Veterans Day 2020 Leon McDaniel of World War II (second post)


U.S. Marines on Okinawa

U.S. Marines on Okinawa

U.S. Marines battling for control of a ridge near Naha, Okinawa, May 1945.

U.S. Department of Defense


This story was originally published in the Saline Courier and the first part of the story about Leon McDaniel can be found at this link.

Leon McDaniel said the battle of Okinawa proved to be the roughest on the Army, Navy and Marines. More men and ships were lost during this battle because of Japanese kamikaze attacks than any other battle.
The USS George Clymer was targeted by a kamikaze plane, but it missed. The USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier was not so lucky. On the morning of May 11, 1945, 346 men were killed in one attack by kamikaze pilot Ensign Klyoshi Ogawa of Japan.
During the very intense battles, McDaniel would wait in the landing crafts a half-mile from shore for the troops to bring the wounded men down to the shore, where he then picked up the wounded and carried them to the waiting hospital ships.
After Okinawa, McDaniel said, the USS Clymer and many other ships were near the Philippine Islands when they were hit by a typhoon. The ships were in the storm for close to 24 hours. Ships became separated, and a destroyer was never seen or heard from again.
The swells were 80 feet high, McDaniel recalled, and the ship would ride to the top of many swells and then the whole bottom would fall out. McDaniel did have to serve on deck during part of that storm. He was tied to the watch station and at other times he was tied to his bunk.
McDaniel had a twin brother named Louie (now deceased) who served on the USS George Clymer with him. Before receiving ship assignments they were told to ask for no special treatment or assignments. However, Leon had made a promise to his mother to bring Louie and himself home again. So he asked for special permission to be kept together because of being twins and was granted his request.
Leon McDaniel said he participated in the attacks on Guam, Saipan, Leyte, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and for these battles he was awarded five medals.
I have known McDaniel’s daughter, Linda Matyskiela and her husband, Terry, for 10 years as the owners of Bobby’s Country Cookin’ in Little Rock. Linda recently told me, “Daddy, for the last few months, seems to be living in those days that he once would never talk about. My sister Karen and I are so proud of what he did for our country in those many months. He lost friends and shipmates. He kept in touch with several of these men from the ship (from Texas) until the last few years. My family thanks you very much for wanting to share part of his time in World War II. We are so proud of him.”
Linda told me that McDaniel was humbled by my plans to write this article. However, it is I and the readers of this newspaper that should feel humbled to have brave heroes such as Leon McDaniel who have served our Armed Forces and did what had to be done to get us to the point where we could celebrate our nation’s first VJ Day 65 years ago today.

Everette Hatcher is a regular contributor to The Saline Courier and is the fourth generation in his family to work in the broom manufacturing business. Everette and his wife, Jill, have four children and live in Alexander.


Related posts:

Veterans Day 2011 Part 7:You have heard of Jimmy Doolittle, but what about Leon A. McDaniel?

President Reagan and Senator Barry Goldwater present the fourth star to General Jimmy Doolittle during a White House ceremony in the Indian Treaty room, OEOB. 6/20/85. I love the movie “Pearl Harbor” with Ben Affleck and it tells the story of Jimmy Doolittle.  He was born in 1896 and died in 1993. He is pictured […]

Veterans Day 2011 Part 6 (A look back at Okinawa)

This portion below appeared in an article I did for the Saline Courier about 18 months ago: I went to the First Baptist Church in Little Rock from 1983 to 1997, and during that time I became friends with Walter Dickinson Sr. In fact, we used to attend a weekly luncheon together on Thursdays.  Just […]

Veterans Day 2011 Part 5 (A look back at the “Battle of the Bulge”)

The Lost Evidence: The Battle Of The Bulge (1/5) This article was published in the Saline Courier about 18 months ago: When we celebrate July 4th we are focusing on the freedoms that so many soldiers have fought for over the last 234 years. That focus has been highlighted for me since my son Hunter […]

Veterans Day 2011 Part 4

  This is taken from an article that appeared in the Saline Courier about a year ago: Bravery is not just limited to one generation, but Americans have had it in every generation. It makes me think about those who are currently serving in our military. Jon Chris Roberts who is graduate of Benton High […]

Veterans Day 2011 Part 3 (A look back at World War 1)

I was born in Tennessee and everyone in Tennessee knows the name of Alvin York. Above is a clip about his accomplishments in War World I. Cara Gist of Shannon Hills tells me that her grandfather Herbert S. Apple of Salado, Arkansas (near Batesville) fought in World War I. He served in France and fought […]

Veterans Day 2011 Part 2 (Bataan Death March)

My longtime friend Craig Carney is originally  from Jacksonville, and  he told me a couple of years ago about a friend of his parents from Jacksonville, Arkansas named Silas Legrow. Legrow  was going to speak at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History on April 17, 2008 about his experience in the March of 1942 when […]

Veterans Day 2011 (Black Hawk Down and North Little Rock’s Donavan “Bull” Briley)

The Background Facts of The Black Hawk Down (1/7) Uploaded by WarDocumentary on Feb 14, 2011 The movie Black Hawk Down was based on an actual event that took place in Mogadishu, Somalia. This documentary explains the event. _______________________________ On October 3, 2003 my son  played quarterback at the Arkansas Baptist High School Football game […]

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: