Joseph Rogowski was born in Massachusetts about 1916. He enlisted on December 13, 1941 and was part of the commissioning crew of the second USS Laffey on February 8, 1944. His next of kin is listed as living in Westfield, Mass. Coxwain Rogowski was killed in action on April 16, 1945 when the USS Laffey was attacked and almost sunk off Okinawa. The Laffey is the subject of a book "The Ship That Would Not Die" by F. Julian Becton (the ship's skipper). Rogowski was promoted from S1c to Cox, as many of the Laffey KIA's were posthumously promoted a grade.
Coxswain Rogowski was one of 32 sailors killed during the action in which Laffey was pummeled by Japanese attackers. The ship is famous for surviving the attack.
Rogowski was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for the action. Newspaper articles confirm these awards. The whereabouts of the Bronze Star is unknown. The Purple Heart in the group is a Type 2 officially engraved medal complete with its short titled presentation box. Also included is the named and undated pothumous Good Conduct Medal, Victory medal, Asiatic/Pacific medal and American Campaign medal. Two pieces of shrapnel are included, but their significance is unknown. An after action report found on the web is included with the group. A lot of information can be found at http://www.laffey.org. As luck would have it, at the date of this entry (12-23-2010) I was able to contact a plankowner of the Laffey, Ari Phoutrides of Portland, Oregon. I got a copy of "The Indetructable USS Laffey" from him. He had a few copies left to sell. Ari was one of the youngest sailors on the Laffey. He remembers that awful day very well, and confirmed that he knew Coxswain Rogowski, a fellow plankowner. Ari said in a phone call that Rogowski was a 20MM gunner who was killed at his station. Thanks to fellow collector, Tom Lane, I now have a copy of the December, 1946 "All Hands" that shows Rogowski as receiving a posthumous Bronze Star. The ABMC website incorrectly lists Rogowski as a Silver Star recipient.
See this website for a great synopsis of the Laffey action on April 16:
See this video clip on the web that shows the Laffey attack:
Included in this group is a DVD "Laffey Men" produced in 2008.
SOLD to a collector 04-2021