You are the owner of this article.

Cecil Green Culpepper survived Japanese kamikaze attacks aboard the USS Intrepid

From the Stories from Frederick County's World War II veterans series
  • 0
  • 1 min to read

The first Japanese person Cecil Culpepper ever saw was the face of a kamikaze pilot whose plane was tumbling from the sky toward the ocean below.

Sitting in his room at Montevue Assisted Living in a recent interview, Culpepper pointed to a chair a few feet from his own. That was how far he was from the enemy, as he stood aboard the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.

It was not the only time the vessel was subject to kamikaze attacks during the war.

“It was plenty of action,” Culpepper said. “They wanted to put us out of business.”

During the attacks, Culpepper was part of a three-person team manning a 20 mm machine gun. He never fired the weapon, but he was still at risk — others aboard the vessel were killed in the attacks, he said.

Asked if he felt scared, he answered, “A little bit. But you didn’t have much time to get scared.”

And it was his service, through the GI Bill, that let Culpepper continue his education after he was discharged from a second round of service in the Korean War. He always said he probably wouldn’t have gone to college otherwise, said his wife, Jean Culpepper.

— Nancy Lavin

Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @NancyKLavin.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem> TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.