“…like shooting thru a palm tree.”
Coach Don Reichert and the ’58 South Side Archers…..
Written by Harry D. Frick III
In the early morning hours of April 8, 1945, United States Navy PT boat 364 idled in the waters of the Molucca Sea, a half mile from the island of Hiri, in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. PT 364 was under the command of Lt. jg Donald C. Reichert of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Lt. Reichert and crew were on a dangerous and most unusual mission–rescue Sultan Mohammed Jabir Shah, his children and harem, held captive by the Japanese since 1942, on the nearby island of Ternate.
The Sultan’s family dynasty had ruled Ternate going back to the 16th century, but Japan seized the Dutch East Indies in 1941 and the Sultan was placed under house arrest. His palace grounds were patrolled by Japanese sentries, around the clock. By the spring of ’45, with Japan in retreat across the Pacific, the Sultan got word to the Allies that he believed they were planning to kill him and his family. His desperate plea made it all the way to General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Allied forces in the Pacific. MacArthur gave the green light to a rescue mission, codenamed–Operation Opposum.
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