A Fascinating Picture
Recently, I have been corresponding with
Laura McKagan, the daughter of Challen McCune, who served
as the Executive Officer on the USS Laffey (DD 724) for a short period of time. He was on board during
our assignment on Radar Picket Station #1.
The second day on station - Sunday, April
15 - we were ordered to investigate a downed Japanese
aircraft that had been spotted by a Navy patrol plane. Upon arrival at the scene, we found the damaged
aircraft still floating and containing the body of a Japanese pilot. We assumed him to be kamikaze pilot
who had missed his target. His body was taken on board and items were removed from his person..
One such item is the picture shown below. It was the picture of the young pilot with some Japanese
writing on the back.
This writing was shown to a Japanese
instructor who teaches the language in a language immersion program
available to students in our public schools. He was able to make a general translation but was hindered by
the fact parts of the grammar are not used anymore.
Writing on the back of the picture.
First (top) line indicates the year
it was taken. According to the instructor
it appears to be in the 9th year of the reign of Hirohito
Second (middle) line indicates it was taken in the wintertime
Last line is the young man's name
English writing is probably that of Lt. Challen McCune
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