Carr, Paul Henry, GM3c
Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
Last Primary NEC
Last Rating/NEC Group
Primary Unit 1944-1944, GM-0000, USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413)
1943 - 1944
The Roberts' skipper, Lt. Commander Copeland, later wrote in his report:
On Board the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) No. 2 gun, which had fired about 300 shells during the past hour, continued to bark defiance as its crew, Gun Capt, commanded by Gunner's Mate Paul Henry Carr, loaded and fired six more rounds by hand - ignoring the hazards presented by the failure of the gun's gas ejection system. Indeed, while they attempted to fire a seventh shell, an internal explosion killed all but three of the crew outright. Lt. W. S. Burton described what followed: "The first man to enter the mount after the explosion found the gun captain, Carr, on the deck of the mount holding in his hands the last projectile available to his gun. He was extremely injured. Nevertheless, he held in his hand the 54-pound projectile, held it up above his head and begged the petty officer who had entered the mount to help him get that last round out" The Petty Officer, who entered the mount, took the projectile from Carr and removed one of the other men, who was wounded and unconscious, to the main deck in order to give him first aid. When he returned to the mount, there was Gunner's Mate Carr again with the projectile in his hand, still attempting, though terribly wounded, to place the projectile on the loading tray. Dragged from the gun mount, Carr died minutes later, as did another of his wounded crewmen. Only one of the gun crew, Samuel Blue, survived.
"To witness the conduct of the average enlisted man aboard this vessel, newly inducted, unaccustomed to Navy ways and with an average of less than one year's service, would make any man proud to be an average American. The crew were informed over the loudspeaker system at the beginning of the action of the Commanding Officer's estimate of the situation, that is, a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival could not be expected, during which time we would do what damage we could. In the face of this knowledge the men zealously manned their stations wherever they might be, and fought and worked with such calmness, courage, and efficiency that no higher honor could be conceived than to command such a group of men."
Name of Award Silver Star
Year Awarded 1944
Details behind Award: Awarded for actions during the World War II
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Gunner's Mate Third Class Paul Henry Carr (NSN: 8497679), United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Gun Captain of a 5"/38 Mount on the U.S.S. SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (DE-413), in action against enemy Japanese forces off Samar Island during the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, on 25 October 1944. With the power of the rammer lost and mechanical failures in the ammunition hoist, Gunner's Mate Third Class Carr manned his station steadfastly in the face of continuous close-range fire of enemy guns during an attack by a numerically superior Japanese surface force on the SAMUEL B. ROBERTS. By his outstanding technical skill and courageous initiative, Gunner's Mate Third Class Carr was instrumental in causing rapid and heavy fire from the gun to inflict damage upon an enemy heavy cruiser. Although mortally wounded by the premature detonation of a powder charge, fired by hand, Gunner's Mate Third Class Carr tried unassisted to load and ram the only projectile available to that mount after order to abandon ship had been given. His aggressive determination of duty reflected the highest credit upon Gunner's Mate Third Class Carr and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Action Date: October 25, 1944Service: NavyShip: U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413)
Paul Henry Carr
Gunners Mate 3rd Class Paul Henry Carr, US Navy, was born 13 February 1924 in Checotah, Oklahoma. He was a brother to eight sisters, an athlete, and graduated from Checotah High School in 1942. Paul enlisted in the US Navy in May 1943 and went to boot camp and Advanced Gunnery School Training in San Diego.
He reported to the escort destroyer USS Samuel B Roberts. The ship’s Executive Officer later wrote: “Paul’s leadership and sterling qualities…won for him the battle station of gun captain of one of the ship’s five inch guns. His gun and gun crew were the pride of the ship.”
At 0645 on 25 October 1944, a powerful Japanese naval force took aim at the Leyte Gulf landing beaches. The surprised, outgunned, and outnumbered American escort carrier group known as Taffy 3 attacked the Japanese in the largest naval battle in history.
At 0740, the Roberts’ commander addressed his crew: “This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”
At 0800, the Roberts launched its torpedoes against the cruiser Chokai crippling the ship. After 0810, the Roberts, returning to protect the escort carriers, ordered the two 5-inch guns into action against the cruiser Chikuma. During the next 35 minutes, Carr and his aft gun crew fired almost all of their 325 rounds, devastating the Chikuma bridge and superstructure.
At 0851, enemy shells disabled one of the Roberts’ boilers. The power loss to Carr’s gun forced the crew into manually firing until a breech explosion destroyed the mount. Within moments rescuers found Carr mortally wounded, yet trying to load the last round. Even when he was laid down beside his gun he tried a second time before he succumbed from his wounds.
At 0900 the Roberts was again struck. At 0910 came the order to abandon ship.
Gunners Mate 3rd Class Carr was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal. The citation reads in part: “…for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Gun Captain on the USS Samuel B Roberts. He gallantly gave his life for his country.” He was also awarded the Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation (Taffy 3) and the Award of the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge.
The Roberts’ commander, LCDR Robert W. Copeland, wrote to Paul’s wife, Goldie Lee, five months later and said that Paul Carr “…was one of our most outstanding men…His gun was the pride of the ship’s ordnance department, due not alone to his tireless energy…but due to his inspiring leadership, which shown forth like a beacon during the battle of October 25th. Gun “2” was always the outstanding gun, that day it was superb…from anyway we looked at it Paul was the outstanding example of American inspiration [and] courage on board the Samuel B Roberts that day, a courage and devotion to duty which was with him until his last breath.”
The guided missile frigate, USS Carr (FFG-52), was named in his honor on 27 July 1985.