In Memory of
US Navy Signalman Third Class
Doyle Marion Chambers
Brookings, South Dakota
Brookings County
October 2, 1919-May 19, 1945
Died of Wounds near Okinawa

Doyle Marion Chambers

Marion Doyle Chambers, known as “Buster” to his family and friends, was born on October 2, 1919, in Brookings, South Dakota.  The second of four sons and a daughter born to George Louis Chambers and Muriel Emily (Felton) Chambers, Buster’s father’s sudden and untimely death in 1933 from complications after an emergency appendectomy left his mother a widow with five children ranging from 3 to 15 years of age.  Buster (13), older brother George Wyman (15), and their mother went to work to support the family, since they had been forced to leave their farm near Bushnell and move in with relatives in Brookings.  Younger brother Earl Wendell soon quit school and found work to help support the family, too, ensuring that their sister, Bernita June and baby brother Robert Willis (Bobby) would be able to graduate.

By World War II, Doyle was working at Moxon’s Dairy outside of Brookings, an occupation that exempted him from the draft.  Feeling the need to do his part, however, he traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he enlisted in the Navy as Doyle Marion Chambers on March 6, 1943.  At the time, he was engaged to Nellie Peterson.  His initial training was at the Naval Training Station, Farragut, Idaho; then he was transferred to the Naval Training School in Los Angeles, California, on June 10, 1943; and finally, on October 4, 1943, he was transferred to RecShip, San Francisco, California, completing school as a “striker” with a score of 89.4%.  On December 4, 1943, Signalman Third Class Doyle Chambers went aboard the USS Longshaw (DD-559).  Starting in September 1944, the USS Longshaw experienced a long, illustrious career of hard-fought battles in the water surrounding the Philippine Islands.  On the morning of May 18, 1945, following a grueling 4-day period of fire support, the USS Longshaw (DD-559) ran aground on a coral reef off Okinawa.  As the USS Arikara attempted to tow the ship off the reef, Japanese shore batteries opened fire.  The stranded destroyer attempted to fight back, but her bow was completely blown off by a hit in the forward magazine.  Of the 313 men on board, 76 were killed or missing in action; an additional 106 were wounded and 9 later died of their injuries.

It was first thought SM3c Chambers died on May 20, but it was later learned that he was taken aboard the USS Crescent City, a hospital ship based off-shore in Okinawa, and died of his wounds on May 19, 1945.  His original burial was at the Island Command Cemetery, Okinawa, Ryuku Islands, and he was later reburied at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.  For his service to his country, SM3c Doyle Marion Chamber received the Purple Heart, the American Defense Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.  His sister, Bernita Chambers Morrison, who also lost her husband Second Lieutenant Donald S.  Morrison, in Europe on March 19, 1944, wrote a tribute to her brother in January, 1995:

He’s the brother who ‘rescued’ me
From the camp where I didn’t want to be, 
And when the snow was deep, the weather so cold, 
He helped me buy a new winter coat to replace the old;
He bought my class ring, so important to me,
So just like my girlfriends I would be. 
And when I married, what would it be? 
A Better Home and Gardens Cookbook for Don and me.
 (I still use it often, and think as I do,
No one ever had a better brother than you!)

Bernita honored her husband and brother by naming her daughters Donita and Doylanne.  Current survivors of SM3c Doyle Chambers include his brothers Wyman (San Jose, CA), Earl (Greenwood, CA), and Bob (Scottsdale, PA), and his sister Bernita (Sutter Creek, CA), plus fifteen nephews and nieces and their families.

Doyle Marion Chambers, headstone

This entry was respectfully submitted by Michelle Erickson 8th Grade, Brandon Valley Middle School, Brandon, South Dakota, May 30, 2002.  Information for this entry was provided by Mrs. Donita Morrison Troglio, Los Altos, California, niece of Signalman Third Class Doyle Marion Chambers.  Additional information for this entry was researched in the Brookings Register by Grace Linn, Brookings, South Dakota.