It was Sunday. 24 twin engine, long range bombers took off from the Pacific Island of Kyushu, in what the Japanese deemed Operation Tan #2. Their path was guided by 30 ships and 2 submarines. The date was 11 March 1945. Their destination was Ulithi Island. Their objective, 15 US Aircraft Carriers sitting at anchor. It was to be another Pearl Harbor.
During the flight, 5 aircraft had mechanical problems and turned back. Some aircraft landed at Yap Island, while others ditched in the sea, only two arrived at Ulithi, and that was after dark. One mistook a road with a radio tower along side as his target and exploded on land. The remaining aircraft selected a ship and managed to hit it right below the aft flight deck and above the sleeping quarters. A movie was being shown in that portion of the ships after hanger area.
CV-15, the USS Randolph lost 26 men with 105 injured that day. On August 6, 2012 I wrote a blog called The Old Warrior, concerning my father-in-law.
On that March 11th 1945, The Old Warrior had finished his shift and would have been, should have been, either in his bunk or at the movie, both of which were aft. The old warrior, however, was in another part of the ship, playing poker, that sinful game that his mother so dearly despised.
A game, that that day, saved his life.