Raymond C. Bendel

 

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Date of Service:

 1943-1944

Rank:

 Pharmacist Mate

My father, Raymond C. Bendel, graduated high school in 1943 and entered the Navy. Tired of bed pans and guard duty he requested sea duty. He became a Pharmacist Mate and served on the USS Jefferson from 1943-1944. He participated in the Normandy and Southern France invasions. He was eventually transferred to the USS Hamilton (destroyer converted to a mine sweeper) and was in the Okinawa and South China Sea campaigns, receiving a total of four battle stars in Europe and the Pacific.

The USS Hamilton was the second ship to enter Tokyo Bay. He remembers sitting on the deck with his back against the bulkhead watching the Japanese surrender about 100 yards away. One of his most vivid recollections is of the Japanese Kamikaze attacks. During one battle, five crew members were injured in basically in the same place -- the right hand." "Weird," he says. He will be 85 years old in August 2009.