Victims Of Top Secret West Loch Disaster Finally Honored

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The military kept the West Loch disaster of 1944 top secret for 16 years. For the first time Friday, the military publicly honored the scores of servicemen who were killed in the explosions.

Historians said servicemen were loading ships with munitions and supplies, preparing for an invasion on the Japanese-controlled Mariana Islands. Then the unthinkable happened.

“An explosion ripped through one of the ships. The explosions obliterated the vessel and encapsulated the remains in black smoke and set off a chain reaction of explosions,” said Lt. Colonel (select) Christopher Shaw, USMC.

Shaw was the keynote speaker at the first public tribute to the servicemen who died May 21, 1944, at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl....

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