February 1945

February 1-4, 1945 – Thursday – Sunday.  We remain tied to an oil barge, moored a Landing Craft Repair Base #2, Renard Sound, Russell Islands, Solomon Islands.  On Friday we were finally able to pull away from the side of the stinking barge and we beached at Blue Beach near by where we loaded up 235 men of the 29th Replacement Group, 6th Division Marines.  After loading up we retracted and set course for Guadalcanal where we beached at Doma Cove cove named ‘Birch’ between beacon Q and R with LST 175 on our port side.  Doma Cove is the place where “Bessie the Jap Basher” crashed back in 1942. Bessie was a B-17E Flying Fortress that wrecked here. According to the official report, “On September 24, 1942, this B-17E, named Bessie Jap Basher was attacked by Japanese Zeros on a mission over the Shortland Islands. It was severely damaged and on the way back to Guadalcanal crashed in water about 100 yards off Doma Cove. Evidently the Japanese fighters pursued it to the point where it crashed. The pilot was Lt. Charles E. Norton and the other crew were 1st Lt. Bruce B.S. Barker, 1st Lt. Leo M. Eminger, S/Sgt. Peter F. Novak, S/Sgt. William L. Hotard, S/Sgt. Fred S. Croyle, Sgt. Bruce W. Osborne, Sgt. James R. Mathewson and Pfc Edward A. Carroll.”  We unloaded our crew at Doma Cove and then proceded on to Tetere Beach where we spent the next couple of days awaiting further assignment.  On Saturday, while I was there at Tetere Beach, Guadalcanal, waiting, I wrote this letter home wishing the whole time that I could share more information with my mother but afraid if I did that my letter would be censured. Here is what I had to say:

Letter Home 2/3/1945

February 5, 1945 – Monday.  Tetere Beach.  At 7:30 this morning we started taking on the Marines of “K” Company, Third Division of the Seventh Marines aboard consisting of 5 officers and about 200 enlisted men.  We took them to Pavuvu Island, Macquitt Bay, Russell Islands where the troops went ashore.   This is a little different part of The Russell Islands than I usually get to see.  The Repair Base is in Renard Sound which is on the other large island. The time being 4:30 pm we decided to remain here for the night so we tied off starboard side to LCI(L)329 and a liberty party got to go ashore.

February 6-7, 1945 – Tuesday – Wednesday.  Pavuvu to Renard Sound.  At 8am we had morning colors and then made speed for Renard Sound, arriving there by 10:40 am.  We moored along starboard side of YOG 13.  Joseph W. Champagne reported aboard for duty from Base Hospital No. 7, Tulagi.  He has been sick since last month. In the afternoon we made our way to another position in the Sound, mooring alongside LCI(L)336 where we remained for the night and all day Wednesday.

We received our mail today.  I haven’t heard from my Brother, Dean, in quite a while.  He is also in the war and out here somewhere but I’m not sure exactly where he is.  My oldest brother’s son, Michael, wrote to me.  My oldest brother’s name is Reed.  He is 10 years older than I am so he would be about 30.  He is the self appointed head of the family since dad is away most of the time and my folks are separated, but he hardly ever writes to me.

Letter Home 2/17/1945 - Click on the letter to read the whole thing

February 8, 1945 – Thursday. Renard Sound.  CAPTAIN’S MAST.  Another Captain’s Mast was held today.  This is the second one since I have been on board.  This time the offense wasn’t quite as serious as before.  McKinley Howard Willis, Seaman 1st Class, was found guilty of improper standing of watch.  His punishment was an extra 30 hours of duty.  I guess he won’t be falling asleep at his post again!

February 9, 1945 – Friday.  Renard Sound.  We were able to move into the beach at LCRB #2 today where we moored along side USS YMS269, a mine sweeper.

YMS 33 shown here is a minesweeper, similar to YMS 269

We took on fresh water supplies, 5,872 gallons to be exact, and ended up moored alongside LCI(L)549.

February 10-15, 1945 – Saturday – Thursday.  Renard Sound.  We have remained her for several day now, watching other ships come and go.  We are waiting to go into dry dock which finally happened today.  On Tuesday I wrote a letter home because I had a little extra time on my hands.  I sent home a little emblem that the amphibious boys wear on our left arms, just below the shoulder.  On Thursday the crew was mustered at General Quarters 7:55 am.  There were no absentees.  B.R. Worth, Cox and Kenneth G. McDonald were transferred off the ship today.

February 16-19, 1945 – Friday – Monday.  Renard Sound.  We remained in dry dock until Sunday morning.  After breakfast we steered various courses at various speeds proceeding on a two hour test run.  Finding all well we returned and moored along starboard side to YOG13 with Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 lines out.  Numbers 1 and four were doubled up.

On Sunday I got some mail from my family and sent a letter home to mother.

Letter Home 2/18/1945

On Monday we started taking on fuel, gobbling up 14,091 gallons.  In the afternoon we maneuvered to the beach at LCRB#2 where we brought provisions aboard.  LCI(L)327 moored along our starboard side.

February 20-23, 1945 – Tuesday – Friday.  Renard Sound.  We have been here so long now that we are starting to get bored.  To fight off some of the boredom we had a fire drill 12:40. That went well.  I’d hate to be aboard during a fire.  Water all around and a ship on fire.  Seems crazy but a lot can go wrong, especially under conditions of war.  After the drill, the GSK (General Store Keeper) came aboard.  Storekeepers manage inventories of repair parts and general supplies that support ships as well as shore-based activities. They usually stay on shore and procure, receive, store and issue material and repair components. He will now send us the items we need to keep us ship-shape so to speak.   Wednesday morning we were mustered to General Quarters, again with no absentees. Then on Thursday F.L Haversack returned from the Navy Fleet Hospital #108.  He has been sick since last month.  Friday we changed the water in the water kegs in the life rafts and watched E.R. Legge MoMM2c hobble off the ship.  He is being was detached and sent to the U.S. Fleet Hospital #110.  I hope I don’t get whatever it is thats going around…and what it is that is going around is Malaria!  Thats a bad bug!

February 24, 1945 – Saturday.  We had a captain’s inspection today.  The entire inspection only lasted about 40 minutes.  We resupplied our ship with fresh water, taking on 3005 gallons. As usual a liberty party went ashore for the evening. Rumor has it that we are headed out tomorrow.

February 25, 1945 – Sunday.  After morning colors we FINALLY retracted from LCRB#2.  We’ve been here 19 days and I for one am ready to get out and get some fresh air.  At 8:50 we beached at Blue Beach where we picked up 14 officers and 204 enlisted men of the 29th Replacement Draft, First marine Division.  We only have to move them over to Pavuvu but at least its better than sitting around in port waiting all the time.  We beached and unloaded the troops at Macquitti Bay and then retracted and continued on to Hooper Bay where we brought Ship Service supplies aboard. After loading our ship we were able to take liberty ashore.

February 26, 1945 – Monday.  Pavuvu.  This morning we remained beached at Pavuvu, in Hooper Bay.  In the afternoon we got underway and laid to awaiting further orders.  While we waited we conducted a fog exercise drill, then laid course for Renard Sound.  We tied off to a buoy for the night and a liberty party went ashore.  Even though it wasn’t much, it was good to stretch our sea legs.

February 27-28, 1945 – Tuesday – Wednesday.  Tuesday morning we remained moored to the buoy and mustered ships company at quarters. After morning colors a work party went ashore and brought aboard fresh and dry provisions. Wednesday the same bringing the month of February to and end.  I hope the war soon comes to and end as well.