American Legion
Herman Kent Post 777

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Joe in 1943
 
 
The following narrative is written to preserve the honorable military service of Joseph Frank Saeli.
 
Joe was drafted into the US Navy on March 10th, 1943 at the height of World War 2 and went first to boot camp at Sampson Naval station which is located near the Finger Lakes as a Seaman Apprentice.  His next stop was at Norfolk Virginia for further training after which he was transported to Mare Island California to board the ship that he would call home until November 1st, 1945. 
The entire time of Joe's service time was served onboard the DE-24 USS Whitman, a 283 foot Destroyer Escort ship patrolling and in combat with the Japanese  in the Pacific, logging about 50,000 miles in 2 1/2 years. They came under attack several times during this time with torpedo and kamikaze attacks.
Joe's duty for 1 1/2 years was at the helm of the ship, however his battle station was Gun Captain on the 1.1 caliber recipricating 4 barreled "pom pom" gun, firing at incoming Japanese attack aircraft.
The Whitman was not a large ship by Naval standards and didn't draw much water which saved them from certain destruction the day a Jap  dropped 2 torpedoes that were seen by Joe heading right for the ship,
 ---- they both passed just underneath it.
Joe served in the hot spots of the Pacific including Pearl Harbor, the Marshall Islands, submarine patrol in Tarawa Lagoon, Makin Island, Majuro, Saipan, and Eniwetok.
Joe is a lifetime member of our American Legion post, and still very active and fit at 88 yrs of age, Joe we Salute you for your service!
 
 
Joe now
 
 
the DE-24 USS Whitman
 
 
Joe's medals