Into the Pacific

November 14, 1944

Crossing the equator hazing


"We crossed the Equator on the 10th.   I'll never forget that day as long aAncient Order of the Deep certification for crossing the equator.s I live.  No, Sir!  It doesn't matter where we crossed the Equator, but we did cross it.  I'll get a certificate stating that I entered the 'Royal Domain' and was promptly (after a slight rebellion) passed thru the ceremony of being changed from a non-thriving polywog into a 'Royal' shellback.  We spent long hours wondering what would happen.   Here is the schedule: we had a small water fight, then were beaten with socks about as long as a stocking and stuffed with rags (didn't hurt much), then were hauled into the presence of Old King Neptune.  He had his bride along.  When we were before him, he condemned us to the anxious men awaiting us.  We were told to step on a board, told it was lifted 6 feet high off the ground (deck).  As it was only lifted 6 inches, and since we were blind-folded, lots of us fell off.  We next visited the doctor, who squirted oil on us, and made us eat a pickle.  We visited the 'Royal Barber' who gave a real trim.  I looked queer without any hair."

November 18, 1944

November 25, 1944

November 29, 1944
Espiritu Santo,
New Hebrides
"I have the 6-8 watch, then 4-8 in the morning.  I have seen enough moonLone sailor looking out to sealight on the water to last a lifetime.  One has plenty of time to think, too.  It is so lonely away out here."

"It is a lonely life I lead, chipping paint one day,  next standing watch in the rain. We are due to see our next stop about three days from now."

"We reached Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, the 28th.  Got pictures from home.  Did they look good!  This business isn't like the movies, I'll say.  It isn't cold.  We have plenty to eat if we were hungry. (There are only two LST's crossing together on this trip.)"

December 3, 1944 "We are on our way to Manus, in the Admiralty Is.  ... I heard the Army-Navy game today.  It is now 7:30 P.M. and I am listening to the 'Hour of Charm'.  Have the 8-12 watch again."

December 10, 1944
Admiralty Islands

"We are now in Manus.  We just keep up the ship's work .... Heard that O. E. Williams, an old friend, is missing."

December 13, 1944 "I was on small boat crew today, and went on a trip to the mainland."

December 19, 1944 "We are due to leave for Hollandia.  I wonder what the folks at home are doing about Christmas."

December 24, 1944
New Guinea

"We are at Hollandia, New Guinea.  We have the afternoon off and I will hunt a shady spot.  It is very warm down here."

December 29, 1944 "The mail is brought in here by ship and large planes.  It has gathered until it is piled up 6x8 ft high, because of no outlet. There has been very little activity, but things are continually on the move.   Things may pick up before long and I can't write home about it!"

January 1, 1945 "Happy New Year??  I haven't had it as hard as lots of other fellows, but I imagine it will be getting rough soon.  We will be leaving for Leyte.  Then, we'll see.  There was a beautiful moon the other night."

January 3, 1945 "Mess duty... my new job!   One Ensign and I have thoughts we don't dare speak aloud."

January 13, 1945 "Well, the Amphibs have entered Luzon, but the war may go on for two years, even at that.  We have been issued our suits of green and the green helmit.  Being on mess duty has kept me from using mine yet."

January 15, 1945
Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
"The natives are not so bad looking, but they must have faired pretty badly while the Japs were here.  When you ask them what they think of the Japs, they run their finger under their throats, from ear to ear!  They wear clothes made over from old Army or Navy uniforms."

January 20, 1945
Samar, Philippines
"Mother mailed me a paper clipping, showing some LSTs on a beach.  Well, imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw 202 just across the way.  The paper picture had been made back in November, in the Philippines.  I've got a toothache so bad - think I'll go nuts."

January 22, 1945 "No more toothache now.  I got permission to go ashore and the dentist, with one of those old fashioned chairs, pulled it."

February 6, 1945 "No mail for 53 days.  We are weighing anchor today for Sansapor."

February 15, 1945
New Guinea
Close call with the enemy.
"We are being towed by a navy tug.   It is a good-looking ship, fast as well as strong.  There isn't much room, but plenty of men.  The reason for our being towed is we made a bad beaching on the 12th and the waves nearly ruined us before we could get pulled off.  Only two things could have made it worse; a storm or an air raid, ... P.M.  The latter happened!  The Japs came over, intending to get us but the tug opened fire and then Uncle Sam's buzz boys came along and ran those Japs."

March 20, 1945
to Biak Island
then Woendie Island
then Manus,
Admiralty Islands
"We went to Biak and then were towed on to Woendie Island, the 18th.  Here we sat for a month and watched the world go by.  Also for our mail to catch up with us.  We've had liberty parties and some mail.  Also, the rating of S 1/C finally caught up with me to begin March 1st.  We have left Woendie and are being towed over to Manus, where we will go on dry-dock.   God has certainly looked after us and I am thankful."

March 24, 1945
Admiralty Islands

April 1, 1945
The ship is attacked.
"We have arrived at Manus."LST596 in port


"Did not get to attend the sunrise service but went to the one after chow.  Easter Sunday!  What I'd give to be home now.  I was on duty, 0100 when the dock became the object and direct hits were scored by the Japs.   I was on top of the dock and recognized a TBF plane, American, and painted black.   He was too low and as I looked he let go on the end of the dock, nearly got the big crane-boom.  I ran to board the ship; loaded two clips and was ready for him if he returned, but I heard later that our planes got him.  We were loaded with explosives and #700 was on the other side, also loaded, so if that hit had been closer, I would have never written this."

April 4, 1945 "We came out here, (Gunnery Range), for a week of instruction.  We were assigned to a small hut, which holds eight; there are seven of us, so we are not crowded.  We are at liberty from four P.M. to seven-thirty A.M..  Last night I went to a movie at the 'Palm Loma' theater, ten miles away.  It was the best looking theater I've been in since I joined the navy (that is free!).  It is beautiful out here and quiet.  The sun comes up around six-thirty, from behind the mountains and if a fellow stops to think, he realizes what beauty God has put into this world.  The birds are like parrots, all colors.   I am really thankful for these few days, they seem like a nice rest, after what we have been through."

April 5, 1945 "We went out on the range, but the rains came and we had to come back.  Have been asleep.  One more day here and then 'back to the grind'."

April 10, 1945 "(12:30 P.M.)  The mail caught up with us once more!  I have about 50 letters and some Xmas packages.   Have looked for Jack all over the place; think he was here in February.  (6:00 P.M.)  I've just returned from a small boat trip, went into the stores and made a few purchases.  I'd hate to have to land a plane in or on the waves we came through, not over, as we came back.  We returned early because the crew didn't like the lousy USO show.  I am doing O.K. in this small boat crew, also, in semophore and blinkers, yet am still 'on the force'.  No ratings yet."

April 27, 1945 "(2:00 P.M.)  I am hot and dirty.  We have another small boat now and have to make two or three trips a day.   Coming back last night, the moonlight was terrific about midnight.  Must have been a full moon.  We hear there'll be a lot going on down in Borneo soon.   Wonder what the score will be?"

May 3, 1945 "(4:00 P.M.)  War news sounds good.  The scenery changes so much out here, you can't tell one thing from another.   Between the occasional rains, I'm getting a nice tan.  I've lost my two upper wisdom teeth, also."

May 17, 1945 "(7:00 P.M.)  Bob is out there on Okinawa.  I hope and pray he'll come out O.K.  Tomorrow is my birthday, twenty years old!  I've been thinking about things I've done, things left undone, things I hope to do, and wonder?  The other night a mate and I went ashore; caught a Jap; met two nurses.  We talked shop for awhile, then returned to ship."

May 18, 1945
Tom's 20th Birthday

"We are weighing anchor for Hollandia.  We have a compliment of three signal men and one striker.  The first are rated first, second and third class, so unless one is transferred, I don't get on the bridge."

May 20, 1945
New Guinea

"We are on the way to Subic, Luzon."
May 31, 1945
Subic, Luzon, Philippines
"Subic is a small town of about 6,000, mostly natives.  I had the duty, so was on the trip with theRickshaw in Subic, Luzon Captain when we went ashore.  There haven't been any raids here for some time, so the fleet will get liberty from 5 P.M. until ten P.M.  The women the Japs left are sick.   The scenery is pretty; the tall and uneven mountains have a rose red background.   The air is quiet and almost all signs of battle are stilled, where not long ago enemy planes were disturbing the peace.  In fact, everything is so quiet, you wouldn't know that a battle rages a few hundred miles away."


Next Page

A WWII Voyage
Page 1

Busy Bees in the Pacific
Page 3

Page 4

China and Japan
Page 5

End of the Journey
Page 6

More Photos
Page 7

More Photos
Page 8

More Photos
Page 9