The Badass of the Week.

E-Mail: Edwin J. Hill

Thanks for a great article on Edwin J. Hill, but moreso for stressing the contribution the entire ship made to the nation's morale during the worst thrashing our armed services has ever received in our 232 year history . I know there's not much about Hill that's known; that picture is the only one anybody has, even in our family. I know that at most we have a copy of his death certificate somewhere, but that's it. There were so many heroes that day, and by luck he happened to be the one who found himself at the focal point of a major event during the attack. Like my uncle said once (Hill's cousin...he volunteered for 3 tours of duty in Nam as a Green Beret), there are so many heroes in war who will never be known, and often it's just luck that somebody survived to tell the story and give some guy a medal.

If I could add just one thing to your article about Hill's deed that has always amazed me, it's that he was almost 50 years old when he swam after the ship, through the prop wash, and climbed back up the side. I'm 10 years younger and still in pain from moving a few boxes last week. We don't quite appreciate how tough that level of physical activity is until we get older, I suppose. Hill also had a destroyer named after him that saw quite a bit of action in WW2, and in a bit of poetic justice his cousin, Herman Koessler, was the submarine captain of the Cavalla who sank the last Japanese carrier involved in the Pearl Harbor attack. He received the Navy Cross and a few Silver Stars for some badass stuff of which I have no clue.

Good job,


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