Cavalla Crew Interview

Rudy "Ski" Cieplenski

In the control room. Preparing dinner

June 15, 1944, sighted 2 targets + 3 escorts. Started attack, but got sighted and enemy got away. Received orders to chase. We chased, but had to give up. We sighted a Japanese task force but did not attempt to attack. Followed task force for 2 days and then lost them. Came upon them the next day (June 19, 1944). Got within range and fired at carrier (Shokaku) which was loaded with planes. Captain Kossler fired six fish and then dove deep. We heard 3 explosions, which meant we had three hits and three misses. We dove beyond depth limits, lots of leaks. The enemy by my count dropped 186 charges. My station was the forward battery room, all alone. Anyways, I was on my hands and knees. So here I am 50+ years to talk about it.

Perth 1945

September 1997 ~ All photos courtesy of Mr. Cieplenski

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