Artwork > Nerves on Fire: Reflections on WWII

Violation of the Comfort, 2012

Acrylic on panel
18" x 24"

On April 28, 1945, the USS Hospital Ship Comfort, carrying a full load of patients, was underway to Guam from Okinawa. As designated by the Geneva Convention, the Comfort was fully illuminated with painted Red Crosses and did not carry weapons, as missions of mercy would not require them.

That night, at 2041 hours under a bright, full moon, a Japanese Kamikaze made two passes over the ship before crashing into the Comfort, using the starboard Red Cross as a target.

The Japanese felt that the Geneva Convention "did not apply" to them. They considered hospital ships to be "repair ships" that returned wounded men back to the fighting front and, therefore, justifiable targets.

The Causality Report included 29 killed, 47 wounded, and 1 missing.