Captain Dixie Kiefer’s Farewell Address

Sunday, Jan 21, 1945

uss-ticonderoga-hit-by-kamikaze-pilotsA Kamikaze attack on the USS Ticonderoga has killed 144 men and injured 200, including the commanding officer Captain Dixie Kiefer. Although seriously wounded with 65 different wounds and a broken arm, he remained on the bridge till almost 12 hours after the attacks. Here is his farewell address to the crew as he was about to be transferred to a hospital ship:

“Well, gang, this is the last time I’ll speak to you. I have tears in my eyes and it isn’t because I am hurt. I always did know that you were a damn good peacetime crew, and the other day out there, you proved to me that you were the best damn wartime crew in the Navy. I did not leave the bridge until 11:30 that night, but afterwards seeing how you men kept fighting back, I realized that I could do more good alive when I could come back out here again. I want to thank you men for saving the ship, which I thought was beyond saving. I’m going back to the States soon, and I’ll be on the dock when you come in. The Captain who takes my place will treat you like I did. Keep up your good work. The ‘Big T’ still is and always will be the best damned ship in the Navy.”

 

 

 

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