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Cofer

 

Born 30 November 1919 in Louisville, Ga., John Joseph Cofer enlisted in the Navy 27 October 1941, and reported for duty in Aaron Ward (DD-483) 4 March 1942. Seaman First Class Cofer was killed in action 13 November 1942 during the naval battle off Guadalcanal. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his gallant and intrepid conduct as spotter and rangefinder operator during the action.

 

(DE-208: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Buckley)

 

Cofer (DE-208) was launched 6 September 1943 by Charleston Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. M. J. Cofer, mother of Seaman First Class Cofer; and commissioned 19 January 1944, Lieutenant Commander A. P. Chester in command.

 

Cofer escorted convoys on two transatlantic crossings, between New York and Gibraltar and Norfolk and Bizerte, Tunisia from 23 March to 30 June 1944, returning to New York for conversion to a high speed transport. She was reclassified APD-62 on 5 July 1944.

 

Cofer sailed from New York 26 September 1944, and arrived at Hollandia, New Guinea, 4 November for duty with the 7th Fleet. She carried troops in one of the first resupply convoys for landings on Leyte, sailing with a group which fought its way through Japanese air attacks to arrive off the beaches 24 November. Unloading at furious pace, Cofer was cleared the same day for Palau, where she embarked additional troops for the landings at Ormoc Bay on 7 and 8 December. On the first day, as suicide planes attacked in great number, Cofer joined in general firing, and went to the aid of Liddle (APD-60), when she was damaged by a kamikaze. Cofer next came under enemy air attack 15 December, as she landed assault troops on Mindoro.

 

Continuing in her role in the return to the Philippines, Cofer landed reinforcements at Lingayen Gulf on 11 and 12 January 1945, and then in a series of unopposed landings on Luzon, and in assaults on Palawan on 28 February. Zamboanga on 10 March, and Cebu on 26 March, the last under heavy mortar fire from the beach. Between 27 April and 8 May 1945 Cofer operated as flagship and covering vessel for minesweepers clearing the waters off Tarakan, Borneo, in support of the invasion on 1 May. On 3 May as the group swept the straits to prepare for motor torpedo boat operations off Cape Djoeata, concealed shore batteries sank YMS-481. Cofer destroyed the batteries and rescued 19 survivors of YMS-481. She continued to participate in minesweeping preceding the invasion of Brunei Bay from 7 to 11 June and Balikpapan from 15 June to 10 July. On 8 June she assisted Salute who had struck a mine, and rescued 59 survivors, 42 of whom were injured. On 18 June she rescued 23 survivors of YMS-50.

 

Cofer departed San Pedro Bay, Leyte 29 August and arrived at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, 1 September. She voyaged to Nagasaki in September to evacuate former prisoners of war, then returned to Sasebo, 28 September, to operate with the 7th Fleet on various duties in support of the occupation at Okinawa and Fusan, Korea. She embarked passengers at Okinawa and departed 26 November for San Diego, arriving 16 December. Unloading her passengers she sailed 26 December for the east coast, arriving at Brooklyn 9 January 1946. Cofer was placed out of commission in reserve 28 June 1946, berthed at Green Cove Springs, Fla.

 

Cofer received eight battle stars for World War II service.