The Sinking of the U.S.S. Yorktown

By: Evan Mei

June 6, 1942. USS Yorktown. The horrendous battle has raged on for 2 days now, but it feels like years. Hangars are filled to the brim with airplanes, and now, a new wave of fighters and torpedo bombers are set to take off. Private Ryan Herman’s ears have basically been ruptured now from all the cannons firing at the incoming Japanese airplanes. Yorktown is barely limping around across the vast, empty ocean, but it will only be a matter of time before Ryan becomes fish food. He stares into the sky. The Japanese planes attacked 30 minutes ago, and they’ve gone back to refuel.

As he returns to his bed to rest, Ryan thinks, “Whose brilliant idea was it to patch up the flight deck with floorboards and take this limping, barely floating hunk of metal to one of the most crucial battles in all of history?” Ryan can’t blame Admiral Chester, the one who planned this whole battle. Maybe if the Japanese left the Americans alone a bit longer, they maybe could have had more carriers. Better yet, they could have left America alone forever and, Ryan thought, he wouldn’t have been taken to this godforsaken ocean that’s an inescapable bathtub. Not that he could have avoided such a situation anyways. Ryan hated being in the military, but living as a draft dodger would be worse. Besides, the only way to go AWOL in the Pacific Fleet is to jump overboard, but good luck not getting run over by a ship that overshadows the sky.

Lost in his thoughts below deck, he hears a muffled sound. That’s an alarm. He rushed outside to see bombs raining from the sky, and an explosion rocked the deck. The heat was unbearable, and the shock wave made Ryan’s knees buckle underneath him. He fell to the ground and hit the metal hard. Crawling using what little strength he had, he grabbed an anti-aircraft gun and began to shoot at the planes. He shot 3, but they all managed to limp home. His legs regained control and he stumbled back inside when the last of the planes left. Looking around the room, he noticed something strange. The lights, they were a bit dimmer. The radiator was a bit quieter. Soon, the lights went out. Yorktown had lost power.

Suddenly, the ground beneath him swayed a bit. He felt himself starting to use more and more effort to stand up. Soon, a chair slid across the floor and crashed into the wall. In the barracks, a pillow thumped on the ground. He ran outside, and to his horror, the ship had started tipping to its side. Luckly, at 23 degrees, it stopped. Workers around him scrambled with boards and hammers, and the destroyer Hammann hooked up to the Yorktown. The lights came to life, and the Yorktown got its power back. For now, the Yorktown could, at the very least, be salvaged. The tugboat USS Viero hooked up to the Yorktown, and headed for Hawaii.

Ryan was relieved. He could take a break, and finally leave the inescapable bathtub. He peered out the window of the destroyer he was evacuated to. The sky wasn’t so dark with exploding anti-aircraft smoke anymore, and the ocean seemed a bit tamer. It was a dream. Suddenly, there was a wave cutting through the water. It was hardly noticeable at first, but Ryan immediately noticed it. A torpedo wake. There was a submarine. Before Ryan could yell “Torpedo!” The torpedo hit Yorktown. A second torpedo hit Yorktown again, and a third hit the destroyer providing power. The Yorktown started to tip over some more, but it stubbornly stayed afloat. Finally, without bursting into flames or creaking, the Yorktown rolled into the sea, quietly, and with dignity, “Like the great lady she was,” said Private Ryan. “Another Story!” “Another Story!” “Please, Grandpa?” Private Ryan laughed, and told him the story of the Hiryu.

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