Nixon, Thomas F. ‘44

Nixon, Thomas F. ‘44

Spoke to him on 2/4/13

He sailed as cadet on the Liberty ship SS Elihu B. Washburne from January to July 1943. In the early evening of July 3, 1943 his ship was struck by one torpedo off the coast of Brazil. He said the explosion knocked off the propeller and rudder. The Captain thought it was good idea to start up the emergency generator and he volunteered to do that. While so doing a second torpedo hit the ship. He clamored up on deck to find that the crew had begun to abandon ship. He left everything he had on board and climbed down the monkey fist knotted lifeline to the lifeboat. His only possession aside from the clothes on his back was knife that he carried with him at all times. There was no loss of life; everyone made it ashore on the lifeboats. His cadet time was finished so he returned to Kings Point to complete his studies. There was a deck cadet on board but he didn’t see much of him. He returned to the Academy for his 50th and 55th reunion. He said of the war experience “We all just did our part.”

 

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