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Destroyer Escort Sailors Association - DESA
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Ponape Island is located in the East Caroline Islands. It is 337 nautical miles southwest of Eniwetok Atoll and is roughly 12 miles by 14 miles in size. Ponape is surrounded by a coral barrier reef that contains 25 inlets and serves to protect the island, allowing for mangrove swamps on the shore line.

During WWII, occupied and fortified by the Japanese with numerous coastal defense and anti-aircraft weapons of all types, its defenses proved to be a formidable challenge to attacking forces. Also located on the island were Japanese airstrips at Nan Pohn Mal and Palikir and a seaplane base at one of the barrier islands with a ramp facing the calm water side of the reef. It remained occupied by the Japanese until it was surrendered on 11 September 1945. (1)

After receiving the Japanese surrender on Kusaie Island on 8 September, USS HYMAN DD 732 set course for Ponape in the company of USS FARQUHAR DE 139.

Aboard HYMAN, Lt. General Masao Watanabe surrendered control of Ponape and Captain Momm, division commander on HYMAN, assumed duties as military governor of Ponape the next day.

USS FARQUHAR remained at Ponape as station ship, assisting in the occupation and repatriation until late December.

DESA member and USS FARQUHAR DE 139 crewmember Jim Klepper, SF 3/c, preserved photos from this historic event and they are presented here.  He credits the photos to FARQUHAR Executive Office Lt. Melvin Tudor. Klepper's data and Tudor's photos preserve an important part of history for you will find only a rare mention of this event written in history books.

(1) Information courtesy of http://www.vmb-613.com/maps/ponape_map.html

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In 1995, 50 years after the surrender, it was still remembered.  Ray Novotny, Jr., provided the following information and photos:

"My father, Ray Novotny, Sr. was a plankowner aboard the HYMAN and was present for the surrenders at Kusaie and Ponape. He is writing a book on his WWII Navy experiences.

For the 50th Anniversary of the surrender on Ponape, the surviving crew of the HYMAN were invited to return to the island. My dad, along with about a dozen shipmates and their wives traveled to Ponape for the Liberation Ceremony on 11 Sept 1995. While there, the Postmaster General of Micronesia presented my father with a set of limited edition postage stamps commorating the liberation of the islands. The set includes four U.S. Navy warships which carried out the liberation:
-the Cruiser Portland (CA-33) where Japanese Lt. General Shunzaburo Mugikura relinguished control of Truk (now known as Chuuk) on 2 Sept 1945
-the destroyer USS Tillman (DD-641) which took the formal surrender of the Japanese garrison on Yap on 5 Sept.
-the destroyer USS Soley (DD-707) docked in the shadow of Lelu Island in sight of the Japanese surrender of Kosrae (formerly Kusai) aboard the Hyman on 8 Sept. The Soley stayed outside the harbor just in case the Japanese had any treachery planned. The Soley then stayed behind while the Hyman sailed to Ponape.
-USS Hyman (DD-732) where Lt. General Masao Watanabe surrendered control of Ponape (now Pohnpei) on 11 Sept. The FARQUHAR stood guard outside the reef in the event of a Japanese ambush. (My dad mentions this in his book).
Shortly after their return, my dad had an article about the 50th Anniversary trip to Ponape published in his hometown newspaper, The Park Ridge (IL) Herald."

Ray Novotny, Jr.
February 2006

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Lt. General Masao Watanabe, IJA,
arriving to negotiate the surrender


Watanable boards USS Hyman


The negotiation begins


The instrument of surrender is signed


USS Hyman crewmembers
watch the surrender proceedings



Capt. James L. Foley, skipper of USS Hyman DD 732,
posting surrender notice at Ponape


Japanese garrison officials meet
with USS Hyman officials


USN occupation of Ponape


Capt. Monn, division commander on Hyman, prepares to assume his duties as military governor


Members of the Japanese garrison
with US Naval officials

 
The US Flag is raised over Ponape


Ponape Liberation Ceremony 11 Sept 1995
 


Limited edition postage stamps
commemorating the liberation of Caroline Islands

 

[USS Missouri ]  [Mille Atoll Surrender]  [Northern Palaus Island Surrender]  [Rota Island Surrender]
[Wake Island Surrender]  [Jaluit Atoll Surrender]  [Maloelap Atoll Surrender]  [Wotje Atoll Surrender]
[Kusaie Island Surrender]  [Ponape Island Surrender]  [Woleai Atoll Surrender] 
[Tobi-Sonsorol-Merir Islands Surrender]

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