A Moving Tribute to Loyce Edward Deen USNR WWII
Text and images from the Tribute Page of Loyce Deen created by Gregg Mastriforte
-Victory at Sea
During September 1995, Gregg Mastriforte was in Hawaii on business and was able to attend the 50th anniversary of VJ day. All the hotel's lobbies, restaurants and local bars were filled with WWII veterans. Gregg shared drinks with a couple of WWII veterans who were deck hands aboard the carrier USS Essex.
They talked about the Kamikaze plane that hit their carrier in Nov '44, the typhoons they sailed through, the Air Groups they supported, and a sailor who was shot up so badly, they buried him with his plane.
Books have been written about the first three stories, but very little has been written about that sailor. Since we are losing so many of our WWII veterans, Gregg Mastriforte wanted to pay tribute to those two veterans he shared drinks with, in that small bar on Waikiki Beach and the friend they talked about: Loyce Deen.
Gregg was moved by the story that he decided to do research on Loyce Deen. He contacted the NAS Fort Lauderdale Museum asking for information. We learned that Loyce trained here at this base. Loyce's tribute page has images and videos, including the one of his burial at sea and also a moving story about a WWII nurse doll.
In the award winning documentary series, Victory at Sea, the episode entitled "The Conquest of Micronesia" aired several solemn and moving burial at sea scenes. The final scene showed a sailor buried at sea in the plane in which he gave his life. The plane was so badly hit by 40mm anti-aircraft (AA) shells, the Navy decided to leave his body in the plane. In fact, orders also came down not to strip the plane for parts - which was quite an extraordinary tribute at the time since aircraft parts were scarce and in demand. He is the only known USN sailor to be purposely buried with his plane. The documentary did not mention the sailor's name nor the carrier. Except for his name on a few website photos, very little was written about him - until now.
The sailor was 23 year old Loyce Edward Deen, an Aviation Machinist Mate (Gunner) 2nd Class enlistee from Altus, Oklahoma who served in VT-15 squadron assigned to the USS Essex. Loyce was a remarkable young man and here is his story... Please visit the tribute Page, created by Gregg Mastriforte: