LT (jg) DV(G) John Thomas S. Och, USNR, was a graduate of Navy Bomb Disposal Class #14. While serving onboard the USS SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25) he was reported to have washed overboard during a storm on 25 October 1944. On that day at 1756, the cruiser was travelling at 15 knots and turned into the wind. LT(jg) Och was swept over the port side abreast of Turret I after heavy sea broke over the forecastle. . The accident was not realized for several minutes after it occurred. Also injured in the incident was ENS A-VN R.E. Sheffer, 364067, USNR; ENS D.F. Groth, 389615, USN; and S3c John A. Bautz, 9211258, USNR.
The ships position at the time, determined from a celestial fix at 1844 hours, was latitude 13o46’.1 N, longitude 129o05’ E, bearing 074o(t) distance 241 miles from Cape Espiritu Santo, Samar Island, Philippines. A nearby destroyer was dispatched to assist the search at 1750 hours. At 1806 hours the an additional cruiser was detached to assist the search at low speed for 20 minutes in vicinity of the accident. At 1905 hours, darkness forced the search to be abandoned. LT(jg) Och was presumed drowned.
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