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Ernest Evans Orders Left Full Rudder

America's Forgotten Heroes

The Daily Wire


53.9K Ratings

🗓️ 5 July 2021

⏱️ 64 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


As a young officer on an obsolete destroyer in the opening days of World War Two, Ernest Evans had watched a combined American, British and Australian fleet get decimated by the seemingly unstoppable Imperial Japanese Navy. Forced to cover the humiliating retreat, he swore if given a fighting ship of his own he would never run from enemy forces again. Made captain of a brand-new Navy destroyer, the USS Johnston, this full-blooded Cherokee drilled his crew endlessly, turning his command into a finely balanced, well-oiled fitting ship. On October 24th, 1944, Evans found himself confronted with a force of 19 Japanese battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers. Without orders, he turned his unarmed Tin Can around and sailed directly at the Yamato, the most powerful warship ever created, any one turret of which weighed more than his entire ship. Following his example, the remainder of the unarmored destroyers and destroyer escorts guarding Task Force Three —callsign Taffy 3 — turned into utterly overwhelming odds, and fought so ferociously that the Japanese fleet abandoned their mission and turned around. For his actions that day in the Battle Off Samar Island, Ernest Evans was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the story of Taffy 3 would enter the history books as the most amazing David vs. Goliath battles ever fought. and produce the most glorious two hours in the history of the United States Navy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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On March 25th 1943, a brand new Fletcher class destroyer rolled down the ways at Seattle


Tacoma Shipyard.


The US built 175 of them in two years that's pretty much one every four days.


And it wasn't just in Washington state either they had additional shipyards in New Jersey,


Maine, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, New York, and California.


But this particular one would be DD557.


Her name was the USS Johnston and her skipper was Commander Ernest E Evans, a 35-year-old


full-blooded Cherokee from Pawnee, Oklahoma.


The Fletcher class was the best destroyer of the war.


Using a mere 2,700 tons, she mounted five super 5-inch naval guns to forward of the


twin stacks and three more aft of them.


The Fletchers were constructed entirely of three quarter-inch steel plate.


The turrets, the superstructure, even the sides of her hull were no thicker than the


steel on the decks.


Small wonder then that destroyer crews referred to their unarmored ships as tin cans.


Now each of the Fletcher's five 5-inch turrets had a number.


The turrets, 51 and 52 were forward of the stacks, 53 and 54 were behind them, and turrets


55 right at the stern.


Now while their five-inch guns could barely scratch the paint on the 12-24 inches of steel


armor lining the sides of enemy cruisers and battleships, the Fletchers did carry a


weapon that could kill a capital ship, her Mark 15 torpedoes.


A 10-fish spread from a Fletcher class destroyer was a deadly threat.


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