USS Saturn, starboard quarter, taken in 1944 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, now known as Norfolk Naval Shipyard. On April 27, 1944, a fire in the hold killed 15 civilian workers and injured 20 others
Waverly Sykes ran up the gangway into the billowing smoke at Pier 5.
"Chief, there are men trapped in that hold!" workmen on the deck of the USS Saturn shouted.
The Norfolk Navy Yard fire chief could hear the cries of the men below as fire hoses were laid on the deck. He grabbed one and descended the ladder behind his assistant chief, battling flames on his way down into the smoke and fume-filled atmosphere of the ship's third hold.
The firefighters knocked down flames overhead and on the bulkhead. A pile of cork about 6 feet high was on fire on the ship's starboard side. The flames there seemed more stubborn than the rest. They doused them with water and kicked the pile over with their boots until the flames were snuffed out.
Sykes made his way over to the port side of the ship where he stumbled against something soft. He switched on his flashlight and held it close to the object. It was a man.
Another fireman rushed over to help, turned on his light and discovered a second victim.
"Great God, chief! There are some more men over this way!"
All available ambulances were summoned from the city of Portsmouth, Cradock, South Norfolk, Portlock and Western Branch. By the time all the shipyard workmen were accounted for, 15 were dead and 20 injured.
They died battling a 60-day deadline to return the Saturn to its service as a World War II supply ship.
n a May 30, 2016, photo, U.S. Marine veteran R. V. Burgin, 93, salutes during the 76th Annual Memorial Day Service at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
For 35 years after his discharge from the Marines, R.V. Burgin kept his war stories to himself. But when he finally broke his silence, he brought World War II to life for thousands of readers in vivid, and often horrific, detail.
President Donald J. Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Slabinski received the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in March 2002. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Raymond D. Diaz III)
Expected to be announced this month, the new policy will trigger an automatic review at the higher headquarters level within 120 days for any Silver Star or service cross not reviewed by the appropriate service secretary. This will help ensure that troops are not inadvertently approved for lesser awards than they deserve, said Patricia Mulcahy, the Pentagon's director of Officer and Enlisted Personnel Management.
The last airmen who took part in the daring Doolittle Raid during World War II has died.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Dick Cole, who served as Army Lt. Col. James Doolittle's co-pilot during the raid, passed away on Tuesday at 103 years old. His death was first reported by Air Force Magazine's John Tirpak.