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Date: Saturday, 6 January 1945
Place: Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippines
Before and after views of USS Columbia (CL-56) hit by a Japanese A6M Zero-Sen Kamikaze aircraft diving on the ship at 1729 Hours on January 6, 1945, during the Lingayen Gulf operation. Columbia was first crashed close aboard by one of the kamikaze planes, then was struck on her port quarter by a second. The plane and its bomb penetrated two decks before exploding with tremendously damaging effect, killing thirteen and wounding 44 of the crew, putting her after turrets out of action, and setting the ship afire. Prompt flooding of two magazines prevented further explosions, and damage control measures enabled Columbia to complete her bombardment with her two operative turrets, and remain in action to give close support to underwater demolition teams. On the morning of the landings, January 9, as Columbia lay close inshore and surrounded by landing craft unable to maneuver, she was again crashed by a kamikaze. Knocking out six gun directors and a gun mount. Twenty-four men were killed and 97 wounded. Drastically shorthanded as she was, Columbia again put out fires, repaired damage, and continued her bombardment and fire support. Columbia sailed for Leyte that night, guarding a group of unloaded transports, and made emergency repairs. Her crew's accomplishments in saving their ship and carrying out their mission without interruption were recognized with the Navy Unit Commendation for this operation. The cruiser was under repair in the United States and in transit until June 16, 1945, when she arrived in the Western Pacific to participate in the operations to liberate Borneo.