Orval E. Aylesworth
B Division
USS West Virginia

Orval E. Aylesworth, CMM, born May 11, 1919, Kalispel, MT, and enlisted in the USN Sept. 13, 1939.  As an apprentice seaman, on Dec. 7, 1941, he was standing on a ladder in the evaporator room as the first bomb hit the steaming fireroom.  By the time he got to the machine shop, the ship was listing to port and the bunker fuel was rushing in.  While someone was closing the port hatch, he undogged the starboard hatch.  As he stuck his head over the hatch coaming, another torpedo came through the barber shop.  That was the last memory he had.  He woke up on the hospital ship on Monday.

For eight months he was an engineer on a motor launch, transporting ammunition to ships.  He was then transferred to the USS Ancon (amphibious force).  He was in five invasions: Casablanca, Sicily, Italy, Normandy and Okinawa.  He was on his way to the States for schooling, about 100 miles from Pearl Harbor, when the war ended.

Reprinted with permission from Turner Publishing

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