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eMedals-United States. A Purple Heart to Signalman Luiz, USN, KIA by Kamikaze, USS Louisville

Item: M0215-41

United States. A Purple Heart to Signalman Luiz, USN, KIA by Kamikaze, USS Louisville

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United States. A Purple Heart to Signalman Luiz, USN, KIA by Kamikaze, USS Louisville

Purple Heart (in bronze gilt with purple, red, white and green enamels, engraved "JOSEPH C. LUIZ SM3c USN" on the reverse, measuring 35.3 mm (w) x 44 mm (h), original ribbon with brooch pinback, intact enamels, very light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied a 35.5 mm (w) x 10.7 mm (h) ribbon bar with pinback and a 17 mm (w) x 3.5 mm (h) enamelled ribbon bar with buttonhole attachment, along with an original replacement ribbon, in their hardshelled case of issue, marked "PURPLE HEART" on the lid, light wear on the exterior, case near also near extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of his Service Records and assorted research papers.

Footnote: Joseph Charles Luiz was born on January 22, 1922 in Vallejo, California, the son of Mary Cinquini. He had one sister, Josephine Agnes Robinson (nee Luiz) and three brothers, Edward John Luiz, and two others who were serving during the war: George Cornelius Luiz (who was serving aboard the Tambor-class diesel-electric submarine USS Tambor (SS-198) and the Cleveland-class light cruiser USS Wilkes-Barre (CL-103)) and John Celestine Luiz (who was serving aboard the destroyer tender USS Dixie (AD-14) and the Balao-class submarine USS Carp (SS/AGSS/IXSS-338). He attended St. Mary's College High School in Peralta Park, Berkeley, California, where he graduated Grade 12. He had been employed for seven months as a Night Clerk at the Hotel Van in Willitis, California, when he signed his Application for Enlistment on December 8, 1941 in San Francisco, California, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He noted that his father was deceased, that his mother was living and that he sought a "career" in the United States Navy. His mother, Mary Cinquini, signed a Parental/Guardian Consent Form on December 9th, due to the fact her son was enlisting as a minor under the age of 21. Luiz entered service as an Apprentice Seaman (3764631) at the Naval Recruiting Station in San Francisco, California, signing on for six years' service on December 13, 1941, at the age of 19, naming his next-of-kin as his mother, Mary Cinquini of San Francisco, stating that he had no previous military service and that he was not married. He was transferred to the Naval Training Station in San Diego, California, where he received instruction in the nomenclature, assembly, disassembly, safety precautions and proper method of firing Lewis and Browning machine guns, .30 caliber, M2, aircraft fixed and flexible types, given gas mask instruction and instruction in the gas chamber, qualifying as a swimmer in the "C" test, having the substance of the contents of the Soldier's and Sailor's Civil Relief Act of 1940 and of Public Resolution No. 96, 76th Congress explained to him, and completed a marksman course at the United States Marine Corps rifle range in La Jolla. Once his recruit training had been completed, Luiz was transferred to the Northampton-class cruiser USS Louisville (CA-28) on January 5, 1942. He was named Seaman Second Class on June 30, 1942 and was at sea with USS Louisville on October 1st. Luiz was to see two other promotions, first to Seaman First Class on March 1, 1943, then appointed Signalman Third Class on June 1, 1943. On November 11, 1942, the cruiser USS Louisville departed San Francisco for Pearl Harbor, continuing, after a few days on to the South Pacific, escorting several troop transports as far as New Caledonia. She then proceeded north to Espiritu Santo to Join Task Force 67, which was then battling Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands.
 
On January 29, 1943, Louisville participated In the Battle off Rennell Island, the last of the seven naval battles for Guadalcanal, after which she operated east of the island until it was entirely secured. In April, USS Louisville steamed, via Pearl Harbor, to the Aleutians. There, as a unit of Task Force 16, the cruiser covered the assault and occupation of Attu from May 11 to 30 and participated in the pre-invasion bombardment of Kiska in July. After the latter was evacuated by the Japanese, she conducted escort of convoy operations in the northern Pacific. In August 1943, she proceeded to the Mare Island Navy Yard for an overhaul to her machinery and alterations. USS Louisville was in overhaul at Mare Island from October 8 until Dec 24, 1943. Following this work in January 1944, Louisville returned to the southern Pacific as the flagship of Rear Admiral J. B. Oldendorf, who was to command the naval gunfire support groups through the amphibious operations ahead. In the Marshall Islands at the end of the month, she bombarded Wotje Atoll, west of Kwajalein, on January 29th. Then the cruiser turned her guns on the airfield and troop concentrations on Roi and Namur on the southern tip of the atoll, contributing to the conquest of those islands by February 3rdTwo weeks later, USS Louisville led the gunfire support group into action at Eniwetok, which fell on February 22nd. After Eniwetok, USS Louisville joined Task Force 58, accompanied by the fast aircraft carriers, striking Japanese installations in the Palaus in March, and bombarded Truk and Sawatan in April. Two months later, June saw preparations for the invasion of the greater Marianas, and again USS Louisville was the leading unit in shore bombardment operations, beginning with Saipan, where she fired continuously for the first eleven days of that engagement, through the shelling of Tinian, and ending with the assault on Guam. The USS Louisville had been in the battle area fifty-nine straight days and nights in the Marianas Campaign, firing 24,948 rounds of 8 inch ammunition. After the Mariana Islands, USS Louisville retired to the rear area until mid-September, when she steamed to Palau for the pre-invasion bombardment of Peleliu. Then as advanced bases were created, final preparations for the invasion of the Philippines were made. On October 18th, USS Louisville entered Leyte Gulf and pounded Japanese shore installations. She became the first large American ship to enter Philippine waters since December 12, 1941. On October 21, 1944, while Louisville was bombarding Leyte, she was hit by kamikaze plane shrapnel, killing one man. On October 25, 1944, she was in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, participating in the last engagement of a battleline, as the Japanese southern force attempted to force its way into Leyte Gulf through Surigao Strait. Admiral Oldendorf deployed the American battleline across the strait and Patrol Torpedo boats and destroyers on either side of the narrow body of water, defeating the Japanese ships as they passed through the strait. During the Battle of Surigao Strait, USS Louisville helped to sink the bow section of the Japanese battleship Fusō, after the battleship had broke into two from an internal explosion caused by a torpedo from the destroyer USS Melvin. Signalman Third Class Joseph Charles Luiz is credited with having served with USS Louisville, participating in the Marianas Campaign, including the bombardment, invasion, and occupation of Saipan and Tinian and the re-occupation of Guam. As a part of the Bombardment and Fire Support Group, he participated in the bombardment and assault on Leyte Island in the Philippines, rendering fire support during the occupation from October 18 to 29, 1944, along with being commended for excellent performance of duty during the Battle of Surigao Strait on October 25, 1944, which resulted in the destruction of many Japanese warships. In addition, Luiz participated in the bombardment and occupation of Pelelieu, Palau Group from December 12 to 24, 1944.
 
Following the Leyte operations, USS Louisville rejoined the fast carriers, now designated as Task Force 38, and participated in pre-invasion strikes against the enemy on Luzon. By the new year of 1945, Louisville was headed towards Lingayen Gulf. While en route on January 5-6, two kamikazes headed for and scored on her. The first Kamikaze on January 5, 1945 hit the No. 2 main battery 8 inch 55 caliber gun knocking it completely out of commission killing one man with 17 injured/burned including Captain Rex LeGrande Hicks. The second Kamikaze on January 6, 1945 hit the starboard side signal bridge. Rear Admiral Theodore E. Chandler, commander of Cruiser Division 4 (CruDiv 4) was fatally injured helping the sailors man handle the fire hoses to put out the massive flames during the latter attack, and died of his wounds the following day. Rear Admiral William P. McCarty (then Commander) took control of USS Louisville and managed recovery efforts in fighting fires and restoration of equipment, for which he was awarded the Silver Star. Also killed was Admiral's Orderly Walter Joseph Siegel, who was standing by the Admiral at the time. Siegel was the only Marine killed; however, 41 Navy men were also killed and 125 or more men were wounded. Despite extensive damage, the cruiser shelled the beaches and shot down several enemy planes before withdrawing and proceeding to Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs. Signalman Third Class Luiz was serving aboard the USS Louisville on January 6, 1945, when the vessel was attacked by an enemy plane in the vicinity of Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, in the Philippines. A bomb dropped by a Japanese plane struck the ship, and the ensuing explosion caused the entire right side of the ship to burst into flames. Following this action, a thorough search of the area was conducted, but no trace of Luiz could be found. In a letter from the Navy, dated January 26, 1945, his sister, Josephine, was informed that he was "missing following action while in the service of his country". His two brothers in the service, George Cornelius Luiz, who was serving with the Cleveland-class light cruiser USS Wilkes-Barre (CL-103) and John Celestine Luiz, who was serving with the Balao-class submarine USS Carp (SS/AGSS/IXSS-338) were informed by telegram on July 19, 1945, that since there was no hope for their brother's survival, it was assumed that he had lost his life as the result of enemy action on January 6, 1945. This was confirmed in two telegrams of the same date, addressed to his sister, Josephine Agnes Robinson and to his other brother, Edward John Luiz. Josephine Robinson also received a Letter of Condolence from Captain Rex LeGrande Hicks, Commander of the USS Louisville, who also apologized for having sent a typewritten note to her and not having been in his own handwriting, as he himself having been injured during the attack. 3764631 Signalman Third Class Joseph Charles Luiz, United States Navy, initially declared "Missing in Action" after the attack on January 6, 1945, was officially declared "Killed in Action", as his remains were "determined to be non-recoverable", at the age of 22, sixteen days shy of his twenty-third birthday.
 
He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing, at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines. His brother, Edward John Luiz, was informed via letter in January 1946, that his late brother had been posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, and that it would be forwarded to him under separate cover. His sister, Josephine, was asked to determine if she wished that her brother's personal effects be returned to her, the list including: two prayer books, a small box of shaving equipment, a sheath knife, a pair of low black shoes, four note books, one package of stationary and personal letters, a novelty bracelet, a shoe brush, two shoe laces, a small whisk broom, a new razor set, a money belt, fourteen pairs of white socks, two mattresses covers, two towels, a wash cloth, a dungaree shirt, three white jumpers, two white trousers, two white hats, two neckerchiefs, four underdrawers, a black rain coat, two blue undress jumpers, two blue dress jumpers, two blue trousers, and $16.88 in cash. She also claimed for the six months' death gratuity.
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