USS Ingraham DD694: 1944-1945
by John G. Charney
Privately published, no date, 345 pages
"Ingraham's 15," mentioned several times in this book, refers to the
15 crewmen of the destroyer USS Ingraham (DD694) who died when a kamikaze
aircraft hit the ship on May 4, 1945. This privately-published book provides a
summary history from Ingraham's commissioning in March 1944 to the end of
the Pacific War in August 1945. John Charney, who served aboard Ingraham
from 1962 to 1964, also includes in this spiral-bound book a huge number of
photos and other documents from the destroyer's wartime years.
The author, even though he served on Ingraham many years after the end
of World War II, writes the destroyer's war diary as if he were a crewmen in
1944 and 1945. The war diary, arranged by month from March 1944, serves as the
book's chapters. However, these monthly historical summaries, generally taken
from official Navy documents, run from just a half
page to a little more than one page except for March 1944, the month of the
destroyer's commissioning, and May 1945, the month of the kamikaze hit at Radar
Picket Station 1 to the north of Okinawa. Other than the May 1945 war diary, the
author incorporates few personal accounts into the historical summary section of
This book's real strength lies in its numerous photographs and various other
items such as personal letters, wartime diaries, newspaper articles, official
Navy documents, maps, and reminiscences written by crewmembers. For example,
page 102 has a full-page humorous sketch of many crewmembers entitled "The
Battle of the Mess Hall" by crewman Phillip Conte. The book includes an English
translation by the Office of Naval Intelligence of a letter found on the
body of the Japanese pilot who crashed into Ingraham on May 4, 1945 (p. 129) :
Public Girls Higher School
Dec. 5, 1944
To a brave warrior of the Divine Eagles, Kanichi Horimoto
Daily the war has been becoming more and more violent. As for the Special
Attack Corps, what can we say to a god of the divine eagles as he goes to
the place of decisive battle? We cannot find words to express our gratitude.
I beg of you that you destroy the hated Americans with no concern and fears
for the future because, imbued with the never-ceasing attacking spirit of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps, we will steadfastly increase our
production until the Japanese empire is crowned with the garland of victory.
Kato Shikoro 
3rd Class 1st Year
The book mentions that Kanichi Horimoto flew a Zero (p. 151) from Miyakonoto
in southern Kyushu
(p. 157). However, the 60th Shinbu Squadron to which Horimoto belonged actually
took off from Miyakonojo Army Air Base in Hayate Type 4 Fighters (Franks) on May 4, 1945
The May 1945 history of eight pages contains eyewitness accounts of
the kamikaze attack on Ingraham and other ships at Radar Picket Station
1, and several men describe their feelings as they recovered the bodies of their
dead crewmen from the ship. The book's middle chapters contain many photos and other
material, but sometimes these do not coincide exactly with the months where they
are placed. The last section of the book covering about 100 pages includes a
huge number of photos (most without dates), copies of diaries kept by two crewmembers during
their time on the ship, and a 17-page wartime reminiscence written by crewmember
Wellington Scranton. He concludes his personal history with the following
statement (p. 342):
On the body of the Japanese flier who almost sank our ship was found a
note from his government glorifying his Divine mission to save his country–another
tragic victim of the many inventions of mankind. All during our enemy action
I can say that panic never was apparent among the crew as far as I could
tell. Everyone did what they had to do almost automatically and with the
sense that it was just another exercise. If it was true that there were no
atheists in foxholes; it was also true that there were no atheists on target
In the early morning of May 4, 1945, two destroyers and four smaller ships at
Radar Picket Station 1 came under attack by 40 to 50 Japanese kamikaze aircraft.
Although the ship's guns shot down several of the incoming aircraft, four planes
hit the destroyer Morrison (DD560), which sank in about ten minutes after
the first hit.
Ingraham mess hall deck about where
500-lb. bomb exploded and killed 15 persons
The following excerpt from the Ingraham (DD694) Action Report for the
period 29 April through 4 May 1945 provides insights into Japanese kamikaze
squadron tactics (p.
This command witnessed many suicide attacks during the Philippine
Campaign. Most of those were single plane attacks. Coordinated attacks
consisted of not more than three or four planes; such attacks were rare and
were poorly executed compared to those experienced on May 4th on Radar
Picket Station One. In the latter event an estimated forty to fifty planes
were thrown into the attack. The first planes were modern fast types,
appearing in small groups, or singly, and approaching from several widely
separated sectors. These attacks built up until the CAP (Combat Air Patrol)
had more than it could handle, at which time the enemy began to slip
through. Soon enough attackers had shaken free of our fighters to saturate
AA (anti-aircraft) defense. At this period the enemy began attacking from
all directions at different altitudes, pilots apparently attacking
independently as opportunities were offered. It was at this stage that
Morrison took her first two hits and that the first formation of
float planes put in their appearance. The float planes came in from the
north flying low and attracted many of our fighters. Following the float
plane attack came an intensified attack by fast land planes. Observers state
that the coordinated attack made upon this vessel came from a loose
formation from which each plane peeled off to attack from different
directions as simultaneously as possible. After the fast planes had expended
themselves two more formations of float planes approached. Those two
formations did not reach attack positions until well after the enemy's major
effort had been exhausted.
It is interesting to note that the two last float plane attacks were not
coordinated with the main attack. Furthermore, the airmanship displayed by
the pilots of these two formations was of low order. Those two formations
reminded one of flocks of pelicans - each bird following the leader in a
loose, ragged file and flying very close to the water. Only one
individualist broke away to approach independently. All fell easy prey to
our fighters. The impression gained was that the leader of each formation
was an experienced aviator, but that all of the others had had barely enough
flight time to solo.
USS Ingraham DD694: 1944-1945 provides the ship's wartime
survivors and their family members with a fine book of photos and other
historical items with which to remember the wartime service of the destroyer.
1. The translation on this web page contains a few
minor corrections. For example, "youthat" was changed to "you that." "Sukuramachi"
was changed to the correct name of "Sakuramachi."
2. There is no Japanese given name of Shikoro, so
it appears that the translation of the Japanese character or characters for this
girl's name is incorrect.
3. Sakurai 2008. Other sources such as Osuo (2005,
199) and Tokkotai Senbotsusha (1990, 271) incorrectly list the date of
Horimoto's sortie and death as May 11, 1945.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tokyo: Kojinsha.
Sakurai, Takashi. 2008. Dai 60 shinbu tai (60th Shinbu
(February 2, 2008).
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tokyo: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.