January 1945

January 1, 1945 – Monday.  HAPPY NEW YEAR’S DAY.  Beached at LCRB #2, Russell Islands, Solomon Islands. At 5:10 am this morning we welcomed aboard Commander R.Q. Rankin. Once aboard we sailed over to Pavuvu, the other large Island here the the Russell Group, where we loaded men aboard from the first Battalion, First Marines, 1st Division with orders to deliver them to Guadalcanal.  We departed at about 10am and arrived at Tetere Beach and unloaded the men by 4pm.  We immediately returned to The Russell Islands and put Commander R.Q. Rankin ashore just before midnight.

January 2, 1945 – Tuesday to Wednesday. In port all day. Wednesday.  Pretty much a repeat of Monday.  We again we picked up marines at Pavuvu, delivered them to Guadalcanal and returned by 11:00 pm.

January 4-5, 1945 – Thursday to Friday. In port all day.  Another repeat of Monday only this time our passengers are from the 3rd Battalion, First Marines. We loaded 178 men of Headquarters Company and again delivered them to Guadalcanal, returning to LCRB #2 by 10:30 pm.

January 6-9, 1945 – Saturday to Wednesday.  Russell Islands. We remained in port all day Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  I wrote a letter home on Tuesday.

Letter Home 1.9.1945

The captain and the officers are the only ones on board ship who is allowed to have cameras on board ship.  He has taken some pictures and given them to me to send home.  I thought that was pretty nice of him.

January  10, 1945 – Wednesday.   Today two of our crew transfered off the ship to the commander of LCI Group 15.  They were Angelo T. Restaino Boatsman’s Mate Second Class, and Charles R. Henderson SM2c.  Angelo is a short guy from Brooklyn and built like a refrigerator.  He is alway somehow in a fight!  He is the toughest little guy on the ship, maybe the toughest guy I’ve ever met!  I have been on this ship longer than either of those men.  Angelo came on board barely a month ago and Charlie came on last August.  By now I have been on board this tin can a full 9 months!  When you think about it, I could have had a baby by now except … well, never mind.

January 11-15, 1945 – Thursday to Monday.  Today we sailed over to Guadalcanal where we took on 158 men from the Americal Division, US Army.  These are replacements headed for Bougainville.  By 6pm we were loaded and ready to sail.  We sailed through the night passing Murray Island, Rendova Island and Treasury Island, enroute.  By 2:30 pm, Saturday, we reached Empress Agusta Bay, Bougainville Island, and unloaded at Torokina beach in between LCT914 and LCT314.  At 4pm, with our passengers now unloaded, we took on 17 Navy Causals from Naval Advance Base (NAB) 158.  Once aboard we moved out into the bay and dropped anchor awaiting orders to move out.  By 6pm we were underway to return to Kukum Beach on Guadalcanal which we reached Monday at noon.  While beached there F.J. Haversack, Seaman 2nd class, transferred to Fleet Hospital No. 108. After 5 days at sea we welcomed a couple of hours of liberty ashore but we were back by 10:00 pm when taps were sounded.

January 16-20, 1945 – Tuesday to Saturday.  Kukum Beach, Guadalcanal.  We pulled off the beach this morning with one army casual passenger aboard and headed for Green Beach, Tulagi Harbor, Florida Island just North of Guadalcanal.  There we dispatched working parties to fetch supplies and provisions.  Our cook, Joseph W. Champagne transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital No. 7.  I guess his cooking made him sick.  Just kidding.  A lot of guys are starting to come down with malaria.  This horrible affliction is running rampent down here.  By 5:45 pm we were ready to head back to sea.  This time we are headed back to Bougainville to bring more men back to Guadalcanal.  We sailed through the night passing Savo, Cape Esperance, and Pavuvu before midnight.  Before dawn we passed Murray Island, at just after sunrise we sited Gatukai Island.  We continued on course for Bougainville and by noon we had reached Tetepare and Rendova by 2:00 pm.  By 3:oo am Tuesday morning we reached Treasury Island and at noon we beached at Torokina, on Bougainville Island where we took on 182 men and 10 officers of the Americal Division.  Once loaded we pulled away from shore and anchored awaiting orders to sail. We got underway at 5:40 pm and began our return home.  We sailed through the night and all day Friday and on Saturday morning at 9:00 am we beached at #17, Kukum Beach, Guadalcanal where all troops gladly went ashore. After lunch a new group of 198 enlisted men and 1 officer came aboard. These men are of Base Cargo No. 32. These men are headed for the Russell Islands which we reached by 6 pm.  We beached there and a liberty party went ashore, glad to be back for a little rest after some 9 full days at sea.

January 21, 1945 – Sunday. Early this morning, just after sunrise, Kenneth G. McDonald, Fireman 1st Class, came back to the ship today, reporting in from LCRB #2 sick bay.  After morning colors Scuttle Butt and a refrigerator were brought aboard. A scuttle butt is a naval keg of water around which sailors would congregate to talk, thus giving rise to the slang word ‘scuttlebutt’ or gossip. It is a Navy term. The butt of water was ‘scuttled’- that is, holed so that water could be drawn from it.  A ‘butt’ is a large cask usually the equivalent of 126 U.S. gallons. Butts were used for shipping liquids like ale and for water storage aboard ship. On larger ships with 300 to 500 sailors a butt would need to be opened frequently even when ‘short rations’ were ordered. We are happy to have a refrigerator.  We had very little cold food, and never had anything like ice cream or anything like that.  In spite of the heat I got used to it and have really learned to love hot weather since I have been down here.  In the afternoon we took on fresh water and the snappy looking sub chaser, PC588, pulled away from our side.  In the evening a liberty party went ashore.

January 22, 1945 – Monday.  We remained beached at LCRB #2.  Today was routine.  A working party came aboard with supplies and a plumber ame aboard to install a washing machine.  I found time to write a letter home to thank my mother for sending me a new wallet that arrived today in the mail along with a bunch of letters from home. I told her the story of how I saw my best friend, John Carson, here the other day.  I found out he was on a supply ship but by the time we located him we had to pull out.  The captain was good enough to take me close enough to his ship that I got to yell to him and wish him good luck and he the same back to me.  What a surprise!

Letter Home 1.22.1945

Since John is on a supply ship he gets around quite a bit.  We got each other into this Navy mess in the first place.  We actually enlisted together and thought we would go to war together.  We did go as far as Farragut, Idaho boot camp together but we were separated then.  I haven’t seen him for about a year.  He was a better looking guy than me even though we both have blonde hair.  John is just a little bit more on the wild side than I am, if thats possible.  (After the war I looked him up.  He was living in Utah, married and remained there the rest of his life. He died about 2008)

January 23-26, 1945 – Tuesday to Friday.  At 7:30 this morning we got a temporary assistant cook to help out in Champagne’s absence.  His name is W.R. Jackson Ships Cook 3rd class. Wednesday we pulled out of Renard Sound and headed over to Guadalcanal where we took on 135 men and two officers of the 454 Amphibious Truck company (353 Duck Co, US Army).  We had them loaded by 10pm at by 2:00 am Thursday morning we retracted from the beach and set sail for the Russell Islands.  We passed Cape Esperance or the Northwest tip of Guadalcanal at 4 am.  By morning we arrived at the Russell Islands and unloaded our passengers at 10:00 am at Merquitte Bay, Pavuvu, Russell Islands. We beached there at White Beach No. 5 awaiting 150 enlisted men and 6 officers of the 3rd Armored Amphibious Battalion, Company A, to come aboard.  At 5:22 pm we retracted from the beach and sailed a few miles up to Renard Sound to take on fuel.  We in two hours we on-loaded 13,550 gallons of fuel from the fuel barge and then got underway for Guadalcanal.  At 5:55 am we beached, unloaded, and headed back to Pavuvu where we beached and spent Friday night.

January 27-28, 1945 – Saturday to Sunday.  At 6am we loaded 239 men and 6 officers of the “A” company, 1st Batallion, 7th Marines with orders to take them to Tetere Beach, Guadalcanal, which we did.  We arrived there at 2:30 and the troops disembarked.  We remained there for the night and a liberty party went ashore. On Sunday morning at 6am we loaded 213 enlisted men and 11 officers of the Regimental Weapons Company, Fifth Marines, 1st Marine Divsion and embarked for Pavuvu.  We arrived there at 3:30 pm and unloaded the men and remained there for the night.

January 29-30, 1945 – Monday to Tuesday. This morning we sailed from Pavuvu where we took on 174 troops and 12 officers  from the Marine Service Battery, 1st Division, and took them to Guadalcanal where we beached for the night at Tetere Beach.  We loaded  more troops and returned to Pavuvu by 2:00 pm. Three new sailors joined our crew today.  They are Lesly J. Laramore, Seaman 1st class, Jesse Gregory, Seaman 2nd Class and Stephen Podolak, Seaman 2nd Class.  They got on board at Pavuvu.  After they were on board with their gear we sailed back to LCRB#2.  At 7:20 this evening Wayne R. Jackson Ships Cook 3rd class was transferred to LCI(L)223.

January 31, 1945 – Tuesday.  We remained in port today. Another month behind me.  I’ve spent 9 full months now in the beautiful Solomon Islands. I’ve grown up a lot.  I’ve learned a lot.  I’m sure that much more lies ahead before I can return home.