Chester Mike Kotsmith
B.M.2c

USN
USS West Virginia
1931-1941

My grandfather was the Lieutenant Commander at the time of Pearl Harbor. His name was Chester Mike Kotsmith. He passed away August 7, 1998.

My whole life, he told us stories of Pearl Harbor. The one that comes to mind at this time is when the bombing was taking place, he was trying to get his shipmates offboard. There was one enlisted guy who came to the side of the ship but was afraid to jump overboard. My grandpa asked him if he knew how to swim and the guy said "no". Grandpa told him you're going to learn
real quick and threw him overboard. Funny thing is, the guy beat him to shore. My grandpa had a dog that was the ships mascot. He was a bulldog and his name was "Mike". The crewmen made Mike a uniform jacket with all the rank pins and medals he would have had if he were a man. My grandpas crewmen made two chests for him that have him name and number on the top. All the hardware was melted down from Japanese war planes from Pearl Harbor. I'm lucky to have one of them. I know my brothers can fill me in a lot more and will find out more info. from them. I don't have any of his military pictures but will get some from my grandma. I know also tha my grandpa played Navy Football.

Thank you for responding back. I saw the previews for Pearl Harbor the movie almost a year ago and it made me cry then. I know what pain he went through with the memories. He was a member of the Pearl Harbor "USS West Virginia" Survivor group until his death. I truly miss him.

Mickey Sincomb


Click here to go back to the previous page
Click here to go to the main USS West Virginia page

Copyright ©2000-2017 USSWestVirginia.org. All rights reserved.