Richard M. Blood (1942/05/07)

Richard awaited rescue from a life raft that arrived too late.

Richard M. Blood was born on January 25, 1922, in San Jose, California, to Mr. and Mrs. (Maude) Blood. Little is known of his parents and siblings. Richard enrolled in Santa Cruz High School in the fall of 1937 and was active in swimming and other sports. The SCHS Service Cardinal also noted "On October 26, 1938, Richard Blood moved to Los Angeles where he completed his education."

In 1939 Blood enlisted in the US Navy and began basic training at the US Naval Training Center in San Diego. After additional instruction, he became a Yeoman. By 1942 Richard Blood had risen to the rank of Yeoman Second Class and been assigned to the USS Neosho, a cargo and refueling ship. Petty Officer Blood was with the Neosho when it met its end during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

As the American and Japanese fleets sought each other out in the opening maneuvers of the climactic Battle of the Coral Sea on 6 May 1942, Neosho fueled Yorktown (CV-5) and Astoria (CA-34), then retired from the carrier force with a lone escort, Sims (DD-409). Next day at 10:00, Japanese aircraft spotted the two ships, and believing them to be a carrier and her escort, launched the first of two attacks which sank Sims and left Neosho, victim of 7 direct hits and a suicide dive by one of the bombers. Ablaze aft and in danger of breaking in two, she had shot down at least 3 of the attackers. Superb seamanship and skilled damage control work kept Neosho afloat for the next four days. The sorely stricken ship was first located by an RAAF aircraft, then by an American PBY Catalina. At 13:00, 11 May, Henley (DD-391) arrived to rescue the 123 survivors and to sink by gunfire, the ship they had so valiantly kept alive against impossible odds.

Richard M. Blood was not among those survivors. He is reported to have died on a sixty-eight-man life raft while awaiting rescue. His body was turned over to the sea and he is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery.

(ABMC; SCHSC, pg. 5; WIKI, USS Neosho; Del's,
USS Neosho at Coral Sea, List of Survivors and Casualties http://
survivors_and_casualties.htm, [16 September 2008])

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1940s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art and History.
Identifier: RO-BLOOD


Nelson, Robert L. “Richard M. Blood (1942/05/07).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. Accessed 16 June 2024.