Wilbur L. Taylor-US NAVY
The LCS 57 received the Presidential Unit Citation.
Vice Adm. J. B. Oldendorf awarded the LCS 57 crew the Presidential Unit Citation on Oct. 12, 1945 for their action against kamikaze pilots. Ship’s Captain Harry Lee Smith, accepted the citation on behalf of the ship’s company. The 250 ton LCS 57, armed with three 50 millimeter cannon and bank of rockets withstood attacks from 25 Japanese suicide planes during the invasion of Okinawa on April 12, 1945, the day President Franklin Roosevelt died. The LCS 57 took three direct hits from kamikaze planes.
“Her sturdy and valiant service under a relentless and prolonged suicide-bombing attack contributed to the effective defense of our ships and reflects the highest credit upon the LCS-57, her courageous officers and men and the United States Naval Service,” the citation, signed by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal said.
The LCS was so badly damaged it saw no further battle action before the war ended four months later. However, the ship was repaired in the Philippines and saw further duty in Japan, Korea and China before crossing the Pacific to be decommissioned in Florida.
Ironically, the ship was put back into service after decommissioning, and loaned as an auxiliary vessel to the Japanese government between 1952 and 1958.
It was destroyed as an atomic bomb site in the Pacific in September 1958.
Besides the Presidential Unit Citation, Wilbur was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asian Clasp and the Philippine Liberation Medal.