TENNIS, LYLE S.
Former Racine JI Case HS Teacher
Born: September 18, 1923 at Unity, Wisconsin
Kamikazes Sink LSMR 190
During April and early May, 1945, the LSMR 190 along with other ships were stationed in the East China Sea for radar picket duty after the Okinawa Islands were invaded by the Allies. A total of ten mass Kamikaze attacks were carried out on these American ships in the East China Sea between the months of April and July. On May 4, 1945, Japanese kamikazes attacked a group of ships that included the LSMR 190 (Support ship). The USS Luce (destroyer) that was nearby was sunk by two kamikazes. Two more kamikazes were shot down by LSMR 190. Some of remaining kamikazes aimed for LSMR 190. First one misses, then three more hit LSMR 190. The hits were at rocket launchers which causes a fire with causalities, another at water line engine room which causes loss of power, and third which causes ship to slowly sink. The Captain was seriously injured and passes command to Lyle Tennis. Tennis orders the crew and other sailors to abandon ship. Tennis was the last man overboard. Almost half of the crew from LSMR 190 had died by now. The remaining crew and other sailors were in the ocean. The sea was calm and all of the men gathered at the life rafts that were deployed. The men took turns in life raft while others kicked and kept look out for the sharks that were gathering. They were all picked up about 1.5 hours later and transferred to a hospital ship for care.
Awarded for actions during World War Two.
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Ensign Lyle S. Tennis (NSN: 0-370195/1105), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as Communications Officer on board the U.S.S. LSM(R) ONE HUNDRED NINETY (LSM(R)-190), a close-in fire support ship, in action against the enemy on 4 May 1945, off Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands. After three enemy suicide planes crashed into the ship, wounding the Commanding Officer, he, although suffering from shrapnel wounds himself, assumed direction of the ship and calmly and efficiently maneuvered the ship and directed the firing of the anti-aircraft batteries. When it became necessary to abandon ship, he aided in evacuating his wounded Commanding Officer and was the last to leave the sinking vessel. By his outstanding initiative and inspiring leadership, he contributed materially to minimizing the number of casualties. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander Amphibious Force Pacific Fleet: Serial 00764 (October 13, 1945)
Action Date: May 4, 1945