My father was Albert L. Cover. He was a Seaman Second Class. He told me that he was a 20mm gunner. He was assigned to the Turner when she was commissioned on April 16 1943 and served on her to the end.
He had just entered the mess when the first explosion occured . He told me that when the day started he was dressed in wool pants, a denim shirt, wool sweater, and hat . When they took him off the Turner and onto the coast guard cutter, he was wearing his shoes and a leather belt. The rest had been burned or blown off his body.
He said when he came to after the first explosion his pants were now shorts and the sweater was patches. His arms and legs were burned and all the hair on his head was burned off . He tried to get top side and he remenbered having trouble walking because there were so many dead lying in the passage way . He told me of one man who was blown in half, with his upper torso some 20 feet from his lower body. He made his way top side.
I don't know too much more except that at one point he went to the stern with the thought of jumping off and making a swim for it, but decided that with his burns and the cold icey water that the shock would kill him. So he went back forward to help . Someone perhaps one of the 2 surviving officer's sent him below to look for wounded. It was there that he got caught near one of the secondary blasts and lost the rest of his clothes. He was found and taken off the ship shortly after the explosion occured.
I have seen his medical reports and I know that he had second and third degree burns along with powder burns over 65 % of his body and a fist size chunk blown out of his hip .I do know his case was critial because a priest preformed the last rite on him 3 times durning his recovery .
It is a strange feeling knowing that I am alive as are my sisters as well as a brother who died at age 37 because some person or persons that I will never know saved my fathers life.
I am happy to have been able to help get some information out about the people behind the event.
I guess I am just trying to say Thank You some how to those unknown men...
Son of Albert L. Cover, USS Turner DD-648