Navy veteran Donald Carl shares his memories of service during World War II

Local News

Not many people can survive a ship sinking and live to tell the tale.

“The ship was 11 months and 20 some days old, period, when she was sunk,” said Donald Carl.

But 93-year-old Navy veteran Donald Carl can.

“We got hit by a Kamikaze plane, you know what that is? Ok, it hit the bridge, and parts of it went on through the ship into the water creating holes for us and fire.  The forward, everything forward the midship’s and the ship was on fire,” said Carl. 

Donald was lucky, a survivor. Not too long before it sank, his ship picked up survivors from another strike.

“Some of them were down in our forward crews quarters with crew getting some dry clothes and unfortunately never got out,” said Carl. 

Their fate, something he knows he could’ve easily faced but didn’t. 

However, he did help get some of the wounded to safety.

“I think I was probably the last one to leave the ship alive. What do you think made you do that? Was it just instinct? Just had to,” said Carl. 

His heroic efforts, earning him the Bronze Star.

“You know, I don’t say I’m a hero.  We just, I did my part and the best I could.  I was an electrician aboard the ship and there were two others, and I was the top one.  And I just did what I could do, what had to be done,” said Carl.

*What had to be done* now commemorated at the National D-Day Memorial in Bbedford.

“What it helps is getting the message across to people is to how the wars were fought, why they were fought,” said Carl. 

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