Phillipine Islands, January 6, 1945

Jim Ward (the lower figure) was killed on February 14, 1945, D-1 Day, while taking Corregidor.

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Pedro Autor

Pedro Autor on the fantail of USS LaVallette (DD448) Leyte Gulf, Samar, Philippine Islands, November 30, 1944

The land off Leyte Gulf had just been taken. As we stood by offshore, two young brothers in a canoe approached the LaVallette, asking for medical help. Permission was granted. While the injured boy was treated, his younger brother posed for this drawing on the fantail. This was our first contact with the liberated Filipinos of WWII. Knowing it was an historic moment, I asked Pedro to sign his name and address on the portrait. I often wonder how their lives played out.

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Ensign Paul Prosser

USS LaVallette (DD448), Marcus Island, September 1, 1943

PJP and CIC manned and ready! Ensign Paul Prosser.

0600, the morning after the Marcus Island attack of August 31, 1943. Almost 80% of Marcus Island was destroyed. We were still in enemy territory, but headed back to Pearl Harbor.

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Drake in CIC

Drake in CIC, USS LaVallette (DD448), 1944

CIC (Combat Information Center) The brain of the ship, where we listened, watched, and acted.

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Mailman "Dopey” Dupps

USS LaVallette (DD448) South Pacific, 1944

Best remembered for humor centered around his false teeth, Dupps was far from dopey. His advantage in age gave him plenty of street smarts.

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Relaxing on Jacob Island

U.S.S. LaVallette DD448 Jacob Island, Marshall Islands, February 5, 1944

Relaxing in the midst of hostilities.

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Burial At Sea

USS LaVallette (DD448) South Pacific, September 1943

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En Route to Fiji Islands

Back aft, USS LaVallette (DD448) September 15, 1943

Left Pearl Harbor this morning, bound for the Fiji Islands. 2030 pm

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USS LaVallette (DD448) Off Guadalcanal, January, 1943

While protecting the USS Chicago in the Battle of Rennell Island, an aerial torpedo blew open a forty-foot hole in the USS LaVallette.
The Chicago was sunk: it took 5 or 6 “fish” (torpedoes) to do it. We lost 21 men.

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In The Beginning

It was the most exciting period of my life. I joined the Navy following graduation from Massachusetts College of Art in 1942. The war was in full swing. Every young man wanted to be part of this high adventure. Most had no idea of the reality and surprise we would soon face.

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