Daily Event for January 29, 2006

January 29, 1945 While loading depth charges at Guadalcanal the cargo ship Serpens AK-97 exploded. Little known stories from World War 2 are no less important than the great battles. The story of the Serpens is one of those. The ship was manned not by the Navy but by the Coast Guard and had been a valuable asset in the Pacific war. Shuttling needed cargoes from island to island reinforcing with arms and equipment the men fighting the bloody campaigns on the miserable insect infested islands that needed to be won to beat Japan.

The history books record that the explosion of the Serpens took the lives of one hundred and ninety eight U.S. Coast Guardsmen, fifty seven U.S. Army soldiers, a public health service doctor and a soldier on shore who was killed by shrapnel (527 in total). Only two men who were on board the ship when it exploded survived.

While at first it was thought to have been enemy action which caused the explosion it was determined that the explosion was internal and was an "accident intrinsic to the loading process." The disaster was announced to the public by the navy on March 1st. Few details were given, but it was acknowledged that the entire crew had been lost. The commanding officer, Lt. Commander Perry L. Stinson, USCG, was originally listed as missing, but he was ashore at the time of the explosion and survived.

The bodies of those killed were buried at Guadalcanal but were removed to Arlington National Cemetery in 1949. In 1950 a monument was dedicated over the grave site.
© 2006 Michael W. Pocock
MaritimeQuest.com


USS Serpens AK-97, date and location unknown.




Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in
USS Serpens AK-97
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Name
Rate
Service
Ables, Edwin A.
Electrician's Mate 2nd Class
USCGR
Aiken III, John G.
Lieutenant
USCGR
Anderson, Roy G.
Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class
USCGR
Antkowiak, Edwin F.
Coxswain
USCGR
Arndt, Lawrence L.
Corporal
U.S. Army
Aro, Harry E.
Watertender 1st Class
USCG
Ashba, Clifford D.
Apprentice Seaman
USCGR
Auble, George C.
Lieutenant (j.g.)
USCGR
Babcock, Woodward S.
Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Baginski, Walter E.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Baillargeon, Charles E.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Baker, Edward A.
Machinist's Mate 1st Class
USCG
Barer, Jacob
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Barnhouse, Charles R.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Barrett, Robert J.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Barrick, Leland C.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Beskosty, Alec
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Bielinski, Joseph
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Boos, Edwin L.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Borton, Jr., Derious
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Boyd, Billy L.
Storekeeper 1st Class
USCG
Brandlen, Lester L.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
*
Breen, Gerald C.
Fireman 2nd Class
USCGR
Brieschke, Alfred W.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
*
Brooks, Chester
Steward 2nd Class
USCGR
Broshear, James M.
Quartermaster 3rd Class
USCG
Buchanan, Clarence M.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Burke, Leo H.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Burks, Clifton C.
Private
U.S. Army
Burns, Keith D.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Butler, Junior W.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Callahan, Raymond F.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Camarlinghi, Gilbert J.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Cambria, Anthony
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Carey, Louis S.
Seaman 1st Class
USCG
Carmichael, James G.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Carr, Charles E.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Cassaris, Peter A.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Catgenova, Pete
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Cervantez, Philip R.
Carpenter's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Chadwick, James E.
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class
USCGR
Chambers, Leslie E.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Childs, Fred L.
Staff Sergeant
U.S. Army
*
Ciancio, Frank J.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Cope, Joseph
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Cote, James V.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Cotton, Howard R.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Cowhey, William
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Craft, Charles E.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Creech, Lawrence F.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Crook, Lovell R.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Crowe, Ranard M.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Cummings, Arden O.
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class
USCG
Curtis, Albert B.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Dahlberg, Fritze O.
Private
U.S. Army
Daly, John C.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Dancisak, John A.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Davis, James E.
Technician 4th Grade
U.S. Army
Davis, Max E.
Ensign
USCGR
Day, Clarence W.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Day, Howard E.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Dedmon, Jr., John C.
Radarman 3rd Class
USCGR
Deermer, Henry K.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
DeGaetano, Samuel
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Degreve, Robert M.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Derouen, Marvin
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Dickerson, George L.
Steward's Mate 1st Class
USCGR
Diehl, Lee H.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Distel, Harold G.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Dix, Jr., Homer A.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Doherty, William C.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Donato, Edward J.
Carpenter's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Donovan, Donald R.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Drago, James
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Dunn, William C.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Durso, Edmund J.
Coxswain
USCGR
Easterday, Robert A.
Motor Machinist's Mate 3c
USCGR
Eckart, Gustave F.
Coxswain
USCGR
Elam, Billy G.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Elsasser, Sylvan B.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Faust, Joseph D.
Coxswain
USCGR
Feutz, Richard M.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Fidurski, John
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Fletcher, Ira V.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Flowers, Murray C.
Apprentice 1st Class
USCGR
Forkner, Feldon B.
Electrician's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Fox, Warren E.
Carpenter's Mate 2nd Class
USCGR
Frank, Glenn B.
Private
U.S. Army
Fregia, Roger W.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
French, Jay F.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Fritz, Ralph C.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Fulda, Lewis L.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Furrey, Charles D.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Gale, Kayah
Private
U.S. Army
Gallo, Jime
Coxswain
USCGR
Gamsu, Ely
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Garzon, John L.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Gesford, Edward C.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Gibson, Mack E.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Gilbert, Fred E.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Glaze, Robert L.
Chief Boatswain's Mate
USCG
Goldstein, Sheldon G.
Hospital Apprentice 2c
USCGR
Gonzales, Emelio C.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Goral, John K.
Chief Pay Clerk
USCGR
Graeber, Charles E.
Pharmacist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Granger, Warren J.
Ship's Cook 3rd Class
USCGR
Grant, Jr., Daniel L.
Yeoman 3rd Class
USCGR
Grapenthin, Jr., Floyd
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Gray, Jean P. D.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Gregory, Freeman
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Gretz, Frank J.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Grisbaum, Stanley R.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Guthridge, Royce F.
Radio Technician 3rd Class
USCGR
Gutierrez, Phillip
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Guyett, Alan J.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Hagemeier, Jr., Elmer P.
Watertender 2nd Class
USCGR
Hagendorn, Jr., Arthur C.
Photographer's Mate 3c
USCGR
Hamilton, Raymond C.
Radarman 3rd Class
USCGR
Hampton, John W.
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class
USCGR
Harlow, William H.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Harmon, Kenneth H.
Fireman 2nd Class
USCGR
Hart, Donald J.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Hartleib, James
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Hartzler, William C.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Haskell, Melvin
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Headrick, Perry P.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Helement, Alexander
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Helsem, Leslie
Motor Machinist's Mate 2c
USCGR
Helton, Herman T.
Private
U.S. Army
Henigan, Felix L.
Fireman 2nd Class
USCGR
Henry, Francis V.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Henshaw, George A.
Ship's Cook 2nd Class
USCGR
Herrington, Robert A.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Hickman, Marcus R.
Steward's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Higgins, Thomas L.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Hinerman, Nile W.
Corporal
U.S. Army
Hinson, Henry C.
Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Hodge, Robert B.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Hopkins, Robert B.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Houchenm Bernard J.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Hoyt, Robert L.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Hubacher, Raymond E.
Quartermaster 3rd Class
USCGR
Hull, Otis D.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Hutchinson, Colon J.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Jacobs, Vernard C.
Motor Machinist's Mate 2c
USCGR
Jaissle, Paul R.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Johnson, Norman A.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Johnson, Richard C.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Johnson, Robert J.
Lieutenant (j.g.)
USCGR
Kadilak, Frank
Storekeeper 1st Class
USCGR
Kayler Jr., William G.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Kellar, Jr., Milton R.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Keough, Herbert C.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Kettunen, Arnold E.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Kiley, Ralph D.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Kolar, Melvin M.
Motor Machinist's Mate 3c
USCGR
Kotkas, William C.
Lieutenant
USCG
Kramer, William J.
Private
U.S. Army
Kreps, Paul F.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Krueger, Norbert E.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Kurdilla, Vincent J.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Kusek, Stanley J.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Kyle, Charlie G.
Steward's Mate 1st Class
USCGR
Laird, James E.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Lambert, Walter P.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Lanham, Woodrow
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Latraille, David A.
Private
U.S. Army
Lego, Jr., Nolan R.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Leverentz, Russell C.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Levin, Dr. Harry M.
Assistant Surgeon (Civilian)
U.S. Public Health Service
Lewis, David F.
Ship's Cook 3rd Class
USCGR
Limbacher, Jr., Walter J.
Storekeeper 3rd Class
USCGR
MacFarland, Charles T.
Motor Machinist's Mate 3c
USCGR
Mackey, Joseph J.
Coxswain
USCGR
Maddox, Samuel M.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Manke, Albert J.
Coxswain
USCGR
Mark, Guy E.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Matney, Curtiss D.
Technician 4th Grade
U.S. Army
May, Nicholas A.
Private
U.S. Army
Mazzanti, Raymond G.
Coxswain
USCGR
McCarter, John H.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
McCaw, John L.
Watertender 3rd Class
USCGR
McCullough, Jr., William J.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
*
McDaniel, Charles E.
Private
U.S. Army
McDaniel, Malcolm W.
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
McGrath, Arnold J.
1st Lieutenant
U.S. Army
McGuckin, Jr., Harold M.
Storekeeper 3rd Class
USCGR
McLarty, Lloyd A.
Radioman 2nd Class
USCGR
McMahan, Ted
Sergeant
U.S. Army
Medves, Raymond F.
Private
U.S. Army
Menard, Alvis J.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Miller, Madge V.
Steward's Mate 2nd Class
USCGR
Miron, James J.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Moore, Leo E.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Morgan, Huie
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Nivin, William F.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Oaklund, Douglas H.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
O'Donnell, William R.
Coxswain
USCGR
Okichick, Walter L.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Orton, George E.
Chief Machinist's Mate
USCGR
Owen, Albert L.
Technician 4th Grade
U.S. Army
Payne, Charles C.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Pazurek, William O.
Signalman 3rd Class
USCGR
Peterson, Lincoln F.
Watertender 3rd Class
USCGR
Prance, Warren C.
Lieutenant (j.g.)
USCGR
Preedom, John J.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Qualmann, Frederick E. A.
Steward's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Questad, Roy A.
Ensign
USCGR
Reilly, George H.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Reuter, Orville F.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Riccardi, Hugo
Motor Machinist's Mate 1c
USCGR
Robeson, Linton J.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Royer, Fred O.
Radioman 3rd Class
USCGR
Rudy, Paul
Chief Machinist's Mate
USCGR
Ruggiero, Eugene
Chief Machinist's Mate
USCGR
Ruth, Marcus A.
Technician 5th Grade
U.S. Army
Sampay, Roy A.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Sandoval, Alfonso C.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Sarkisoff, Lewis J.
Coxswain
USCGR
Schmook, John P.
Fireman 1st Class
USCGR
Schrader, Charles E.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Selaya, James D.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Seleman, Jr., William H.
Coxswain
USCGR
Shogren, Jacob H.
Ensign
USCGR
Smith, Robert J.
Watertender 3rd Class
USCG
Sneddon, Robert C.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
Sorenson, Robert H.
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class
USCGR
Steinman, Jr., Cyril D.
Radioman 1st Class
USCGR
Stiles, William P.
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
Stillman, Washington E.
Chief Pharmacist's Mate
USCG
Strickland, Myron K.
Radioman 3rd Class
USCGR
Stuckey, Floyd
Coxswain
USCGR
Thomas, Ivan B.
Private
U.S. Army
Thomas, Robert E.
Yeoman 1st Class
USCG
Thornburgh, James R.
Machinist's Mate 1st Class
USCGR
Turner, Hubert
Motor Machinist's Mate 1c
USCGR
Twait, Vernon H.
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class
USCGR
Vaughan, William W.
Gunner's Mate 2nd Class
USCG
Vedder, Edgar L.
Chief Electrician's Mate
USCGR
Villemont, Samuel E.
Watertender 3rd Class
USCGR
Vincent, Harold L.
Watertender 2nd Class
USCGR
Walko, John F.
Coxswain
USCGR
Ward, Eugene J.
Steward 1st Class
USCG
Wardel, Delon R.
Coxswain
USCGR
Watts, Lawton
Private 1st Class
U.S. Army
West, Kinchion D.
Signalman 2nd Class
USCGR
Wetts, Woodrow H.
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
White, Alton
Seaman 2nd Class
USCGR
Wood, Charles B.
Ship's Cook 1st Class
USCGR
Zaffore, Tom
Seaman 1st Class
USCGR
       
*
Listed on USS Serpens memorial at Arlington National Cemetery,
but unable to independently confirm.
   
 
This list contains the names of 250 known casualties (193 Coast Guardsmen,
56 U.S. Army servicemen and 1 civilian). Sources indicate the total number of
men lost was 257. It is possible that the original number is in error. It is also
possible that there are seven names missing from this list.


To submit a photo, biographical information or correction please email the webmaster.


MaritimeQuest received this message on Mar. 9, 2008:

My Brother, Martin P. Baronich served on the U.S.S. Serpens AK-97 until an accident aboard ship killed him. The date was October 15, 1943. I would appreciate any information you could get for me.

Sincerely Robert W. Baronich

(To reply to the message please email the webmaster)