Veterans Day, observed annually on November 11 in the USA, is a holiday honoring men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces, held on the anniversary of the end of World War I. Steve Knoop shares this tribute to one of those men:
The next time you are out on the racecourse, reflect for a moment on those who made the blessings of Liberty possible. Veteran Mackinac Racer and my dad Frank Knoop was not only a distinguished yachtsman but a WWII distinguished veteran for our country.
On 12 April 1945, then LTJG Frank Knoop served as the Gunnery Officer on the USS PURDY. The ship was assigned radar picket duty to guard the invasion of Okinawa. The picket ships bore the brunt of an attack of 30 Japanese warplanes. Had these planes broken through the picket line, the safety of our fleet and marines ashore would be in jeopardy.
The PURDY fought valiantly in a 90-minute battle, destroying five enemy planes and helping disperse the rest of the formation. One plane got through and slammed into the side of the PURDY. The intense blast killed 15 men and wounded 27 others.
LTJG Knoop was blown off the ship’s bridge and into the ocean. Of those blown off, he was one of the few survivors. He spent an extended period in the water before his rescue and was picked up by the USS Intrepid. The PURDY won a Naval Unit Commendation for her “OUTSTANDING HEROISM.”
LTJG Frank Knoop returned to the United States and civilian life, and he sailed 44 Mackinac Races. My father’s legacy continues. This year I sailed my 43rd Mackinac Race. I hope I will be able to equal my Dad’s Mackinac accomplishments next year. I only pray I can equal his bravery and service to his country.
On Veterans Day, remember my father and those who proudly served their country. For a video tribute to the USS PURDY and Frank Knoop, click here.