Tribute to Bill G. Shrader
Branch of Service: US Marine Corps
Duty Station: USS Mississippi
Specialty: Anti-aircraft machine gunner
Marine Corp PFC Bill G. Shrader's qualification as an anti-aircraft machine gunner was put to good use on the USS Mississippi from July 5, 1944 to November 8, 1945. This is where we pick up the history of the USS Mississippi during that time.
U.S.S. Mississippi (BB-41)
Bill Shrader would have manned one of the gun positions you see in the circular "tubs" on the perimeter of the ship.
From March 1944 to mid-summer, the USS Mississippi was at Puget Sound for an overhaul and the addition of six anti-aircraft guns. After the overhaul was complete, the Mississippi returned to the war zone, providing support for landings on Peleliu in the Palau Islands on September 12, 1944. A week later she traveled to Manus Island and remained there until October 12. Upon departing Manus, she arrived near Leyte in the Phillipines and took part in shelling on the Leyte east coast on October 19, 1944. Five days later she participated in the Battle of Surigao Strait, helping destroy a powerful Japanese Force.
The Mississippi continued to provide support in the Leyte Gulf until November 16, 1944 when she departed for the Admiralty Islands and San Pedro Bay to prepare for landings at Luzon. She arrived on December 28, 1944 and began bombarding Lingyen Gulf on January 6, 1945. Despite taking damage near her waterline after being hit by a kamikaze, she continued to provide support for invasion forces until February 10, 1945.
She underwent repairs at Pearl Harbor, after which she left for Nakagusuku Wan, Okinawa. In support of landing forces at the site, the Mississippi was able to destroy the Shuri Castle defenses that had so far prevented the offensive from advancing. On June 5, 1945, she was hit by another Kamikaze but continued to provide support at Okinawa for another 11 days.
After the surrender of Japan was announced, the USS Mississippi traveled to Sagami Wan, Honshu to provide support for the occupation force, arriving there on August 27, 1945. She anchored in Tokyo Bay where she witnessed the signing of surrender documents before returning home. The USS Mississippi was awarded eight battle stars for her service during World War II.
Submitted by Carol Lee (niece)