Sircy, John (P2, C4, L13)
Technical Sergeant John Sircy, 24, Adairville, Logan County, was a member of Headquarters Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 149th Infantry Regiment and was killed on 5 December 1944 as a result of a Japanese plane crashing into his ship, the SS Marcus Daly.
On October 20, 1944 U.S. forces landed on east coast beaches of Leyte as part of the Allied invasion of Leyte. The 38th Infantry Division including the 149th Regiment moved from New Guinea to Leyte in a convoy of ships. There were frequent aerial attacks by Japanese aircraft including kamikaze attacks,
On December 5, 1944, the convoy was north-east of Mindanao when they were attacked by Japanese aircraft again. Around 1530, the SS Marcus Daly, a liberty cargo ship converted to troop transport duties, was struck by a kamikaze. The dive bomber crashed through the deck into the forepeak area, the lowest section of the bow, which made a hole on the sides of the ship described as "large enough to drive a train through". A significant fire started by the aircrafts impact in the paint locker in the forepeak area and spread. The entire bow of the ship was reported twisted.
AT RIGHT: Photo of S.S. Marcus Daly bow damage. Date and location of photo unknown.
Some 200 of the 3-149th troops aboard were listed as killed, wounded or missing. Three of the ships crew members - one Navy Armed Guard and two Merchant Marine were killed, and 7 wounded. The blaze was brought under control some eight hours later, around midnight, and the ship limped into Leyte on the 6th of December 1944. No list of casualties from that attack has been found. Private First Class James F. Robertson who had previously served with Sircy in Company M was also killed in the attack.
Sircy was born 2 December 1920, in Jackson County Tennessee. He joined the Kentucky National Guard‘s Company M, 149th Infantry in Russellville, Logan County on 28 December 1940 and went onto active duty with his unit on 17 January 1941. According to his enlistment records he had completed high school and was a farmer. Sircy was awarded the Purple Heart.
Sircy has an in memory of stone in the Greenwood Cemetery, Adairville, Logan County, Kentucky. His name is also appears on the “Tablets of the Missing,” Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippine Islands.
Sircy’s older brother, 2LT Athan Lionel Sircy, died of wounds in Germany on 27 December 1944 while serving with the Headquarters Service Company Infantry of the 31st Tank Battalion, 7th Armored Division. He had enlisted on active duty on October 15 1939 and does not appear to have had any Kentucky National Guard connection.