Papers (1945, 1993) including correspondence, typescript article, letters, "The WAUKESHA, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Atomic Bomb,: and a resume.
Thomas F. Coon enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June, 1942, and was assigned as a V-4 yeoman to 3ND District Intelligence Office while he completed his B.S. degree from New York University. Coon then transferred to 15ND District Intelligence Office for ten months before requesting a commission. He attended indoctrination school in Tucson, Arizona, and amphibious school in Coronado, California, before his assignment in the spring of 1945 to the USS WAUKESHA (AKA 84) as a boat officer. As an assistant division officer, Coon served aboard the WAUKESHA at Okinawa and during the first landing of American troops at Yokosuka Naval Base in Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan. After Nagasaki, Coon was stationed in the Philippines until he retired from the Navy. Postwar, he served as a supervisory special agent for the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and subsequently was director of the Bergen County, NJ, Police and Fire Academy.
Correspondence in the collection includes two 1993 letters from Coon and the former commanding officer of the WAUKESHA, Robert W. Baker, describing the action seen by the ship and its crew during World War II and its aftermath, and the present-day efforts of the crew to preserve the history of their experiences. The collection consists primarily of a fifteen-page, typescript article by Coon, "The WAUKESHA, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Atomic Bomb" (1993), in which he relates his experiences as an officer aboard the USS WAUKESHA in the last months of World War II and first weeks after the Japanese surrender (May-September, 1945). Of interest are Coon's descriptions of Ulithi Atoll (June, 1945); the naval recreation island of Mogmog (June, 1945); experiences at Okinawa under the attack of kamikazes and typhoons (July 10-August,1945); and the transportation of Marines of the 4th Regiment, in convoy with Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet, from Guam to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. The focus of Coon's article is on Nagasaki, Japan, where the WAUKESHA, with the Fifth Fleet Amphibious Force under Admiral Spruance, participated in the first occupation of Nagasaki (September 24, 1945) after the explosion of the atomic bomb. Coon describes the reaction of the Japanese to the troops, and subsequent orders confining American personnel to the vicinity of the Custom House to prevent incidents harmful to Japanese citizens. Coon also describes the radiation-induced cancer suffered by the first U.S. troops to enter Nagasaki, and current Defense Nuclear Agency actions regarding veterans exposed to radiation while occupying Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Coon's resume is also included in the collection.
Gift of Thomas F. Coon
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