Biography of Jerry Krim

AM3/C, VI Division, USS Belleau Wood CVL-24, USN, WWII

   My name is Jerry Krim. My friend Joe Butcho enlisted in the Navy with me in our hometown of Hazleton, Pa. We arrived by train from Philly Dec. 1, 1942 at Coddington Point, Newport for Boot Camp. After training I was assigned to and became a plankowner of the USS Belleau Wood, a light carrier that was just being built. I became a AM/3c and was assigned to the V1 Division. We served in the Pacific and on 30th October, 1944, we were hit by a Kamikaze.

   I lost my closest buddy John Kudella on the mount that one of our planes was blown onto on the 30th. I went over the side, and was one of the 13 picked up by the U.S.S. Patterson on the 30th of Oct. 44.

It's a Small World

   About 3 years after the end of the war, I engaged in conversation a young man who came into my fathers place of business in my home town of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a small city of thirty thousand souls in the hard coal region of northeast Pennsylvania. It wasn't long until the fact that we both served in the navy came out and when I said I was on the U.S.S. Belleau Wood , he excitedly announced that he was on the U.S.S. Patterson DD 396 that had fished out of the ocean 13 crew members of the Belleau Wood on that fateful 30th of October 1944! When I told Jim (his name was James Mchlarny) that I was one of the 13 it wasn't long until we realized that because of a particular thing that happened that day, that Jim was the actual one who hauled me aboard and gave me his sack that night.

   To make a long story short, when the Patterson, several hours after the kamikaze attack, came back to pick up guys who were forced by fire and explosions to to into the sea came upon 4 of us who where clinging to a lifenet, I missed the cargo net the Patterson had lowered about midship. The ship still had some forward movement and I managed to cling to the propeller guard just above the still turning screws. The sailor who climbed down from the poop deck was Jim Mclarney. As I told my experience that day we both instantly realized that we were the two involved.

   Jim said "I got something at home to show you" and rushed to his house to bring back a picture of the burial at sea of two of our Belleau Wood shipmates that later died on the Patterson.

Burial Service on the USS Patterson for crewman of the USS Belleau Wood

   The next morning we were transferred by breech boy and stretchers to a fleet tanker and then to the Belleau Wood being escorted back to Ulithi along with the damaged U.S.S. Franklin.

   I lost track of Jim when I left the coal regions in 1949. Several years ago when in a letter from the U.S.S. Patterson reunion group appeared in our newsletter looking to located guys from several different ships (including an Australian cruiser) that the great little ship rescued, I contacted them and discovered that Jim Mchlarny unfortunately died in an industrial accident in 1978.

   I have been trying to locate others from the 13 (two died on the Patterson). I meet two on reunions Al Napoli and another who has passed away since.

   For the information of all, the Patterson was one of the most decorated tin cans and a Pearl Harbor survivor and was in the Pacific for the entire war. Bravo Zulu to the great crew of the Patterson.

----- Jerry Krim (AM3c) VI Division

Email: w3sta AT excite DOT com

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