USS CORRY (DD-463) Survivors' First-hand Accounts of D-Day


Lloyd "Red” Brantley
Radioman, 2nd class,  USS Corry (DD-463)

I remember we were supposed to go on the invasion on June 5, and on the fourth of June Captain Hoffman called the crew and stepped back on the fantail of the USS Corry, and was telling us where we were headed. And I will never forget that he said we were going to Utah Beach, and we are going to be marked expendable. After that, I remember that people were kind of in shock and we went down and had a meal, like a holiday meal. And of course the boys were kidding one another, "Eat good boys, eat good because this might be your last meal."

Then we were supposed to be on our way.  The channel was rough.  And all we could see for miles around was vessels and landing craft. I was sitting on a circuit because I was a radioman and I had a code sheet.  And I wasn't getting anything out of that circuit until all of a sudden three digits came over. I looked at my code sheet, and I said, "Oh my God." It was to delay operations 24 hours so we immediately got word out and all of a sudden I remember thinking, "Good gracious, I hope I got it right." Finally, they sent a repeat saying the same thing.

The next day, June 6, we went out again and we were all at our duty stations and about 6 a.m. in the morning there was a terrific explosion on the Corry. We had hit a mine and lost power immediately. So we turned on the emergency lights and I took one guy named Benny, a radioman also, who was cut up on the knees to the wardroom. And by the time I bandaged him up and came out, the water was running across the deck. So I went down on the port side and there was a life raft there and it was underwater, but it was still tied to the ship. And a bunch of my shipmates were in there, and I took my knife and cut the raft loose and then got into it. Well, we were being shelled from the beach and we had one fellow from Chicago and he was right there beside me, and we got smashed by one of these shells and the shrapnel flew and it hit him in the head. He died instantly. And they continued to shell and it looked like we were going toward the beach, so I got off the raft and went back to the ship, where I crossed over to the side and went off into the water again. I was alone, and I thank the Lord for my life belt because I stayed there until the Fitch came in and I remember very much that the water was so cold and it was such a dreary, gloomy day. I was so weak from struggling out there that I couldn’t pull myself into this life boat and my good buddy from Pittsburgh, Elmer Maurer, he reached me and got me by the belt.  And we are still good buddies today.

When we went aboard the ship, I won’t forget our Dr. Howard Andersen. He was checking to see if everyone was OK. I said that I thought I was but I thought my feet were frozen. We went below deck and we went over to this transport ship, a hospital. Then they brought us back to England.

This made me appreciate life a lot more. We were young people and I certainly was saddened by the loss of the Corry because we had grown to love it.  It was everything to us. And me and my shipmates had been on it together for several years and it was just a terrible loss. Then when we got back to the States, we were all split up.

But I think one of the greatest experiences in my life has been with our ship’s reunion, which started back in 1974. We had 23 survivors who attended that first reunion. And now, 16 of those are deceased. But we look forward to it every year, and we are just like a family. We have gotten closer together. Our children go with us, and some of their grandchildren come. Our crowd is getting smaller but we’ve looked forward to going every year.

Lloyd "Red” Brantley
2nd class
USS Corry (DD-463)



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