The Farmer Who Supported Sherrod: A Veteran of the Battle of Midway
Roger Spooner, the farmer who appeared today on news shows backing up Shirley Sherrod’s story, and who was accused by Andrew Breitbart of being a liar and a “plant,” is not just a lifelong friend of Sherrod; he’s also a veteran of the Battle of Midway.
It’s been more than 67 years since Roger Spooner stood on the deck of the U.S.S. Yorktown, watching an air parade of kamikaze pilots dive into the carrier while he loaded 54-pound shells to fire at circling Japanese planes in a frantic attempt to keep the ship from sinking at the Battle of Midway.
While 165 men on the Yorktown died that day, 85 survived. Some of them remember portions of that day in June. Others remember most of what happened.
“I remember all of it,” Spooner said.
Spooner can almost smell the sea water mixed with oil when he talks about the day the Yorktown was sunk. Spooner and many of his mates spent about 10 hours bobbing up and down in the Pacific in nothing more than their skivvies and a life jacket.
“The dive bombers were coming down right on top of us, straight out of the sun,” Spooner said. “There was nothing we could do with them.”
Spooner said he remembers abandoning the Yorktown and diving into the ocean at about 2:30 p.m. He was rescued by a cruiser about 10 hours later.
That’s a long time to be alone with your thoughts.
“I thought about Iron City,” said Spooner, who joined the Navy in late October, 1941. Two weeks later, Pearl Harbor was bombed and Spooner was thrust straight into the war with no time to go home. “I didn’t think I was ever going to get back.”
(Hat tip: jaunte.)