November 14, 1944
|"We crossed the Equator on the
10th. I'll never forget that day as long as 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 25, 1944
November 29, 1944
|"I have the 6-8 watch, then 4-8 in
the morning. I have seen enough moonlight
on the water to last a lifetime. One has plenty of time to think, too. It is
so lonely away out here."
|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."
|"We are now in Manus. We
just keep up the ship's work .... Heard that O. E. Williams, an old friend, is
|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."
|"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
|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
|"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,
|February 6, 1945||"No mail for 53 days. We are
weighing anchor today for Sansapor."
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
|"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
April 1, 1945
The ship is attacked.
|"We have arrived at Manus."
|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
|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
|May 20, 1945
|"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 the 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."|