Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

Charles H. McCoy

 

 

 

 

 


 

SUBMARINE TROUT, SS-202

Patch

SUBMARINE USS GRENADIER (SS-210)

Patch


Charles H. (TIM) McCoy

PATRIOT, Chapter 1919

Navy, WWII, Pacific

                         

Charles H. McCoy was born in 1924 in San Angelo, Texas.  In early childhood, his family moved to Dalhart and after eight years there they lived in Lubbock for another seven years.  They then lived for two years in Dallas. At that point, still before America’s entry into WWII, Charles enlisted in the Navy.  He entered active duty on November 1, 1941, went through basic training in San Diego and then was assigned to duty aboard the Submarine USS Trout, (SS-202).

 

The Trout accomplished a daring mission after the fall of Manila in the Philippines. During its second war patrol, Trout delivered ammunition to the besieged garrison on Corregidor Island and took aboard gold, silver and other securities, the contents of the treasury of the Philippine Government, that had been moved there for safekeeping.  On February 4, 1942, the sub slipped away from Corregidor, successfully evaded the Japanese and arrived safely at Pearl Harbor. The precious cargo was then loaded aboard the cruiser USS Detroit (CL-8), and transported to the United States.  Charles H. McCoy was among the crew receiving the Silver Star for that action aboard Trout, which also earned the Presidential Unit Citation for the vessel and its crew.  Subsequently, Charles was assigned to the Submarine USS Grenadier (SS-210) and he was a Seaman First Class when he reported on board.

 

On the night of April 20, 1943, during its 6th war patrol, when hunting in the Strait of Malacca off the coast of the Malay Peninsula about 10 miles northwest of Penang Island, Grenadier was discovered, attacked and damaged by enemy aircraft.  Losing all power and lighting, the submarine sank in 270 feet of water and settled to the bottom while still leaking badly and with a fire burning in the control cubicle.  After lying helpless on the bottom for nearly an entire day, and against all odds the crew was able to contain the damage and effect repairs sufficiently to raise the disabled vessel to the surface just as night fell on the following day. With a damaged propeller shaft, Grenadier could barely move, was vulnerable on the surface and unable to dive. They were detected by a Japanese ship and as it closed in on them, the Captain ordered the men to scuttle the sub.  All hands were then taken prisoner on board the enemy ship and brought ashore at Penang where they were confined in the buildings of the Catholic Convent on Light Street.

 

The crew suffered cruel torture at the hands of secret police interrogators every day for the next five months that they were in the convent in Penang. The men scratched their names on two sections of a wall and on one of the wooden doors and those are still maintained to this day by the convent as a tribute to the “brave crew of an American submarine.”  The men were then moved to Changi Prison in Singapore and after two months there were sent to Yokohama in Japan.  At Yokohama, the crew of Grenadier was split up and Charles McCoy was part of the half that was sent to Fukuoka #3 Camp on Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan.  Until liberation at the end of the war, he would remain in that POW camp as a slave laborer, working in the Yahata Steel Mills, a part of what at that time was the second largest steel mill and shipyard in the world.

 

After WWII, he remained in the Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign on July 2, 1958.  He retired June 25, 1965 in the grade of Lieutenant after more than twenty-four years active duty.  Except for the period he had been a Prisoner Of War, the entire time was in assignments to Submarines, Submarine Rescue Vessels, Submarine Tenders or Submarine support activities of the Pacific Fleet.

 

Upon retirement from the Navy, Charles McCoy came to Austin, Texas as Director of the Military Division for National Western Life Insurance Company.  He was promoted to Director of all Marketing Divisions of the company and served in that position until he resigned in 1972 to establish his own business, NEAT Management Group.  NEAT Management Group has grown to be one of the largest National Insurance Brokerage firms in the United States, marketing specialized plans designed for the senior age market.

 

Charles McCoy organized and served as the first commander of the local Austin area Texas Capitol City Chapter of the American Ex-POW’s Association.  At this writing, Tim has been a Mason for over fifty years, being a member of  the Blue Lodge, York Rite and Shrine.  He is an inspirational public speaker who has traveled to many places throughout the United States to make motivational presentations to various audiences, one of his most frequent speeches is entitled: “One Moment of Glory – Then What?”

 

He lives with his wife of 59 years, Jean, and his son, Timothy J. McCoy, who is President and CEO of NEAT Management Group.


 

SUBMARINE TROUT, SS-202, IN PEARL HARBOR, MARCH 1942, AFTER TRANSFERRING THE PHILIPPINE TREASURY GOLD ABOARD CRUISER DETROIT NAVY ARCHIVES PHOTO

SUBMARINE USS GRENADIER (SS-210)

AT COMMISSIONING IN 1941

US NAVY PHOTO ARCHIVES

CHANGI PRISON IN SINGAPORE WHERE CHARLES MCCOY WAS HELD FOR TWO MONTHS IN LATE 1943 BEFORE BEING SENT TO FUKUOKA IN JAPAN

FUKUOKA #3 CAMP ON KYUSHU ISLAND

NARC PHOTO, AUGUST OR SEPTEMBER 1945

 

POW Names were carved in the wall with a belt buckle.

You can still see them today in the Light Street Convent in Penang, Malaysia.

CLICK THIS LINK


Top Photo

 

LIEUTENANT CHARLES H. MCCOY

OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH UNITED STATES NAVY

JUNE 24, 1963


Back To Index