August 1945

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POST SCRIPT 2/7/2012:  LITTLE DID I KNOW AT THE TIME WHEN I WAS ABOARD SHIP IN AUGUST 1945 THAT THE WAR WOULD SOON BE OVER.  I WROTE A LETTER HOME ON AUGUST 7, 1945, THE DAY AFTER THEY DROPPED THE BOMB ON HIROSHIMA, INDICATING THAT I HAD ‘HEARD RUMORS’ OF THE BOMB.  NONE OF US HAD ANY IDEA THE POWER OF THAT NEW TECHNOLOGY WOULD HAVE ON THE WORLD.  IT WOULD FINALLY END THE WAR BUT WOULD USHER IN A NEW MODERN ERA OF WARFARE.  THE WAR IN EUROPE WAS OVER MONTHS AGO, THE NAZIS HAVING SURRENDERED ON MAY 8, 1945, BUT JAPAN WAS STILL KICKING.  THE U.S. HAD CALLED ON JAPAN TO SURRENDER IN ITS POTSDAM DECLARATION ON JULY 26, 1945, THREATENING “PROMPT AND UTTER DESTRUCTION” IF THEY DIDN’T SURRENDER.  THE JAPANESE IGNORED THE WARNING AND ‘LITTLE BOY’ WAS DROPPED ON HIROSHIMA ON AUGUST 6, 1945 FOLLOWED BY ‘FAT MAN’ OVER NAGASAKI ON AUGUST 9. RUMORS WERE CIRCULATING BUT AS ENLISTED MEN WE WERE KEPT PRETTY MUCH IN THE DARK.

August 1 -2, 1945 Wednesday & Thursday. MAKING FERRY RUNS BETWEEN TINIAN AND SAIPAN.We spend most of our time running passengers between the islands of Tinian and Saipan.  We leave in the morning and return in the evening every day. My friend, Cecil Coooper got in trouble today for refusing to obey orders.  His punishment was 50 extra hours of duty.  He and I bunk together.

August 3 – 7, 1945 – A WEEK IN HARBOR.  Friday and Saturday we remained in harbor.  Commander H.V. Milton came aboard to do a Materiel inspection on Saturday. Sunday we stayed in the harbor again, moving only once to take on fresh water.  On Monday F.C Guidice got sick and left the ship for the hospital.  On Monday we finally got to go back to sea to patrol the northern end of the island around Marpi Point, the famous suicide cliffs of Saipan.

August 7, 1945 – Tuesday.  RUMORS OF AN ATOMIC BOMB.  I wrote home today.  There have been many stories going around that there is a new bomb that can end the war very soon.  I’m anxious for the war to be over.  It will be good to go home. We have a new raido on board ship.  It is short wave and we can hear music we like and get news and information we can rely on instead of listening to Tokyo Rose.  Our day ended at 10:00 pm with an air-raid drill.  We douse all the lights and muster to general quarters.  They only take about 10 minutes but you never know when they might be real.

Letter Home 8/7/1945 - Click on letter to read all

August 8-11, 1945.  PATROLS OFF MARPI POINT.  We have been spending our days on patrol watching for enemy ships, failing B29s returning from Japan and other bombing runs, and generally passing our time plying through the deep blue water on the North end of Saipan.  M.C Willis transferred on board from the base hospital and L.J Laramore transferred on board.  Both are Seamen 1st class.

Letter Home 8/12/1945

Letter Home 8/12/1945 - Click on letter to read all

August 12, 1945.  Sunday.  A LETTER HOME ANNOUNCING THE END OF THE WAR.  

Dearest Mother – It’s been quite sometime since I’ve heard from you.  I guess you’re plenty busy about this time of the year, huh?  Well this morning I got the wonderful news about the peace terms.  So maybe now it won’t be long till I’ll be back out there getting that education I’ve been dreaming about the past two years. Talk about happy! Everybody’s so glad to hear the news!  Don’t know how long it willb e before I get back now.  Might be some time and again it might not.  Maybe we will bring the ship back to the States.  I’d like that. 

I didn’t make my second class, but I don’t care now.  Maybe it won’t be long till I’ll get out. One thing I’ll never forget about this war is the stuff you have to take from some officers.  Although we don’t have some bad ones now.  It was much more than fighting a war.  I’ll tell you about it sometime. 

I haven’t heard from Dean, only once since I’ve been here.  I guess they must keep him plenty busy.  Do you hear from him quite regular? I’ll see if I can’t make it to church tonight.  Might accidently get to see someone from home.

Did you get to talk to DeMile while he was there?  I hope so. What did he have to say?  Have you heard any news about Myrt lately?  I hear from Aunt Price quite often.  He’s never left the States.  Hasn’t he been lucky?  I’m fine. Surely hope you are too.  Hope I get a letter from you soon.  All my love.  Son, Dale

August 12 – 14, 1945.  Sunday.  THE ENTIRE CREW IS CHANGING.  We stayed in the harbor today while they compensated our compasses.  This procedure needs to be done in calm water but out at sea, so we took the ship out while Lt. (jg) Bruce of USS YDG 9 carried out the work.  Compensating a compass is the process of correcting or adjusting it for slight changes due to fact that the compass is mounted on a giant metal ship and is often parked next to large metal vessels that can affect the way the compass works.  It takes about 30 minutes to complete the routine procedure.  We make sure this instrument that we live and die by is working properly.  Just after sunset we took on 5 new crewmen.  They are S.W Miller S1c, H.L. Millet S1c, C.R. Patrick F1c, Wynne D.E. MoMM3c, and E.M Mendoza, S1c. On Monday we stayed in port again and C.S. Smith MoMM2c and M.H. Willis S1c were transferred to Receiving Station. Tuesday was the same.

August 14, 1945. Tuesday.   NEWS OF PAUL PRICE’S DEATH. My pal, Paul Price, was killed in action.  I got the news today in a letter from my mother.  He was part of a aircrew and they got shot down.  I feel so badly for him.  He wrote to me more than any of my other buddies.  He always signed his letter, “Always your Pal”.  I will remember him fondly.

Letter home 8/14/1945 with news of Paul Price's death

August 15, 1945.  Wednesday.  VJ DAY -VICTORY OVER JAPAN.  Today is officially the end of the war!  Japan has surrendered.

August 19, 1945. SORE AT JAYNE.  I got news from home that made me mad today so I wrote a letter to Jayne and let her have it!  Seems that some guys are flapping their mouths and poking fun at us who are out here fighting.  Folks back home don’t realize sometimes how hard it can be out here, never getting leave, the same routine day in day out.  We have had about four guys crack up and go home.  When they announced the peace terms a few days ago, the morale was so bad around here that a lot of guys didn’t even care.  In some ways the news doesn’t seem to make much difference to a lot of us.  I know I’m glad but we still have to stick around here and move people out so we probably won’t be going home right away. Anyway, she makes me mad!

Letter to Jayne 8/19/1945

August 20, 1945 LETTER HOME.  I wrote to mother today to give her an update.  We have been patrolling of Kagman Point this week, on the East side of the island where the air base is located here in Saipan.

Letter home 8/20/1945

August 21 – 27,  We were in port till the 24th and which time we took our ship into dry dock for repairs.  We’ve had a lot of time to do nothing now.

August 26, 1945 – BACK ON PATROL.  We took our ship out of dry dock today and went back on patrol duty of Kagman Point.  We leave at about 4 am and get back just after dark.  It makes for some long days at sea.

8/27/1945

August 29 -30, 1945 – Monday and Tuesday.  BACK TO TANAPAG HARBOR.  We began an early morning patrol on Monday and then pulled it back to Saipan harbor about noon and we remained in the harbor the rest of the day and all day Tuesday.

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