Veterans History Project: Armour Idom - - Jackson, MS

Veterans History Project: Armour Idom

By Jennifer Martin - email

"When the bomb fell on Pearl Harbor, I said, 'Thank you,' to myself. A prayer. 'Thank you.' Because I thought anything that had a beginning would have an ending.  If I lived, I'd get home again."

Armour Idom had only been in the Navy two months when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He had four more years of service ahead.

"The first ship I was assigned was a destroyer."

He served as a record keeper, aboard the USS O'Brien. They operated in the south Pacific. They were escorting a convoy of transports in September of 1942, when they were hit by a Japanese torpedo.

"The bow of the ship seemed to come up a little bit, settled down and all kind of water come overboard. The keel was broken in 2 or 3 places. And the other ships, we were part of a task force.

They told us over the loudspeaker, 'all hands report to the fan tale.' It's the back part of the main deck of the ship. And then the word came, abandon ship. And one man... I can't say it (cries). One of the men beside me started saying (unintelligible) and over the side he went. And we were right behind him."

He was picked up after about an hour in the water.

"We did not lose a single man. Not a man on that ship. Everyone made it off."

He was taken to the USS Cimarron.

"The Cimarron was supposed to go Pearl Harbor. But for some reason or other, they decided it came on to the states. I called a certain little girl. I said 'I'm home. Let's get married when I get home'."

After he got married, he decided to change the course of his naval career.

"I made the application to go to midshipman school."

He was assigned to the USS Abner Read, but two days before it was set to sail, he was reassigned.

"I have always given thanks for that event because the Abner Read went to sea and was sunk."

He was assigned to the USS Tatum, a destroyer escort, headed to Japan.

"We were under attack. I was taking ammunition out of the hold, sending it to the men, and they would lift it up to the guns above deck. One of the ships, the kamikaze come over the fan tail. Apparently the gunners had shot him, killed the pilot. He must have veered to the right, just long enough to miss the superstructure. He came back over, hit the other side of the ship."

The kamikaze had dropped a bomb into the ship's living quarters. But it didn't go off.

After the war ended, Idom was released to the naval reserves and became a fire insurance inspector.

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