This FAQ was written by the creator of the original web site in the late 1990's.

Who created and maintains this Web site?

My name is Craig Chariton. I currently live in Texas. My uncle was Donald E. Chariton, who was wounded on the "Marby".  My father was Robert "Phil" Chariton, who also served in the Navy during World War II.

Why did you create this Web site?

This Web site actually was created to answer a question created by the movie The Story of Dr. Wassell. I had heard the story of what happened to my uncle from my father. However, I don't believe even he knew the whole story. While watching the movie I was trying to figure out which sailor was portraying my uncle. When I realized I couldn't match the injuries portrayed with my uncle's injuries, I tried to use the Web to find out more information. I suddenly realized that there WASN'T any information available on the Web. Being the late 1990s, and myself a graduate student in computer science, I decided to create a Web site to document what I knew and to see if I could locate others who might have other pieces of information for the puzzle. Over the years people have discovered my Web site (initially on AOL) and provided answers to many questions, and posed new questions. In addition, I decided to provide information on the sailors who were wounded in the battle and treated and evacuated. This has expanded to providing information on other sailors who were on the Marby during the attack.

Ironically, the answer to my initial question from the movie was found several years later, in of all places, a stack of magazines I had in my basement. After my father died, I kept many of the magazines he had, especially those from during the period of World War II. While looking through the stack of Our Navy magazines, I stumbled across the article concerning Dr. Wassell. This is the article that now appears on this Web site. This article answered my questions concerning the men who were portrayed in the movie, and if my uncle was one of those portrayed. He was not in that group, but rather in the other group that was evacuated because they could walk. I have kept up with the Web site because I realized that it contained information that was not available anywhere else on the Web.

Did the Battle of the Java Sea change any policies in the U.S. Navy?

The injuries in the Battle of the Java Sea led to U.S. Navy restrictions on bare arms & legs. When the US cruisers Houston and Marblehead were bombed and severely damaged:

"Most of the severe injuries were burns on exposed parts of the body; it was largely as a result of this experience that the United States Navy forbade shorts or sleeveless shirts to be worn at sea, no matter how hot the climate". Samuel Elliot Morison: page 301 of "The Rising Sun in the Pacific: 1931-April 1942" (1948), Volume 3 in his History of the United States Naval Operations in WWII.  (Thank you to John Wilson for this information.)

What do you do after you retire or separate from the Navy?

You can follow these wonderful suggestions documented in Life After Navy

In the Echo articles regarding Benjamin Hopkins it says that POWs in Japan were able to communicate with their families in the United States. How was this done?

Allied prisoners were able to send postcards home from Japanese POW camps, although the delivery was very unreliable.  Usually they were to tell family members that "they are fine and doing OK". According to Daws (Prisoners of the Japanese, pages 128-129) it mentions that some standard message forms with four sentences plus space for a message (10 or 25, or 50 in deluxe version) were forwarded. The opportunity came randomly at long intervals. But, a circling of a "less sunny" option (e.g., "health poor" or "not improving" decreased the chances that it would be forwarded. Batches of cards might be dropped in a bag by air over Allied territory, or else used in camp as stuffing. It was used for propaganda purposes rather than for the benefit of the prisoners. (Thank you to John Wilson for this information.)

Is the Echo in Cass County, Nebraska still in existence?

No.  According to the Cass County Historical Society, which provided the articles from the Echo regarding Benjamin Hopkins, the Echo was in existence only during World War II.


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