Honor Roll – Seaman First Class Reuben Donovan

Seaman 1st Class Reuben Donovan, undated photo

Seaman Reuben Donovan (5/24/1915 – 4/6/1945), son of farmer Enoch Donovan and Martha Steelman Donovan, was a husband and father of four when he was inducted into the Navy in 1943. Prior to his induction, he worked on highway road crews while wife Phoebe Coffin Donovan worked in a basket factory.

From May 1944 onward, he served aboard the U.S.S. Newcomb (DD-586) in the Pacific theater. The Newcomb, while off Iejima (sometime spelled Ie Shima) in the Ryukyu archipelago, was attacked by multiple Japanese aircraft and hit at least 5 times, including once by a kamikaze that rammed into the ship. The toll for the attack was 18 killed, 25 missing, and 64 wounded. These two sentences do not begin to describe the ferocious struggle for survival against Japanese air attacks that lasted for hours and nearly sank the destroyer. Only the tenacity of the crew, determined to prevent the ship from sinking, ultimately saved her.

Reuben was among the 18 KIA in these attacks. He had served in the Navy for one year and three months at the time of his death.

Funeral services were held for him on April 13, 1949 in Milton, with both the American Legion Post #20 and the V. F. W. post participating. He was buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery on Union Street.