In my father’s footsteps: ‘He owed the Aussies his life’
AFTER suffering burns to most of his body trying to escape the sinking inferno of the USS Peary in 1942, US navy officer Samuel Otis Logan credited the Australian troops with saving his life.
Seventy-eight years later, Sam Dale Logan is tracing his late father's footsteps, arriving in Darwin for the first time.
"They were hit five times and my dad jumped in the water which was on fire - I guess the whole bay was on fire," he said.
"The Japanese had bombed six oil tankers and so he jumped on the oil, burnt his hands, back chest.
"There was a hospital ship in the harbour - they picked him up and three weeks later he was in Melbourne. (He) spent five weeks in Melbourne before he was put in on a transport ship back to the United States."
Mr Logan then lived a happy and healthy life but could never be thankful enough for the kindness and compassion of Australians.
"This is an interview done by Collier's magazine (with my father), on July 18, 1942 … 'I'll never have enough words to fully praise the kindness and the great efforts of the Australians who cared for me and my buddies. They were magnificent and I'm sure that I owe them my life', therefore my life, I wouldn't have been born.
"'After 15 days in a hospital ship I was transferred to a Melbourne Hospital where I spent one month and seven days' … the happy ending was he got married a few years later."
Mr Logan took an emotional cruise into Darwin Harbour on Tuesday, above the wreckage of the USS Peary where his dad fought for his life almost eight decades earlier.
The free Bombing of Darwin Commemorative Service is on today from 9.30am at The Cenotaph.
The USS Peary Memorial Service is at the Esplanade from 8.15am.