Rudolph John Tichy, LT (jg)

May 11, 1920 - May 12, 2015

 

 

 LT(jg) Rudolph J. Tichy served on the Beale from 1943 through 1946. He joined the Beale when in the Aleutians and was aboard in the battles of Cape Gloucester, the Admiralties, Hollandia, Wakde, Biak, Noemfoor, Morotaim, Surigao Straits, Leyte and Okinawa. Also, he was involved in the occupation of Japan  in Nagasaki and Sasebo at the end of the war. Rudy was awarded the Bronze Star at Surigao. He was involved with the occupation of Japan in Nagasaki and Sasebo. After leaving the Beale, he established himself as a prominent architect and college professor eventually retiring in Columbia, SC. Rudy and his wife Mary attended many of the Beale reunions. Rudy will be missed by all who knew him.

2007 - Frankenmuth

1944 - Bronze Star

Rudy's recollections were recorded after the Banquet at our 2013 Reunion held in Evansville, IN. The entire recording is about 20 minutes. So, we have broken it down into "bite sized pieces". You can hear Rudy speak by clicking on the Blue Arrow  and follow along by scrolling through the text below. You can back-up  the recording by pausing then clicking and dragging on the progress bar. You will have to adjust the volume on your PC.

1943 - The Aleutians

Rudy Tichy - 1943 Aleutians -
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"So, anyway, I joined the Beale when she was in the Aleutians. The other Ensigns and JGs had not gotten their orders, so I had to sleep on a cot in the wardroom until we got rid of these guys. But, the Japanese of course, had gone away from Adak and so basically they did some patrolling. One of the interesting things was, they had these storms called "willy-waws". They were really like a minor tornado. A liberty ship broke in half during one of those. Of course, the Coast Guard was concerened somebody might ram it who didn't have radar. So we patrolled around this broken liberty ship for two or three days until the Coast Guard ship came. A couple of us "smart apples" went to the Captain and said, "why cant we go aboard and claim the ship and we can take all the loot?". Well, Captain Cochran didn't see that. Now, actually, I served uder three captains: Captain Cochran, Captain Coffey and Captain Register. Captain Cochran was a real hard guy to serve for, but he was tough. I think he did a great job because the crew was really in good training. From the Cuban thing, they were sent up to the Aleutians which was a crazy set up and we spent a couple of weeks there. Our favorite hobby was to go to Dutch Harbor where there was an airplane hangar where we could play ball and so forth. Other than that, Cochran had been involved with a squadron of four pipers and there were six of them. They all ran the rocks somewhere in California. This was something for all of us who were officers on deck. He reminded us, "Don't take anybody's word for any navigation stuff. It's your responsibility." This began to dawn on me that this guy was quite a leader. Anyway..."

1943 - Milne Bay, New Guinea

Rudy Tichy - 1943 Milne Bay -
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Our next orders were to go the New Guinea, Milne Bay Rabi. I never could understand, most of the times when the Beale went on a mission, we were alone. The rest of our squadron, I don't know where they were. They were Desron 24. We worked our way and finally got to Milne Bay and to the extreme southeastern  coast of New Guinea. There we were, within the next two or three days, we are going to be in the first invasion. We actually had no experience in this but we did pull up to a dock where the four pipers that were going to leave talked to our crew and got some of the stuff. Anyway, we took off. We were the middle destroyer and the Bronson was on the left van but I do not remember the name of the ship on the right van. We were landing the Marines on New Britain Island. The first thing that shocked us was a Jap plane that came over, dropped a bomb on midships of the Bronson. The thing broke in two and sank. So, that scared the heck out of us. The same problem existed there. They didn't need me in CIC because they already had a CIC guy. So they said we'll put you in charge of the 40mm guns and the 20mm guns at the stern. I had never seen the gun in my life, had never practiced this. We are going along and suddenly, there is a plane flying overhead and he is dropping what we assumed bombs. So, we began firing. Well, the next thing I knew, "Lieutenant Tichy, report to the bridge immediately." I said, "Well, they looked like bombs." We had a couple of officers from the squadron on board and they said, "Have you had any experience in identifying Japanese planes or Japanese ships?" "No, we have never done it, none of us." So, of course, that was corrected very quickly.

1944 - Mac Arthur's Navy

Rudy Tichy - 1944 MacArthur's Navy -
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The next thing was, we were called MacArthur's Navy because mostly he decided what we were gonna do and he seemed to always pick a weekend or a holiday that we had a little minor invasion or we bombed stuff.. So, we were sort of island hopping these various ports where maybe there was a squadron or a group of Japanese there. We also worked with about three of four PT boats. These PT boats would go into these little havens and they would sucker the Japs to shoot at them. We would stand in there with our 5-inchers and knock the heck out of them. But, some of our navigators got a little scared about that. I got the wild idea, "Well, why can't we use our Combat Information Center on this?" We got the Captain's permission to do this and I had a great chief who knew electronics and we would insert a chart of the particular area on the table. We were the ship in the middle and then, of course, it was like GPS and we could see the contours of the islands and what not. It worked great and so that was standard operating procedure. Also, jumping ahead of the story, we did this at Okinawa but I will get into that later. The ironic thing was that this worked so great that Captain Coffey who then was the Captain of the ship was sent to BUSHIPS to further develop this. I didn't get anything out of it but I was satisfied that it worked very well.

Another thing we did that was interesting, at periodic times, we would have maybe six to eight Marine soldiers come aboard and spend time with us. These guys thought they were in 7th heaven because they had a sack, water and food. I don't know how they decided who came but it was a great feeling we had that we were helping these particular guys. We wanted to cross the international dateline but we didn't do that. So,that was the end of that. One of the times that we were popping around the coast of New Guinea, our radars began to pick up what looked like three Japanese destroyers coming from the north, coming at us. So, of course, we changed our course with the other two cans. Incidentally, we dealt with an Australian tin can. It was called the Arunta and they were always in trouble. We also went with their cruiser and it was the Prince somebody. But that poor ship, every time we got somewhere, the shooting began and they got hit. So, we didn't see much of them but it was a lot of fun.

 

1944 - Australia and R&R

Rudy Tichy - Australia and R&R -
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Finally, MacArthur decided it was time that the Beale had an R&R. He said you can't go back to the states. So, you are going to go to Australia. We were one of the first ships that came into Sydney Harbor. Boy! We were treated like heroes. It was interesting and I don't know who put it together but they put togther a little newsletter about what we ought to do and what not to do to represent our country and the Navy. Well, one of them was that they liked to drink their beer warm and another one was they liked to make their coffee with the cream at the same time. And I thought it was terrible. The one that really got to us was they said that if a girl you were dating or going out with and she said she is knocked out, she is not pregnant. She is tired! So, that worked. One time I was given shore patrol duty there and our gunner guys were always looking for a fight with the Bache or one of the other ships in our squadron. They said now when you are shore patrol, don't go to this particular area. I said why. They said because we are going to knock the heck outta these guys and we don't want you to be involved. So, I stayed away. But, I said "fellows I wish you wouldn't do it" and they didn't. We did enjoy. The ironic thing was that we were only supposed to be there about two or three days and we got a message from the Australian Navy that they wanted a couple of Yanks to serve with their antisubmarine people. I thought it was a great idea. A friend of mine on the Ann Marie, we went over to HMAS Rushcutter, made our courtesies to the Captain and he said, "Where's your beer?" I said why and he said "because you are going to be here a month." Well, all the guys... . it broke their heart and the Captain thought it was the funniest thing. We got to live with a family that just took us in real great.

 

1944 - Admiralties,  Etc.

Rudy Tichy - Admiralties Etc. -
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The next big thing was training for the big invasion of the Philippines. The Admiralty Islands with the 7th Fleet  carriers. We had never seen carriers before. We all marshalled there. We got the job of escorting the LSTs and we had to zig-zag like mad so we wouldn't lose them because you guys went so slowly. It was great. The great day came to the attack at Surigao Straits and we did some bombarding and what not. Of course, at the beginning we got used to the Kamikazes which our gunners were pretty good. We never got hit. In fact, the Beale only lost two of the crew in all the time that we had her. One was in the Aleutians and I don't know the details but one of the crew fell out of the boat into the cold water. He didn't last. The other one was manning the 40mm a fellow got scared and jumped off the ship. We were making smoke and we never did find him. I had another one I called a half-casualty. He was one of my junior officers who was a good looking guy and a wheeler-dealer. When we got to California in San Francisco, and this will come up in a minute, he was walking around with a crutch. The nurses were just paying great attention to him. Finally, when he told them he was leaving, they wanted to know what happened. "I broke my leg falling off a barstool."  So, that was my hero there!

1944 - Surigao Straits

Rudy Tichy - Surigao Straits -
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The next thing, of course, was the Surigao Straits. That was a classic crossing the key. We had the right van. And, it was just the Arunta and I don't remember the other ship and us. We had to get in real close and the rest of the squadron stayed back. I think it was eight to nine thousand yards. We got as close as 6,000 yards. I was in CIC and I wasn't very happy. Oh, I should point out that when Captain Coffey came aboard, our doctor told us, "Hey fellows. You are going to have a problem. He has no night vision. So you are on your own and I am not going to report it." He was a reservist and we were always afraid he would do something. We got into the Surigao Straits and, yeah, I thought plotting was quite easy. We got the torpedoes on it and, as the other gentleman said, some say we got a good reaction and others that we just hit it but we didn't sink it. I doubt if we sank it. When that was over, we got a message telling at full speed, get up there and help protect those DEs that were involved with the Japanese carriers that were knocking the heck out of them. We said we don't have any 5-inch projectiles left. We have expended our torpedoes. You go on ahead. Well, fortunately, the thing ended and we never had to go there.

 

1944 - Seatle

Rudy Tichy -Seattle -
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Then we got our orders to come back to the states. We escorted one of the old battle ships to Seattle. Well, I don't know that we had to escort them. Anyway, we got to Seattle and some of the stories are funny there. That Captain Coffey could not bring a ship alongside a dock. This was really a problem because there was a tide and there was strong wind. After three tries and not one touching the pier, he said, "Rudy, you take over." So I took over and it worked. I landed. The other funny one was our Executive Officer, Alex Hammer, was coming back from leave. With those high tides when he left, the plank or the brow was nice and level with the dock. But, by

the time he came, the tide had gone out so far that the brow was really steep. With my usual luck, I was Officer of the Deck and he comes marching by, gets to midships, salutes the flag, walks in and drops in between the ship and the pier. He had fender injuries. Well, anyway, I could see my whole Navy career going to after this one. Well, there was a camel there and I think the camel was the sort of thing that kept him from hitting the dock. He hit that. But, really, he didn't injure himself. So, I lived through that one. After that, though, he was known as Hammerhead. He was a good sport about it. Then we were supposed to get into the Iwo thing. Another one, we had a great Executive Officer then. He was an Annapolis graduate and he was not like the rest of us reservists. So, we had the ship in dry dock. He said, "Ah, let's go over to one of those bars and have a few drinks." I think our Supply Officer went, of course. When we came back, the ship wasn't there. Well, they had moved it to another bar. These three ensigns that were on duty really wanted to learne how to handle this situation. Anyway, we were supposed to go to Okinawa. When they were testing out whatever the engineers do to the relationship of the prop and all that stuff, it broke down. So, back to San Diego we went and then we missed Iwo Jima. So, that was a tough one to make to go to.

1945- Okinawa & Captain Register

Rudy Tichy - Okinawa -
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Well, the Okinawa deal was quite something. There again, the Captain wanted to know if my idea would work on doing that. So, we got some of the charts that spotters use because there we were shooting over a big hill or a mountain. We couldn't take any visual aim on it and the radar didn't work very good there. So, we had these spotters that would spot it and we would have the chart there. Between that, we could get it pretty accurate. So, we got some citations from the officer, the Army guy, for the job we did. We really appreciated that. Of course, the problem at Okinawa was there were underwater submarines. There were Kamikazes at work. Finally,

we had to get some repairs. There was Io Shima Island that was off Okinawa and we were going into there. I, again, had the luck of being the Officer of the Deck. As we were approaching, they said there was a tanker there backing up. I said, "Captain, we better change course. We are going to ram that." No sir! And, he says, "How long have you been in the Navy?" I gave him some sarcastic answer. I said, "Captain, if I were you, I would put this thing at full speed astern now." Well, needless to say, we did ram it. Fortunately, nobody got hurt. Our bow was really stove in. About that time, the new Captain was arriving. We didn't know his name. They had a dry dock there where we were fixing our prow and, again, my luck of Officer of the Deck. This young Lieutenant came from the rear end of the ship and I said, "Who the hell are you?" He said, "I am your new skipper." He really was a great skipper.

1945 - Nagasaki & Sasebo

Rudy Tichy - Nagasaki & Sasebo -
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Of course, the next great event was when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. For some reason, they asked us again to go up there and patrol across the coast. Of course, those fires! It was just unbelievable how it was burning. A couple of days later, they said, "Well, we want you to escort a hospital ship to Nagasaki. We had never heard of Nagasaki. Anyway, we got there and I still shudder. When we went through there and saw the ruin. One of the Japanese was a translator and he was a nice guy. I said, "You know, I am a retired architect and I would love to see the house you live in." So, we went way up back in the mountains and they were not affected by the atomic bomb. It was great. I walked in there and the living room was like the good old days. It had a gramophone. Do you remember the old gramophones? It was like being back in the states. At these houses, you take your shoes off so then I saw the rest of it. We got through that and then, of course, they put us in training. It was three cruisers and three destroyers and we were going to go across the Yellow Sea and bombard Vladivostok. There was going to be no air cover and, of course, we were training. We ran into the junks or Japanese ships. We didn't know if they were friends or lookouts for radar. It broke my heart a couple of times where we shot one up and I am sure there was a family living there but war is hell. Well, thank goodness, a little jump there. The war ended so we never had to go through that one. Then they sent us to Sasebo where we were supposed to inspect the Japanese destroyers and submarines to see if they were complying with the treaty. It was my luck to get the duty and I got the destroyers. I told Captain Register, "Well, what if they start?", because I couldn't even take a 45 gun with me). Well, we've got the 5-inch battery trained on your door. I forgot to say that when we were chasing those Jap destroyers at Wewak , we were going up to I think 35 knots to try to catch up. We were gaining on them but we could only use the forward 5-inch because we were going that way. Finally, the Commander said we had better turn around. We're out of air. So, anyway, we ended up at Sasebo and I did my inspection. Of course, I found some wonderful swords and dirks but the Executive Officer and the Captain took them. So, I got an old beat up pair of binoculars. That was my loot! Well, things began to get boring and we were just sitting around not doing anything. That tremendous storm that came up when we lost so many ships, we weathered it out in Sasebo harbor. We moored to a buoy there and two of our sister ships tied up there. There were three of us and we had our engines going all the time so that there was some slack there. We survived that one.
Well, the next thing is, Captain Register said, "You know, this is getting boring. You are an architect. Why don't you design a recreation center here?" What! So, we found a place that had a nice little dock and he got on the TBS and said "We are looking for carpenters, masons and electricians. We are going to build a recreation center and the beer is on me." So every day we did it and I did bring a picture of it because I hoped maybe one of you guys, because I understand some of your ships did go to Sasebo. Whether that art creation is there. I can't believe it's there anymore.


 

Rudy Tichy - Aftermath -
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So, anyway, that pretty well takes care of everything. I think as an officer and, you know, a civilian actually, we had some great sailors and they were mostly guys that came from the midwest here, like Milt Lund, was here and all. These guys were just good guys to lead. I never had any problems with, them. I think, just to end this, there were two things, I don't know if any of you ever got this that on August 26, Register wrote a letter to all of us. I won't go all of it but he ends it up, "I consider myself very fortunate to have command of the Beale during part of the war and only regret that I didn't arrive sooner so that I could have had more time with you. In all sincerity, I can say we have a good ship and the finest officers and crew I have ever been shipmates with. Let's keep up the stadards and we will all enjoy this cruise immensely." Now, when we were in the service, you built up points and when you had a certain number of points, you could go home. My points finally came up and I had the choice of going on a battleship that would go through the Suez Canal or staying with the Beale. Well, Captain Register said, "You know, you are the senior officer here. You have more time on the ship than anybody and I would like if you would just be up on the bridge with the new ensigns and new guys and I don't even want to get out of my sack. I won't worry about it at night." I thought that was a good deal. He said, "You know, being on a battleship as a LT (jg)G, you're not going to know anybody. Here, you are the boss man". So, the last communiqué we got was that Captain Register had attended apparently one of these reunions and I, unfortunately, missed it. Vincennes. There's a note here telling how great it was to have been at the thing meanwhile, his wife had some illness and he passed away. But, again, he said, "From my viewpoint of you, the Beale was the best ship ever. I was with her for less than a year. I consider that period the apex of my career, first because it was my first command and secondly because the fine, experienced crew made it possible to relish the experience. You see, I was on four destroyers before the Beale. Two were four pipers and we provided a source of trained people for the ships. Two were new construction ships and I had the challenging task of training the crew." And here is the punchline: "So, when I got the Beale with the high state of readiness that she had, I reveled in it. After Beale, I had command of two other destroyers, Steinmaker and Guyant , I don't know if any of you guys were on that, a Destroyer Division and I finally was made Chief of Staff for a Destroyer Flotilla, about 50 ships. But, in all of my sea jobs, Beale was the most satisfying." I gotta thank you guys for this, too. So, that's the story.