World: Becton's Word

Six Japanese suicide planes crash-dived the destroyer off Okinawa. A bomb jammed the rudder, and the ship heeled in a sitting-duck circle. Flaming gasoline billowed over the decks, burning gunners strapped to their seats. Said Commander Frederick J. Becton: "I'll never abandon ship as long as a gun will fire."

In Seattle this week citizens could troop wonderingly aboard to gape at the shattered mast, twisted guns and clawed hull of the 2,200-ton destroyer Laffey, still-floating proof of Becton's word.

The cost of that furious two-hour battle to the Laffey was 31 men killed...

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