Solemn family tradition entrusted to younger generation


For decades, Daniel H. Galvin, Jr. (inset photos) marked the anniversary of the sinking of the ship on which he served during World War II, the USS Quincy, by reading aloud the names of his fallen shipmates. Now 93, Galvin is physically unable to perform that remembrance, but the tradition is being continued by his grandsons, Dolan and Aidan Jones, sons of Maura and Gregg Jones of Waukon. Submitted photos.

by Maury Gallagher

August 7, 1942 American naval forces launched their first offensive operation in the South Pacific. The invasion of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, code named Operation Watchtower, commenced with the first salvo of naval gunfire coming from the USS Quincy (CA-39), a New Orleans class heavy cruiser. Before the Marines landed, USS Quincy inflicted damage to an oil depot and various Japanese installations on the island. As the landing commenced, Quincy continued firing in support of the landing troops.
Serving on USS Quincy was a young man from Melrose, MA, Daniel H. Galvin, Jr. Galvin was a Petty Officer First Class Fire Controlman, excited about firing those big guns for the first time in combat. The initial assault went well, and the island’s airstrip was in American hands in short order. However, the Japanese would reinforce their units, and Guadalcanal would be the site of nasty, up close combat for six more months before America would prevail.
USS Quincy was sailing in the company of two other American heavy cruisers, the USS Vincennes (CA-44) and the USS Astoria (CA-34), and an Australian heavy cruiser, the HMAS Canberra (D33) the day after the invasion commenced. In the early morning hours of August 9, 1942, Petty Officer Galvin noted the calm waters and starry sky as he stood watch. The serenity of the night was broken around 2 a.m. when he saw a ship pass through the wake of his ship. Moments later, flares from a Japanese scout plane lit up the sky, illuminating the cruisers. The flares were followed, almost immediately, by a barrage of gunfire and torpedoes from Japanese cruisers which had unexpectedly appeared from shelter behind Savo Island off the coast of Guadalcanal.
In what would be called the Battle of Savo Island, all four allied cruisers would be destroyed. Hit by gunfire and three torpedoes, Quincy would be the first ship to sink in what would come to be known as Iron Bottom Sound because of all the ships that would eventually rest there. She was followed to the bottom twelve minutes later by the Vincennes. The Canberra and the Astoria would sink later that day. A sailor from Allamakee County, Kenneth Casey, from New Albin, went down with the Astoria. Earlier, he had been serving on the Battleship USS California (BB-44) when it was hit during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Overall, there were 939 American sailors lost in the Battle of Savo Island.
Daniel Galvin escaped his sinking ship and was rescued, after more than five hours in the water, by the American Destroyer USS Ellet (DD-398). After the war he suffered with “survivors guilt,” believing that he should have died just as the 389 sailors did who went down with his ship.
Then one year, on August 9th, the anniversary date of the sinking of USS Quincy, he put on his Navy uniform from WWII, stepped out onto his front porch, and read aloud the names of every sailor lost with the USS Quincy. He wanted to try to ensure that those shipmates would never be forgotten. For decades he continued that tradition. This year, at the age of 93, he no longer has the strength to continue on with his remembrance. But the remembrance will continue. His grandsons, sons of his daughter, Maura, and her husband, Gregg Jones of Waukon, continued the tradition. August 9, 2014, Dolan Jones and Aidan Jones stood in front of their home and read the names of their grandfather’s lost shipmates.
A solemn tradition has been entrusted to a younger generation.

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