Willie F. Roberts

USS West Virginia

Willie Fred Roberts, Coxswain, born March 26, 1920, Echols County, GA. Graduated high school and joined the USN Oct. 27, 1941. Served aboard CV-5 Yorktown and USS West Virginia (BB-48).

When the (CV-5) Yorktown was sunk in the Midway Battle, he spent several hours in the ocean before being picked up by the destroyer Russell. He was taken to the cruiser, Portland, then to the Fulton and finally to the West Virginia. He helped salvage Wee Vee and returned with her to Bremerton Navy Yard for repairs and complete overhaul.

He served aboard the Wee Vee for two and a half years and remembers the Japanese kamikaze coming aboard. He had many close calls but was never injured. When the peace treaty was being signed in Tokyo Harbor, he received orders to return to the States for discharge.

Discharged in September 1945. His medals and awards include the American Defense, American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, Philippine Liberation and WWII Victory Medal.

While in Bremerton he met and married his wife, Vivian (Bray) of Hoquiam, WA. They have seven children and 12 grandchildren. They have been married 52 years. Good hitch, wouldn't you say? He farms, ranches and is a pulp mill employee.

Reprinted with permission from Turner Publishing

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