Navy Memorabilia

Dorrough, Charlie L.

Rank: Chief Electricians Mate
Serial Number: 3556447
Military Branch: USS Sims DD 409
Origin: Massachusetts
Date of Death: 1942-5-7
Manila American Cemetary
Featured: No

CEM Charlie Lee Dorrough was among those killed in the sinking of DD 409 on 7 May, 1942. His medal group includes his posthumous officially engraved Type 1 Purple Heart as made by the US Mint, Good Conduct Medal dated 1931, Asiatic Pacific Campaign, and American Defense medal. Dorrough was born in 1904 and probably enlisted in the Navy in the '20's.The patches are added for display. Included with the group is paperwork and some reprints of the ship's history plus the US Navy casualty report on Dorrough.

On the afternoon of May 6, 1942, as the American and Japanese fleets searched for each other in the Coral Sea, Admiral Jack Fletcher ordered the vital oiler U.S.S. Neosho to stay in a safe rendezvous area well behind the U.S. fleet.  Fletcher ordered the destroyer, U.S.S. Sims, to protect the vulnerable and important oiler as the rest of the fleet steamed on ahead. At about 7:30 the next morning, May 7, a Japanese scout plane discovered the two ships, mistaking the Sims for a cruiser and the flat-topped Neosho for an aircraft carrier.  During the next five hours, 62 Japanese dive bombers attacked the two ships.  During the fierce attack, the Sims valiantly defended the Neosho but was struck amidships by several bombs, split in half, and sunk shortly after noon with the loss of 237 men.  Crewmen on the Neosho, which itself was under attack, watched in horror as the Sims quickly sunk.  As the bow of the Sims was submerging under the choppy seas, the forward five-inch gun of the Sims let loose with one final shot, even as the waves were engulfing it, a last, valiant effort by the doomed gun crew.  Only 16 Sims crewmen survived the sinking, all of whom piled into a whaleboat and headed for the Neosho, which was badly damaged during the attack but, with its nearly empty tanks, remained afloat.  Two of these 16 would later die aboard the Neosho, meaning that only 13 men aboard the Sims survived the attack. They remained with Neosho, still afloat despite severe damage, until they were rescued by the Henley (DD-391) on 11 May.

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