Lt. j.g. Philip G. Rick - World War II Veteran
The Story of the Japanese Submarine I-19 during World War II as told by
Lt. j.g. Philip G Rick, USNR
The Liberty ship USS Antelope, designed to transport troops and cargo, sustained severe damage midship on the starboard side enroute to the Pacific Theater. South of Fiji she was attacked by the Japanese submarine I-19. Three men were killed in the engine room as well as one man on the main deck. The ship was towed to a floating dry dock at Espiritu Santo for repairs. I received orders to board the ship as Officer in Charge and remained so in the New Hebrides and later in the Philippines until the end of the war.*
Far more damage was done by I-19 to the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, which took three torpedos and sank. Then the I-19 attacked the battleship North Carolina, which sustained severe damage and had to return to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Also, the destroyer USS O’Brien was lost, attacked by I-19.
Finally, the I-19 was spotted on the surface by the destroyer USS Radford. The I-19 dove to escape, but went down with all hands from depth charges delivered by the Radford. Before their loss, one must not forget the damage inflicted on the enemy by theWasp, the North Carolina and the O’Brien.
*The USS Antelope survived WW2 but met an inglorious end when sold to a Chinese firm to be scrapped for her metal.