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USS KIDD Accident:
12 September 1943

"We were coming back from the Solomon Islands were we were torpedoed. The USS KIDD came out of Pearl Harbor to escort us in. It was brand new out of the States. We were playing war games with them. We were going to illuminate them with star shells. We got a fowl up in the plotting room. Instead of illuminating them, we had the star shell was shooting star shells just like it was a surface attack. We had a good track on the KIDD. We fired two star shells, One hit the water line and one went through officers’ country. The next day they came along side us so we could refuel them. Our cooks and bakers on board here made a big cake with a big purple heart on it. We sent it over to them with the ice cream. Their captain thanked us for the damage control problem that we gave them. There was no explosion, but right on the water line was a five inch hole with a big rag stuck in it."

-Harold A. Smith

 

"They made me first loader on the five inch.... (One time) we were firing illumination starshells, and I was asleep in the mount. Of course, we were in automatic and this was practice. There were only two of us in the mount. The rest of the crew was outside the mount. Well, out of this cold sleep, the mount captain grabs me in the shirt and starts screaming at me to load. He had the headphones on, you see, so he got the order to load. Since the rest of the crew was outside, he takes the powder can and throws it in. I jump up and grab the shell and load it and rammed it. I never heard as much confusion in my life. We had fired into the USS KIDD, one of our own ships. These two little hands are the ones that loaded it; but I was only a seaman, so it wasn’t my responsibility. This was the officer’s and director’s fault, I suppose. Anyway, there were no casualties on the KIDD, but she took a direct hit. "

-Michael L. Horton


1999 The Battleship USS North Carolina Commission
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