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PO1 Nicola Novello

Nicola Novello Story

12 March, the destroyer, Longshaw, stood out for Okinawa on the 21st, escorting the support and bombardment unit for the invasion. Arriving 25 March, the ship shelled enemy targets ashore in support of American troops. Serving in this capacity throughout April and into May, the ship's crew performed magnificently. On call for naval gunfire support day or night, Longshaw remained continuously on station supplying her much needed firepower, despite steady attacks by Japanese suicide planes.
On the morning of 18 May 1945, following a grueling four-day period of fire support, Longshaw, en route to her patrol area, ran aground on a coral reef just south of Naha airfield, at 0719. Other attempts to free her failing, tug Arikara (ATF-98) arrived at 0945. At 1000,[1] tug's skipper, Lieutenant John Aikin, and Radioman First Class James J Zikus, boarded to arrange recovery and communications. Towing commenced at 1100. At 1101, Japanese shore batteries opened up, hitting the water between Arikari and Longshaw. The stranded destroyer attempted to fight back as best she could; but, as she opened fire, her bow was completely blown off by a hit in the forward magazine. When efforts to save her appeared hopeless, the order "Abandon Ship" was relayed by word of mouth from the bridge. At 1105, all hands on the bridge were killed, injured,; the Longshaw's skipper, Lieutenant Commander Clarence William Becker, was reportedly there, mortally wounded, At 1115, the abandon ship order reached the aft fire room and engine room.
About 1200, LCI(L)-356 came alongside to remove all wounded. The ship was burning, shells were exploding in their magazines, and the decks were hot enough to cause burns; many in the rescue party were awarded medals.
The casualties included 86 dead or missing, including the skipper. (The missing were later declared dead.In addition to the dead and missing, 95 crew members were wounded, and 113 crew members survived the sinking. Nicola Novello was one of the survivors who went on to return to New York and marry, but lost his young wife and baby during childbirth. He traveled for a few years and eventually returned to marry Mary Constance and had 4 children. His son Sal and his family live here in Lindy and our family sincerely thanks the Kiwanis for this unique opportunity to honor our father, a great man Nicola Novello.