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
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.
a lifetime member of our American Legion post, we Salute you for your service!