Welcome to the USS LST 494 Assoc. Web Site!
During World War II, the Congressional Medal Of Honor, our nations highest combat award for bravery, was awarded to 57 men who were serving in the U.S. Navy.  2 of those men were serving aboard LSTs at the time of their heroic acts.  Both men were awarded the Medal posthumously.  Ensign John Joseph Parle, of Nebraska, was serving on the USS LST 375.  Seaman First Class Johnnie David Hutchins, of Texas, was serving on the USS LST 473.  
Ensign John Joseph Parle, USNR
USS LST 375
Posthumously Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor
Invasion of Sicily
July 9 - 10, 1943
On July 9, 1943, USS LST 375 was operating in the Mediterranean Theater as part of the Western Task Force for the invasion of Sicily.  The Task Force was assigned  to land three Army divisions on the southeast corner of the island.  The Task Force approached the coast of Sicily during the evening of July 9, 1943.  Soon after midnight, on the morning of July 10, most of the invasion force was in position to mount the assault.  As H-Hour approached, the Axis forces still had no idea that the Allied armada was off shore.  Any slip could have revealed the presence of the Allied force and endangered the landings.  At that moment, Ensign Parle discovered a smoke pot had accidentally ignited in a small boat loaded with high explosives, detonating fuses and ammunition.  If those explosives were to detonate, it would have endangered his ship and revealed the presence of the Allied fleet to the enemy.  Undaunted by fire and blinding smoke, Ensign Parle entered the craft and  extinguished the fuse.  After failing  in his desperate efforts  to extinguish the fire pot, he finally seized it with both hands and  running  topside threw it overboard.  Although he succumbed a week later from smoke and fumes he inhaled, Ensign Parle's heroic self-sacrifice prevented grave damage to his ship and its crew and insured the security of the invasion.  He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.  For valor and courage above and beyond the call of duty Ensign Parle was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
 
SHIP HISTORICAL NOTE
LST  375  went on to fight in two other major engagements in the European Theater.  She participated in the Salerno landings and the Normandy invasion.  She was then assigned to the Pacific Theater.  During her transit of the Pacific Ocean  to participate in the invasion of the Japanese mainland, the atomic bomb  was  dropped and  the war against Japan finally came to an end.  My father, Lt.(jg) Joe Guarino, was the executive officer aboard her at that time.  She then performed occupation duty in the Far East.
 
 
John Joseph Parle
Born: May 26, 1920, Omaha, Nebraska
Died: July 17, 1943
 
Destroyer Escort Named in His Honor
USS Parle(DE 708)
Keel Laid Down: 8 January 1944
Launched: 25 March 1944
Commissioned: 29 July 1944
Sponsor: Mrs. Harry  Parle(mother of Ensign Parle)
 
The USS Parle saw action in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific Theater
 
Seaman First Class
Johnnie David Hutchins, USNR
USS LST 473
Posthumously Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor
Lae, New Guinea
September 4, 1943
On September 4, 1943, the USS LST 473 was operating  as part of General Douglas MacArthur's VII Amphibious Force off the eastern coast of New Guinea. Allied forces were "leap-frogging" around Japanese strongholds in an attempt to isolate and neutralize them.  LST 473 was one of six LSTs and four destroyers on their way to reinforce an Australian assault force east of Lae when they were attacked by 12 Japanese torpedo planes and 15 dive bombers.  During the air attack, a Japanese torpedo plane launched 2 torpedoes toward LST 473.  Before the helmsman could react and maneuver the ship clear, 2 bombs hit the upper deck and quickly engulfed the pilot house in flames.  Although mortally wounded by the bombs, Seaman First Class Hutchins grabbed the helm and steered the ship out of the path of the torpedoes.   He died clinging to the helm,  giving his last ounce of strength to save his shipmates.  He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.  For valor and courage above and  beyond the call of duty, Seaman First Class Hutchins was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
 
SHIP HISTORICAL NOTE
7 other crew members were killed in action  and another 14 were wounded in this attack.  In addition to the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross was awarded to S1c Frederick L. Erickson of Iowa, the Silver Star was awarded to  Ensign J. K. Hayes, of Missouri and CPhM Nelson Tudor, of Kentucky.  Ensign J. W. Triplitt, of Texas, F1c Sylvester L. Modglin, of Missouri and Eddie A. Huntsman, of Texas  received a Letter of Commendation.  LST 473 survived  this  attack  but was  without power.  The destroyer USS Conyngham(DD 371) valiantly went to her aid.  She helped her with her dead and wounded and circled her  all night  to protect her  from  enemy subs.  The USS LST 454 also heroically assisted her.  The 454 tied the 473 to her side and towed her to Morobe Bay, New Guinea where the troops and cargo onboard were taken off.  LST 473's dead  were then  buried just outside Morobe Bay.  The 473 and  LST 471(also damaged  in the attack) were towed to Australia for repairs.  It took one year to repair  LST 473.  She  then returned  to combat in  the Pacific Theater.  She  went on  to  fight in  four other major  engagements:  Leyte  landings, Lingayen Gulf landings, Zambales-Subic Bay and the Mindanao Island landings.
Johnnie David Hutchins
Born: August 4, 1922, Weimar, Texas
Died: September 4, 1943
 
Destroyer Escort Named in His Honor
USS Johnnie Hutchins(DE 360)
Keel Laid Down: 5 March 1944
Launched:  2 May 1944
Commissioned:  28 August 1944
Sponsor:  Mrs. Johnnie M. Hutchins(mother of Seaman First Class Hutchins)
 
USS Johnnie Hutchins saw action in World War II
 in the Pacific Theater
 
"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  
John 15:12
 
Navy Medal of Honor Recipients in
World War II
Full-text of All Medal of Honor Citations    
Congressional Medal of Honor
Society
Navy and Marine Corps Casualties in World War II
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