On May 5, 1944, the massive USS Colorado battleship left San Francisco for Pearl Harbor as part of Operation Forager, the Allied bid to seize the Central Pacific from the hands of the Imperial Japanese forces.
During an extremely violent encounter in Tinian, gunner Robert E. Lee would get the first taste of war’s brutality after Colorado was struck 22 times by a shore battery, causing significant damage to the ship and several losses. However, the worst was yet to come for Lee and the rest of the Colorado crew. The battleship was then ordered to serve as part of the campaign off Leyte in November, arriving just in time to be on the receiving end of a lethal assault perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese Armed forces.
As the skies darkened with Japanese attack warplanes and anti-aircraft fire, Lee fiercely defended Colorado from his gun post, with the water splattering all around the US fleet from the explosions and the bullets raining down upon the American forces. Then, after a blinding flash of light, Lee turned his head up to see a Japanese Kamikaze aircraft. It was diving straight to his position, and what happened next would seal the fate of the mighty USS Colorado…
Credit Dark Seas