Kenneth Joseph Capistrand, US Navy 3rd Class E-4
Kenneth was born on the 12th of May 1918 and was the son of Napoleon Capistrand 1893-1936, a wood worker at that time, and Priscilla Ward 1897-1974 (Ward is the anglicization of the French name Guerin) Priscilla later remarried to Clarence Bixby in 1938 after the death of Napoleon. At this time the family was living at 269 Riverside Ave in Burlington with sons Kenneth and his 1 year younger brother Stanley Leo Capistrand. Kenneth graduated from Nazareth Elementary school in 1933 and from Cathedral High school in 1937 in Burlington. In the 1940 census, which was enumerated on the 4th of April, we find Kenneth at the US Naval Training Station in Newport, RI.
Kenneth’s brother was Stanley Leo Capistrand (#212-51-29) and he also joined the US Navy. He enlisted on 11 Apr 1939 and on the 30 Jun 1941 Muster Roll we see both Kenneth and Stanley on the USS SIMS (#409). Stanley has boarded the SIMS on 1 Aug 1939 and Kenneth on 5 Apr 1940, just 8 months later. However, on the 30 Aug 1941 Muster Roll, Stanley was not aboard. A later headline: Chief Hospital Corpsman Stanley Leo Capistrand was a crew member of the aircraft carrier, USS BENNINGTON (CVA-20), cruising in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. On May 26, 1954, a launching catapult exploded killing him and 101 fellow crewmen. Chief Hospital Corpsman Capistrand was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. Data Source: Korean War Veterans Honor Roll.
Kenneth enlisted in the US Navy on the 23rd of January in 1940 at Springfield, MA. and he was assigned the service number of 212-54-43. He reported onboard the USS SIMS #409 on 5 APR 1940 and was onboard from the Inter-War Period until the ship was sunk.
After shakedown training in the Caribbean and post-shakedown availability in the Boston Navy Yard, Sims joined the Atlantic Squadron at Norfolk, Virginia on 2 August 1940. The destroyer operated with the Neutrality Patrol in Caribbean and South Atlantic waters. In November–December 1940, Sims patrolled off Martinique. On 28 May 1941, the ship arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, and began operating from there. She sailed for Iceland on 28 July with an American task force. In August, the destroyer patrolled the approaches to Iceland. In September–October, the ship made two North Atlantic patrols. Sims had been attached to Destroyer Squadron 2 (DesRon 2) since she began making Neutrality Patrols.
World War II
With the outbreak of war on 7 December 1941, DesRon 2 became part of Task Force 17 (TF17) formed around [Yorktown](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Yorktown_(CV-5%29 "USS Yorktown (CV-5)"). The task force sortied from Norfolk on 16 December 1941 for San Diego, California. From there, it sailed as part of a convoy taking Marines to Samoa, arriving on 23 January 1942.
At the time, it was believed that the Japanese would attack Samoa to sever Allied communications with Australia. To thwart such a move, a carrier raid against Japanese bases in the Marshall Islands was planned. The Yorktown task force was to strike the islands of Mili, Jaluit, and [Makin](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makin_(islands%29 "Makin (islands)"), while another force centered on [Enterprise](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Enterprise_(CV-6%29 "USS Enterprise (CV-6)") was to hit Kwajalein, Wotje, and Maloelap.
TF 17 departed Samoa on 25 January, with Sims in the screen. At 1105 on 28 January, she sighted an enemy bomber. At 1114, a stick of four bombs fell approximately 1,500 yards astern, straddling the wake of the destroyer. The next day, the two carrier forces and a bombardment group attacked the islands and withdrew.
Sims, with TF 17, sailed from Pearl Harbor on 16 February to attack Wake Island. Shortly after departing, their sailing orders were changed, and they proceeded to the Canton Island area. Canton is a small island on the Honolulu-New Caledonia air route, and it was thought to be endangered by the Japanese.
By early March, the Japanese had occupied Lae and Salamaua on the north coast of New Guinea. To check this drive, a carrier strike was launched on 10 March from [Lexington](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Lexington_(CV-2%29 "USS Lexington (CV-2)") and Yorktown. Sims remained near Rossel Island in the Louisiade Archipelago with a force of [cruisers](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruiser_(warship%29 "Cruiser (warship)") and destroyers to protect the carriers from enemy surface ships. Sims next operated in the New Caledonia-Tonga Islands area.
Battle of The Coral Sea
In late April 1942, a Japanese task force was assembled to begin operations in support of Japanese moves towards Australia. This consisted of a covering group to protect landing forces on Tulagi and Port Moresby and a striking force to eliminate Allied shipping in the Coral Sea. Shōhō was attached to the covering force, and Shōkaku and Zuikaku were the striking force under command of Admiral Takeo Takagi. The American ships were divided into task forces centered on Lexington and Yorktown. Sims was ordered to escort [USS Neosho](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Neosho_(AO-23%29 "USS Neosho (AO-23)"). The task force refueled on 5–6 May and then detached Neosho and Sims to continue to the next fueling point.
On the morning of 7 May, a search plane from the Japanese striking force sighted the oiler and destroyer and reported them to Admiral Takagi as a carrier and a cruiser. Takagi ordered an all-out attack. At 0930, 15 high level bombers attacked the two ships but did no damage. At 1038, 10 attacked the destroyer, but skillful maneuvering evaded the nine bombs that were dropped. A third attack against the two ships by 36 Val dive bombers was devastating. Neosho was soon a blazing wreck as the result of seven direct hits and one plane that dived into her.
Sims was attacked from all directions. The destroyer defended herself as best she could. Three 250 kilograms (550 lb) bombs hit the destroyer. Two exploded in the engine room, and within minutes, the ship buckled amidships and began to sink, stern first. As Sims slid beneath the waves, there was a tremendous explosion that raised what was left of the ship almost 15 feet out of the water. Chief R. J. Dicken, in a damaged whaleboat, picked up 15 other survivors. They remained with Neosho until they were rescued by [Henley](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Henley_(DD-391%29 "USS Henley (DD-391)") on 11 May. Sims was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 24 June 1942.
Burlington Free Press 4 Aug 1942: Petty Officer Frenette, who was assigned to the ship NEOSHO at the battle of Coral Sea, observed a lad on the USS Destroyer SIMS tossing powder cans to his buddies in the sea so they might have something to float on. That boy, he found out, was Kenneth J. Capistrand.
(1) https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/188786018/kenneth-j-capistrand At Queensland Australia
Death 7 May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea Memorial Park Cardwell, Cassowary Coast Region, Queensland, Australia Inscription
USS SIMS - DD-409 - IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO PERISHED DURING THE BATTLE OF THE CORAL SEA - 7TH MAY 1942 - SIT TIBI MARE LIBIS - (LIGHT LIE THE SEA UPON THEE)
(2) https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56781546 DEATH 8 May 1943 (?) (aged 24) At Sea NOTE: This date is incorrect and should be 7 May 1942. J. R Fisher 7/23/2020
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial - Tablets of the Missing
Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines
(3) [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Sims_(DD-409)](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Sims_(DD-409%29) Inter-War Period and Battle of the Coral Sea
This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories? Related to this, there will be a smart phone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen's name and read his/her story.