Navy Seaman Victor A. Perez
, son of Irma Gonzalez and Victor Perez, both of New Port Richey, who is assigned aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis,
homeported in San Diego, transited the Surigao Strait, a narrow passageway between the Mindanao and Leyte islands of the Philippines.
Perez and other sailors took a brief pause during routine operations to pay tribute to the historical significance of the passage and to the sailors who gave their lives in defense of freedom during the battle in these waters during World War II.
During the Battle of the Surigao Strait, Oct 23-26, 1944, the Japanese Imperial Navy, which then occupied the Central Philippines, led an assault on U.S. ships supporting the Allied invasion of Leyte Gulf. U.S Rear Adm. Jesse B. Oldendorf, commander of U. S. 7th Fleet, was tasked with stopping the Japanese attack. With the help of Allied forces, Oldendorf reduced the Japanese forces to half. The remaining Japanese battleship fleet retreated after seeing the burning wreckage of the defeated Imperial battleships.
The Battle of Surigao Strait severely weakened the Japanese fleet, allowing the allied forces to successfully defend the ground invasion of the Philippines, setting the stage for invasion of Okinawa.
Perez, a 2008 graduate of J. W. Mitchell High School, joined the Navy in July 2012.
The West Pasco Democratic Club will hold an installation of officers during its monthly meeting today at the Jasmine Lakes Civic Center in Port Richey. Officers being installed for a two-year term are: Marguerite “Maggie” Koons
, president; June Keener
, vice president; James Simons
, secretary and Alice Donovan