Laundry, Shooting At Venus, and Surviving Two Back-To-Back Ship Sinkings Part 2

After he and the crew of the USS Langley lobbed 300 shells at the planet Venus believing it to be a Japanese plane on December 9, 194, Lanson B. Ditto traveled to the port of Balikpapan in Borneo to refuel. From there they traveled Darwin then Perth, Australia then onto Tjilapjap, Java. The USS Langley was 75 miles from Tjilapjap on February 27, 1942 when nine Japanese twin-engine planes were spotted approaching at about 15,000 feet. The crew went to General Quarters and opened fire. “My battle station was in charge of the four 3-inch/50s on the flight deck,” Ditto recalled. “We did open fire, but our guns could not reach that altitude.”

Laundry, Shooting At Venus, and Surviving Two Back-To-Back Ship Sinkings Part 1

Lanson B. Ditto’s being born in New York City does not make him a Yankee, a fact that he was vocally adamant (albeit joking) when he gave an interview to the National Museum of the Pacific War on October 11, 1996. “Well, I hate to tell you this, but I was born in New York City. I have never forgiven my folks who happened to have been there. My hometown was in Paducah, Kentucky, which I have enjoyed and like to refer to as my hometown. But people like you always want to know where I was born and I have to tell in New York City. I am no Yankee.”

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