Ottis Littlejohn, 1941.
Photo courtesy of Ottis Littlejohn.
Ottis Littlejohn joined the Navy in 1941 and was quickly sent on board the USS Long DMS-12 as a Boatswain's Mate to patrol the waters off the Hawaiian Islands just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Later, as the ship headed for the Aleutians, it suffered a collision at sea during a training maneuver and had to limp its way into Kodiak. His duty was on 20 mm gun watch while on patrol for Japanese subs and aircraft. He experienced the battle of Attu first hand during his year-long tour in the Aleutians before being sent to the South Pacific. Following the fleet, USS Long saw action in the invasions of Micronesia (Kwajalein, Enewetak and several places in the South Pacific), the Phoenix Islands and Jayapura (New Guinea). In an interview, he talks about his experiences during the war, life on board the USS Long, meeting and marrying his wife Anne Krupa, a Navy nurse, and the perils of Aleutian weather.
Download a full transcript of Ottis Littlejohn's interview