Tue, 29 May 2001 12:58:32 -0400 From: "Kevin P Barnet" Organization: KeySpan Energy X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.73 [en] (Win95; U) X-Accept-Language: en MIME-Version: 1.0 To: spyce@onebox.com Subject: DD461 Shipmate Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Hello Leona, My name is Kevin Barnet and my father served on the USS Forrest during WWII. My father's name was John (Jack) Barnet he was a WT3, which I believe was a Water Tender 3rd Class. He served on the ship from his enlistment until the end of the war. He volunteered to go back to Boston with the ship after it was hit by the Kamikaze. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1974 in a car accident when I was ten years old. My mother just joined him last June. Before she passed away she gave me a knife that was my father's. The story I was told was that my Dad got it from a Marine who took it off a dead Japanese soldier. How my Dad ended up with it I have no idea. It's a very interesting knife. It's all metal (handle too) with a 7 inch blade, and brass knuckles attached to the handle. While my father was on the ship he carved into the handle the names of the islands in the Pacific they were at. I guess with all the hype of the movie Pearl Harbor (which I think was very good) and Memorial Day, I decided to do some research on my father's ship. That's how I came upon your e-mail. I plan to make a display case for the knife, and I wanted to include a picture of the Forrest and of my Dad in the case. However, the thought of contacting someone who knew my Dad back then is very intriguing. How is your search for shipmates going? Have you had any luck finding a ship log or book? If one were found I would love to read it. I thought you might be interested in my father's story of the day the ship was attacked by Kamikaze's. Please understand it's a story my father told me when I was nine or ten. He was a great storyteller, so God only knows how much he embellished. As I stated before he was a WT3 and was bellow deck during most attacks. However, on this day he was above deck just before the attack started. When the attack started my father said he was at first startled and then mesmerized by what was going on. He told me the roar of the guns was deafening. The flack that burst in the sky above him looked like deadly black flowers in the sky. The anti-aircraft guns tracers screamed across the sky like shooting stars. He said that if it wasn't so scary and serious it would have been an awesome sight. He quickly came to his senses when out of the darkness of the flack he saw the Japanese fighter diving towards the ship. He started to run towards the bow or stern I can't remember, but while he was running he was looking at the attacking plane not where he was heading. Evidently, there was a gangway (bridge) that connected two parts of the ship, but during battles it was taken down. Since my father was never above deck during an attack, and was too busy watching the Zero diving at what he now believed was directly at him; he ran right off one deck and crashed on his hands and knees into the lower deck. He made his way to the other side, went up the ladder and continued his sprint to safety when the Kamikaze struck! He told me he was very lucky in two ways. First, the bomb strapped to the plane didn't explode it was a dud, had it detonated it would have been a lot worse for all of them. Second, the plane crashed through to where he normally would have been stationed. He said he lost some of his best friends on the ship that day. He volunteered to go back to Boston with the crippled ship for repairs, but by the time they reached Boston the war was over. It's funny, as a kid that was the most exciting story I heard. But I now can tell that my Dad was a lot more proud of the work they did during D-Day. I only wish I paid more attention and was captivated by those stories as well. Good luck in your search, if you could share with me any information you receive I would be very grateful. Send me an e-mail when you get this so I know it was received. My home e-mail address is KevinBar@msn.com. However, I don't check that as often as I should, so it's best to send the e-mail to Kbarnet@keyspanenergy.com I check this one a few times every day. Thanks, I hope you enjoyed the story. Sincerely, Kevin Barnet