Thomas A. Lombardi
USS West Virginia
Ensign Thomas Lombardi was my father. He passed away from cancer in 1990, but told me throughout my childhood of his experiences on the West Virginia. He and Bert English went to a formal dance at the Officer's Club the night before the Battle. His date, my future mother, was living in Honolulu, so they took a cab to drop her off, but got back to the pier too late to catch the last launch out to the ship (2:00 AM). He and Bert slept ashore on park benches and were waiting for the 8:00 AM launch in the morning when the attack started at 7:55. Once the launch arrived, they jumped in, still in their white tuxedo jackets, and headed for the ship. By the time that they got aboard, the West Virginia had already been hit by several torpedoes and was afire. They spent the rest of the day helping the wounded and fighting fires. He stayed with the ship during the salvage operation and went with it back to Bremerton. When it sailed in mid 1944, I believe he was Assistant Gunnery Officer. He told me the story of Surigao Straight many times. Over the years he kept in touch with Ed Jacoby, Harold Sears, Bert Lammerman, Freddy White? and a number of others. I have his scrapbook of the Pearl Harbor Battle and my Mother has a number of the original invasion charts from Okinawa or other invasions. I would love to hear from any of his shipmates that are still around and remember him.
Rick Lombardi (son of Thomas)
Assistant Gunnery Officer Lt. Cmdr T. A. Lombardi was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions during the battle of Surigao Strait in October 1944.
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