|Edson F. Bolles|
|Shell Okinawa from Battleship|
|ABOARD A U.S. BATTLESHIP, off Okinawa (Delayed)—Robert S.
Hempelman, Coxswain, USN, whose wife lives on Route 4, Eau Claire, and
Edson F. Bolles, Watertender, Third Class, son of Louis G. Bolles, 1420
Ninth Street, Menomonie, are fighting aboard this veteran battleship,
which poured 1,500-pound shells onto Okinawa for six days to clear the way
for troops taking part in the greatest amphibious landing of the Pacific
His ship, which saw service in World War I and has blasted the Japs through five previous campaigns of this war, underwent numerous air attacks during the last few days before the landings. Two torpedoes launched against her never reached their mark.
Before dawn of "Love Day," she was brought into position to give the beaches a final working over. The men were up at 2:30 am and at their battle stations soon afterward, undaunted by three Jap suicide planes which made futile runs against the ship.
At 6:30 am, along with other ships of the task force, the battleship began her final bombardment on pillboxes, airplane revetments, observation posts, and caves. Scores of Navy planes struck at inland targets at the same time, while to seaward, landing craft were moving in.
By 7:30, smoke from the intense barrages screened the island. In a lull that came an hour later, some of his mates were able to watch through the smoke with binoculars as the first waves of Marines hit the beach.
Anxiously awaiting reports of the Marines' progress over the ship's loudspeakers, he and the crew sent up a cheer at the news that strategic Yontan Airstrip had been taken. The ship's bombardment had paid off.