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Amid the steady drone of bombers overhead ,and bone-shivering jolts on all sides, YP-289 was trapped at the dock.

“Cut the ropes,” Ed Magruga yelled. He gunned the diesel engine and steered directly toward the oncoming squadron. The ship’s machine gunners fired so many rounds, the barrels overheated. Bullets dribbled onto the deck and bounced like marbles.

Bombs began falling “so close,” says Ed, “it was unbelievable. Joe could see them coming down at us.”

Which may have saved their lives — that and YP-289’s sharp turning radius, and Joe Madruga’s “fisherman’s eyes.”

Joe had a legendary ability to spot tuna. When bombs began to fall, he stood just outside the pilot house. He followed their paths. When he saw where they’d hit, he shouted to Ed at the wheel: “To port!” or “Hard starboard! Harder!”

Steering sudden zig-zags, Ed “crabbed” YP-289 through the lagoon, literally side-stepping 200-foot, blue-and-black geysers and the shards of death they spewed.

Bombs exploding under water belch gigantic circles. One hit so close, it made just a half-circle and almost lifted YP-289 out of the water. Hissing spume drenched the deck.

“Bombs came close,” says Ed, “but they never did hit us. That’s why I’m here.”

After the last fell, the churned-up lagoon looked like a sewer, the base a chaos of craters and debris. As they squared away YP-289, the crew filled a bucket with shrapnel.

That night, Tokyo Rose declared the bombing a success — and a ship had sunk, number 289.

The crew had made friends with pilots stationed at their home base. When airmen heard the news, Joe told wife Adeline, they took it hard. And when YP-289 returned to port, a surprised pilot shouted from the dock, “Two-eighty-nine? Tokyo Rose said you sunk!” He ran off. Minutes later, he returned with dozens of pilots who saluted the crew with whoops of jubilation.

In 1944, after giving them commendations, the Navy reassigned the Madrugas to officer’s training school in Miami for four months. Because he spoke fluent Portuguese, Joe became a liaison for shipments to Brazil. He returned to the Pacific in 1945, and was towing a ship to Pearl when the war ended.

Ed became captain of a large Navy tugboat. A typical day? “Get up every morning for the 4:00 watch and take my stars [navigation check], make sure the vessel is clean and everything’s according to Hoyle, and that’s about it.” In between, “I did a lot of reading.”

YP-289 survived the war, but not the Pacific. Under a different captain, it continued running supplies. When peace was declared on September 2, 1945, along with about 300 other vessels, the Paramount sailed to Okinawa for post-war reassignment. Ships were jammed hull to hull at Buckner Bay, making movement near impossible.

On October 4, a tropical depression 500 of miles south grew into a typhoon. By the time it neared Okinawa, it had a name, “Louise,” but the track was far to the west. On October 8, the storm slowed. Then, as if finding what it wanted, the typhoon tripled in intensity and made a determined veer east toward Okinawa.

The war in the Pacific began with the assault on Pearl Harbor. After it ended, Louise ravaged Buckner Bay with one of the worst storms on record.

Ninety-mile-an-hour winds and 30- to 35-foot waves dragged ships’ anchors: small craft first, then larger ones. As hundreds of engines turned over, horizontal rains thick with salt spray cut visibility from 800 yards to total darkness — at noon.

Most ships were anchored in a smaller bay at the north end of Buckner. Those trying to flee through the narrow entrance rammed each other. A wall of twisted wreckage blocked the only exit.

By 2:00 p.m., winds blew over 100 ships ashore. Those still afloat tried to evade others, randomly emerging from the dark. Many employed the “crabbing” maneuver Ed Madruga had used at Nukufetau. But more often than not, to evade one boat running blind, they smashed into another.

At 4:00 p.m., the barometer dropped to 968.5, as low as barometers go. The bay became, wrote an observer, “a nightmare series of collisions and near escapes.”

After four ships pummeled the Southern Seas, a 228-foot patrol yacht, a fifth speared it from behind. It went down and 13 crewmen died.

As enormous waves crashed over pilot houses and conns, and as horns blared, engines roared, and metal warped in high-pitched, twisted shrieks, YP-289 lost its mooring and drifted into the din. The Nestor (ARB-6), a 228-foot battle-damage repair ship, had to slip its anchor chain to avoid an oncoming craft. Both captains steered away, the Nestor dead into the path of YP-289. To avoid a collision, the captain threw Nestor into reverse, too close to shore. Nestor grounded. YF-1079 pounded it from behind.

Not ten minutes later, the typhoon shifted. Eighty-mile-an-hour winds, now to the north and northwest, blew beached craft back into the water. Wreckage half floated or sank, clogging the mud-brown waters where intact boats desperately fought to steer free.

For unknown reasons, YP-289 still carried 12 depth charges astern on racks. USS LSM-15, a landing ship, powered into YP-289 from behind. The explosion blasted the LSM to the bottom of Buckner Bay.

Typhoon Louise “has seldom been paralleled in fury and violence,” wrote a meteorologist. It raged for 20 hours, sank 12 ships, grounded 222, and damaged 32 severely. The numbers don’t include YPs. Along with the Paramount, the Counte Grande (YP-520) and Challenger (YP-239) also went down.

Since the winds wiped out all the Quonset huts and tents, people had to hide in caves or trenches. Thirty-two died, 47 were missing, and over 100 injured seriously. The devastation did not match but neared the totals for Pearl Harbor.

As part of a massive salvage effort, Ed Madruga sailed his tug to Buckner Bay. His final view of World War II recalled his first. “This was a massive destruction you couldn’t believe unless you saw it with your own eyes,” he told Daniel Shapiro. “It was almost like Pearl Harbor, except it didn’t have the oil on the bay.”

More in this series: Part 1: Tuna boats go to war | Part 2: The Pork Chop Express was no pleasure cruise

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