During WW II, Joe Zablotny sailed on the destroyer, USS Newcomb (DD-586)–said to be the most attacked ship in the Pacific. Once they were hit by five Kamikaze planes–four striking the 376 foot destroyer at the same time. “We took one hell of a beating,” Joe says of the Japanese attack on the Newcomb. They were out to get the Newcomb–payback for sinking an Imperial battleship.
During the air attack, Joe’s torpedo training was useless against the Japanese. But he used his damage control training to keep the stern alfoat–a critical response that helped save the ship.
Like so many referrals to the project, we were introduced to Johnstown WW II veteran Joe Zablotny through a child or grandchild.. Earlier in the spring of 2013, LaDawn Yesho contacted us to interview her grandfather–one of the few remaining survivors of the USS Newcomb (DD 586)–one of the fiercest, battle hardened destroyers in the Pacific. What a story, we thought. We had to hear it! So, we arranged to interview Joe on June 3rd in the venerable Gettysburg Room of Oakland’s Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum.