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[USS Missouri ]  [Mille Atoll Surrender]  [Northern Palaus Island Surrender]  [Rota Island Surrender]
[Wake Island Surrender]  [Jaluit Atoll Surrender]  [Maloelap Atoll Surrender]  [Wotje Atoll Surrender]
[Kusaie Island Surrender]  [Ponape Island Surrender]  [Woleai Atoll Surrender] 
[Tobi-Sonsorol-Merir Islands Surrender]
 

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Destroyer Escort Sailors Association - DESA
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First Japanese Surrender
On Board USS Levy DE 162

On August 22, 1945 USS Levy DE162, was host to the first formal surrender of Japanese territory as World War II ended. Although the Japanese Empire signed the Unconditional Surrender terms September 2 aboard Battleship Missouri, the historic beginning of the end came aboard DE Levy in the lagoon of little-known but strategically important Mille Atoll in the Marshall Islands group.

Chuck Hays, a crewmember of the Levy, recalls: "We went over to the island in the whaleboat, five or six of us...I think this was on the 18th....we had a .50 caliber mounted on the bow...and they started shooting, rifle fire...it came close but no one was hit. We returned fire and so did the ship."

Soon the situation was corrected and the truce terms were to be worked out. Japan had capitulated August 15 (Japanese time). Four days later, on the 19th, a Japanese party from Mille boarded Levy to discuss surrender terms and left after about three hours saying that it had to discuss the specifics with Tokyo.

When the island was ready to formally sign, the Japanese would signal that they were giving up by building a cross out of white sheets and uniforms and place it where Navy patrol plane pilots would observe it. That signal was viewed on the 20th. Sporadic shelling of the island took place in the span, recalls Woody Story, crewmember of the Levy.  He added, "We were trying to shoot out the tops of their trees to reduce their food supply."

Levy entered the lagoon early on the 22nd and awaited the arrival of Capt. H. B. Grow, commander of Majuro, by PBM. Grow had been present at the meeting aboard Levy on the 19th. Grow was taken by whale boat to the DE and then the ship's boat went ashore to pick up the Japanese party. The signing began at noon and was completed within an hour. "Generally the mood aboard the ship was one of happy relief." Hays recalled. "The captain used the PA to pass the word of what was going on as it happened. Not a lot of shouting and such, just back slapping and congratulating each other among the crew. There was a saying in those days in the Pacific: Golden Gate in ‘48...well we knew we wouldn't have to wait that long anymore to get home."

After the surrender was signed, the Japanese were given five days to make the island safe for the occupying force. On the 28th of August the American Flag was raised on Mille Atoll.

On September 5, Levy was present at the signing of the surrender at Jaluit Atoll which took place aboard her sister ship the USS McConnel DE 163.

Credit: The pictures with this account were provided by crewmen Chuck Hays and Woody Story, both of whom also contributed a vast amount of historical material from their memory. The photos were taken by Norm Gray of Levy's ship's company, whose present whereabouts are not known.
Addition 1 Sept 2003 - It is with great sadness that I report the recent death of Chuck Hays.

In Memory of Chuck Hays

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Millie Island Shelling

Japanese Board the USS Levy

Meeting at the Conference Table Aboard the USS Levy

Official Japanese Surrender Aboard the USS Levy

Official Japanese Surrender Aboard the USS Levy Photo 2

USS Levy Officers Come Ashore at Mille Atoll

U.S. Flag Raising on Mille Atoll

Japanese Garden Plot on Mille Atoll

Binoculars from USS Levy


[USS Missouri ]  [Mille Atoll Surrender]  [Northern Palaus Island Surrender]  [Rota Island Surrender]
[Wake Island Surrender]  [Jaluit Atoll Surrender]  [Maloelap Atoll Surrender]  [Wotje Atoll Surrender]
[Kusaie Island Surrender]  [Ponape Island Surrender]  [Woleai Atoll Surrender] 
[Tobi-Sonsorol-Merir Islands Surrender]

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