USS Mississinewa AO-59


James C. Zahourek - of the USS Munsee - WWII
BM2c James C. Zahourek - of the USS Munsee - WWII
Visit the Veteran's History Project to see more details, along with a filmed interview of James C. Zahourek from 2005.
Kevin Keyes passed the word to us that, regrettably, his grandfather, BM2c James C. Zahourek, passed away today, 5 JAN 2020, at the age of 95. James was a USS Munsee crewman who boarded the Mississinewa during rescue operations back on 20 Nov 1944. He leaves behind Letha Zahourek, his wife of 75 years, and is survived by his children, Gay and Jeff, and his grandchildren, Jamie and Kevin. James Zahourek, along with the crew of the Munsee and other fleet tugs, took heroic actions that day in trying to save the Mississinewa during a grueling fire. Some of the men of the Munsee were actually fighting the fire onboard Mississinewa until the water was up to their thighs and only quit their attempts when the ship started to shift to port. Like all those who risked so much back in WWII, James will be missed.

Due to recent losses of supporters who have kept the USS Mississinewa from slipping into the realm of forgotten history, and the recent discovery of photos identifying four sailors who passed away November 20, 1944, we've created a new Newsletter.  See Volume 9, Spring 2019 for details of these recent events/findings.

Roosevelt Magett, StM1c

Crewman Roosevelt Magett StM1c, lost in the sinking of the AO-59 finally identified. See more . . .

George W. Huss Nov 2018

George W. Huss, RM3c, celebrates 94th birthday, November 2018. See more . . .

New! Limited edition Japanese language version of Kaiten by Michael Mair and Joy Waldron now available.  Go to Merchandise page to see more . . .

Teen book, Faces in the Flames: A Ghost Story, written by Ron Fulleman brings splashes of history into a modern ghost story.
Read more . . .

Kaiten by Mike Mair and Joy Waldron

Kaiten: Japan's Secret Manned Suicide Submarine And the First American Ship It Sank in WWII

by authors Michael Mair and Joy Waldron


Kaiten Facebook Page

Memorial on Mangejang Island, at Ulithi, for those lost in the sinking of the Mississinewa. Click on photos to enlarge.

Photos courtesy of Lt. Cmdr. Carter, US Navy.

(2018 - Capt. John A. Carter now serves as the chief of staff for the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.)

Actual 16mm film taken on 20 November 1944 of the Mississinewa as it burned not long after being hit by the Kaiten.  (Remember when you watch this that the entire 553 feet long 'Miss' is completely engulfed within the smoke.)

Margaret's Story

Left: Margaret Pence, now known as “Peggy” Howell, christening the USS Mississinewa on March 28, 1944. Click on Margaret’s photo to see the autographed picture of her christening the ship, and the photos she shared with us given to her by Captain Beck in 1945.

Read More

Click on photo to view crew pictures/ID's

Click on the picture above to view the Navy Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)'s PowerPoint presentation on the removal of the oil from the sunken USS Mississinewa in 2003.

AO-59's KIAs

Battle ribbons won by AO-59The U.S.S. Mississinewa was a T3-S2-A3 Auxiliary Oiler, commissioned on May 18, 1944. The role of the U.S.S. Mississinewa was to refuel ships, while underway, in the South Pacific during WWII. She, along with the other Auxiliary Oilers, played a crucial role in keeping combat vessels supplied with fuel.

On November 20, 1944, the U.S.S. Mississinewa was struck by a Kaiten (Imperial Japanese Navy manned suicide torpedo with a 3,418 lb. warhead), became totally engulfed in flames and subsequently sank with a loss of 63 U.S. Sailors and one Japanese Kaiten pilot. The sinking was captured in still photographs by Sid Harris, a sailor aboard fleet tug, Munsee.  See our Newsletter, Vol. 2 for some of his pictures. It was also captured by 16mm film, which has been put into a YouTube video (see on this page).

We want to express our utmost gratitude to all those brave veterans who risked their lives and especially to those who gave their lives to help ensure the freedom that we enjoy today.


(L-R) Mike Mair & Ray, Ron, and Bob Fulleman, USS Lackawanna, AO-40 Reunion - Seattle, WA - 2000
(L-R) Mike Mair & Ray, Ron, and Bob Fulleman, USS Lackawanna, AO-40 Reunion - Seattle, WA - 2000

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