Date: May 2, 2006
Creator: Misenhimer, Richard & Lebow, Cleatus A.
Description: Interview with Cleatus A. LeBow, a serviceman in the U. S. Navy during World War II. LeBow joined the navy in 1943 and went from Lubbock, Texas to San Diego for recruit training. He shipped out to Pearl Harbor aboard an LST from San Francisco. At Pearl Harbor, he was assigned to a work detail aboard the USS Oklahoma, which had just been righted. Shortly thereafter, he boarded the USS Indianapolis to serve as a range finder operator on one of the gun turrets. Upon leaving Hawaii, the Indianapolis went to Tarawa and then the Marshall Islands. LeBow witnessed Japanese civilian suicides on Saipan. He also witnessed the flag-raising on Iwo Jima from his range finder position aboard the ship. LeBow describes being hit by a kamikaze off Okinawa. He also discusses delivering atomic bomb components to Tinian and being torpedoed on the way to the Philippines. He describes abandoning the ship and spending five days in the water, including his faith in God, hallucinations, rescue, and his recovery.
Contributing Partner: National Museum of the Pacific War/Admiral Nimitz Foundation