USS West Virginia
My father, Valleon Sylvester was on the USS West Virginia before WWII. His last ship was USS Finch which was sunk 1942 then spent several years as POW in Japanese camps. He died 10-24-44 on the hell ship Arisan Maru. I am searching for links to him
Maxine Sylvester Stanley
April 1, 2001
Thank you for your response...this is what I know from papers sent to me...and I can't fill in details. I do have a photo but don't know how to send it. Date unknown when he married my mother. I am his only child born 8-10-31. I don't know what family he may have had.
Valleon Sylvester Born 5-4-03 Philadelphia, PA
09-12-27 Enlisted USN for 4 years at Navy Recruiting Station San Francisco
09-16-27 USNTS San Diego, CA
01-09-28 USS Maryland
05-31-28 Seaman Signalman
08-12-29 Member of USS Maryland Signal Force which won Signal trophy for visual communication among battleships during year 1928-1929
06-12-31 Qualified as expert rifleman
09-10-31 Reinlisted this date 4 years and transferred to R.S. San Francisco for further transfer to Asiatic Station for duty
12-11-31 Transferred this date to USS West Virginia. "Served on board 1931-1932 when ship won battle efficiency pennant, gunnery trophy and engineering red. E. Officers and crew collectively commended by President and Secretary of Navy".
10-14-33 Transferred to the USS California for duty with commander battle force signal force.
06-15-34 USS New Mexico (flag)
11-16-34 USS Pennsylvania
06-11-35 USS Melville
09-05-35 SM3c to SM2c
09-10-35 Extension enlistment 3 years
09-26-35 Completed 8 yr. service
11-03-36 USS Dorsey
09-12-38 Reinlisted 4 years USS West Virginia
11-08-38 Good Conduct Medal USS West Virginia
04-14-39 USS Henderson FFT to Asiatic Station for duty
07-06-39 USS Finch from USS Henderson (USS West Virginia)
USS Finch Team wins Rifle Shoot : First Place...V. Sylvester
Tour of duty on Asiatic Station expires 11-28-41
07-06-39 Arrived AsiaSta via Henderson
09-30-39 Completed 12 yr. service
01-18-40 Received gas mask instruction at Naval Ammunition depot Navy Yard Cavite
01-25-40 P.O. 1c
07-01-41 Recommended to the Commander in Chief US Asiatic Fleet for examination for Chief QM
03-01-42 Appointed CQM (AA)
Undated Personal note: " I am Valleon Sylvester CQM USN Anyone hearing this please notify (wife). Received box and letters. Am doing well. Love to all." This was attached to a large scrap of paper on which he wrote: " V. Sylvester, CQM, USN. We were sweeping the approach to the mine fields on a clear sunny day at the entrance of Manila looking for stray mines. Off in the distance could be seen several enemy planes circling around. At any moment we expected to be attacked by plane or submarine. Suddenly we heard the whine of a plane in a power dive. No one had spotted this plane so we assumed the plane was coming out of the sun. All guns were trained and fired blindly into the sun and in a second or so the plane was seen. One bomb was dropped which missed us by about 200 yards. The plane turned away and disappeared into the distance. No hits, no runs, no errors."
03-17-42 First of two postcards (one month apart) passed by naval censor "nothing is to be written on this side except to fill in the data specified. Sentences not required should be crossed out. IF ANYTHING ELSE IS ADDED THE POST-CARD WILL BE DESTROYED. His data reports "I am well. Letter follows at first opportunity. I have received no letter from you for a long time.
04-11-42 Minesweeper (AM) USS Finch (AM-9) sunk by Japanese aircraft off Corregidor, Luzon, Philippine Islands
Undated Postcard from Philippine Military Prison Camp No.3 ( Imperial Japanese Army) "I hope this ends soon. I am impatient to be home. All is well, give my regards to everyone. Love, Val."
10-24-44 Died on Japanese hellship Arisan Maru
Valleon Sylvester CQM USN is memorialized at World War II Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Republic of the Philippines
Thank you, Mike, for your interest. This has been very comforting to write of my father. Two years ago I began my search for details of my father. All of it is a treasure to me. Regards, Maxine
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