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Conrad Wayne Huggins - Purple Heart - Killed in Action while performing duties on the USS Quincy CA-39
Although his remains have never been found, he has a grave site at the Manila American Cemetery, in the Philippines. He was the first casualty of WWII for Greene County, Pennsylvania.
Seaman First Class Conrad Wayne Huggins was stationed on the USS Quincy CA-39.
USS Quincy CA-39
Loss at the Battle of Savo Island
While on patrol in the channel between Florida Island and Savo Island, in the early hours of 9 August, Quincy was attacked by a large Japanese naval force during the Battle of Savo Island.
Quincy, along with sister ships USS Astoria (CA-34) and USS Vincennes (CA-44), had seen aircraft flares dropped over other ships in the task force, and had just sounded general quarters and was coming alert when the searchlights from the Japanese column came on. Quincy’s captain, Samuel N. Moore, gave the order to commence firing, but the gun crews were not ready. Within a few minutes, Quincy was caught in a crossfire between Aoba Frutaka, and Tenryu and was hit heavily and set afire. Quincy’s captain ordered his cruiser to charge towards the eastern Japanese column, but as she turned to do so Quincy was hit by two torpedoes from Tenryū, causing severe damage. Quincy managed to fire a few main gun salvos, one of which hit Chokai's chart room 6 meters (20 ft) from Admiral Mikawa and killed or wounded 36 men, although Mikawa was not injured. At 02:10, incoming shells killed or wounded almost all of Quincy’s bridge crew, including the captain. At 02:16, the cruiser was hit by a torpedo from Aoba, and the ship's remaining guns were silenced. Quincy’s assistant gunnery officer, sent to the bridge to ask for instructions, reported on what he found:
"When I reached the bridge level, I found it a shambles of dead bodies with only three or four people still standing. In the Pilot House itself the only person standing was the signalman at the wheel who was vainly endeavoring to check the ship's swing to starboard to bring her to port. On questioning him I found out that the Captain, who at that time was laying near the wheel, had instructed him to beach the ship and he was trying to head for Savo Island, distant some four miles (6 km) on the port quarter. I stepped to the port side of the Pilot House, and looked out to find the island and noted that the ship was heeling rapidly to port, sinking by the bow. At that instant the Captain straightened up and fell back, apparently dead, without having uttered any sound other than a moan."
Quincy sustained many direct hits which left 370 men dead and 167 wounded. She sank, bow first, at 02:38, being the first ship sunk in the area which was later known as Iron bottom Sound.
Quincy's wreck was discovered and explored by Robert Ballard and his crew in July and August of 1992. Quincy sits upright in roughly 2,000 feet of water. Her bow is missing forward of her number 1 turret, both forward turrets are trained to starboard, with turret 1 featuring a jammed gun, and one of turret 2's guns burst. Of the superstructure, the bridge is heavily damaged but intact, both funnels are missing, and the float plane hangar completely collapsed. Quincy's stern is bent upwards aft of the number 3 turret, and heavily damaged by implosions.
This rare color photo shows the cruiser USS Quincy at Noumea, New Caledonia, on August 3, 1942, just four days prior to the U.S. invasion of Guadalcanal.
Memorial Obituary - A Tribute published in the pages of the Republican - Waynesburg, Pennsylvania February 16, 1979
Emma M. Huggins - 84, of 307 Wills Road, Connellsville, formerly of Greene County, died at 3:45 pm, Saturday, February 10, 1979, in the Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh. She had been seriously ill for one week.
Born September 29, 1894, in Davistown, she was the daughter of A.J. and Sally Stewart Beal. Mrs. Huggins was a housewife and had lived most of her life in Greene County. Her husband, Glad C. Huggins, died in 1971. She was a member of the Calvary Methodist Church of Garards Fort, the American Legion Auxiliary of Mt. Morris and the VFW Auxiliary of Carmichaels. Mrs. Huggins was the first Gold Star Mother in Greene County. Her son Wayne was the first Greene County soldier to be killed in WWII.
She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Charles (Opal) Reeves of Canonsburg, Mrs. Elva Philips of Connellsville, Mrs. Mike (Betty) Hernish of Crucible; three sons, Raymond of Garards Fort, Donald J. of Seaford, Del., Floyd of Connellsville, with whom she made her home; 14 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mrs. Linda Cowell of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Mrs. Galia Donley of Pittsburgh.
A daughter, Maxine Janesko, a son, Wayne, and four brothers and three sisters are deceased.