LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A Lake Charles man is still beaming after his Honor Air flight to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. The USS Chinquapin was where Steve Rice spent the last days of World War II.
"What we did was lay nets around the harbor," said Rice. "When the big ships would go in, and bombard, or the air craft carriers or whatever. We would lay steel nets around the harbor, around the mouth of the harbor to keep out submarines and to keep out torpedoes."
Rice served as a radioman and was trusted with secret codes.
"One of my jobs was, if we had to scuttle the ship, my job was to open that safe, get that bag out that had the code in it, it had a 50 pound weight in it. I had to toss it overboard in the harbor so the enemy couldn't find the code."
Rice remembers kamikaze planes being very prevalent in those last days of the war.
"At Okinawa, suicide planes came in quite often, every day. We shot at a few of them. We shot one down. My battle station was a 40 millimeter anti aircraft gun. I was a loader on the gun."
Rice was in Okinawa when the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, ending the war. He is 89 years old and an active member of the Kiwanis Club in Lake Charles. He recently got to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, as part of the Honor Flight Network.