Typhoon!

October 8, 1945
near Okinawa

A storm that "has seldom been paralleled in fury and violence"
"We were due to get into Okinawa today but a typhoon suggested we change our course and who are we to argue with a typhoon?  It is getting awfully rough.  As I came off watch, we received typhoon warnings.  It is 100 miles southwest of us.  Even if we catch only the outer edge of it we are in for some very rough weather.  We will need more than our own strength to carry us thru but I know God is watching over us and that I have the prayers of the ones back home.   If we get cross ways we might turn over.  We will turn rightside up again for we have enough ballast to right us, but it would break the mast and short our power."
On Oct. 4, a typhoon developed in the Caroline Islands and was named "Louise".  It was expected to move northwest into the East China Sea; however, the storm suddenly veered sharply to the right and headed for Okinawa.  The forecast was for winds of 60 knots, with 90 knot gusts.
"'Louise', however, failed to conform to pattern, and that evening, as it reached 25 degrees N (directly south of Okinawa) it slowed to six knots and greatly increased in intensity.  As a result, the storm which struck in the afternoon of the 9th has seldom been paralled in fury and violence...."
[Extract on the Typhoon from Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas report on the Surrender and Occupation of Japan, Department of the Navy - Naval Historical Center, http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq102-6.htm]

October 9, 1945 "I have had a look topside.  Waves swell 20-30 ft. high and as we look across at the other column of ships, we really get a good idea of what they put up with.  We stand on the fantail and it looks like the stern anchor is first half way under water, then a swell comes and the screws are out of the water.  We can't turn, for that would put us in the path of the typhoon.    A 60 mile wind surely makes it rough out.  There is little rain, but very high seas.  The fury of the sea is unknown and only God can control it."
LST 596 was lucky to be at sea and able to continue sailing away from the storm, unlike the many ships caught in the port at Buckner Bay.   By noon on the 9th, visibility was zero and the wind was 60 knots, causing small craft to be torn loose from their anchors.  Two hours later the wind had risen to 80 knots and large ships were dragging anchor under 30 to 35 foot seas.  "The bay was now in almost total darkness, and was a scene of utter confusion as ships suddenly loomed in the darkness, collided, or barely escaped colliding by skillful use of engines, and were as quickly separated by the heavy seas.  Not all ships were lucky; hundreds were blown ashore, and frequently several were cast on the beach in one general mass of wreckage." [Same reference as above.]
At the peak of the storm the winds were 100 knots with gusts to 120.  Ships were crashing into each other like bumper cars.  By storm's end, 12 ships and craft were sunk, 222 grounded and 32 severely damaged.  At the Naval Air Bases over 60 planes were damaged.  Approximately 80% of all housing and buildings on Okinawa were destroyed or unusable. 
Thirty-six personnel were killed, 47 missing and 100 seriously injured.

October 10, 1945 "The typhoon has gone, but we still have high seas.  I got about two hours sleep last night.  The barometer went down to 29.32.  Radio reports were that it went to 28.04 in some places and that is LOW!  This old LST really took a beating.  I wore my life jacket, but it wouldn't have kept me up very long in this sea, if I had needed it.  We lost control once, but soon had her in hand.  I'm very thankful it is over and that we stood the strain."

October 14, 1945
Naha, Okinawa
"We are back in port at Naha. We sank a couple of Jap mines on the way down.  Most of the ships which were in this harbor left to ride out the typhoon, some were grounded and had to be abandoned.  We are to make two or three more trips to China, so the rumor goes.  [My grandmother's notes haven't mentioned any ports in China yet.]  I went ashore with a working party and got to see some Jap homes and graves, small fox-holes and caves in the hill sides.  Can't see how they reached them, much less getting into them.  The signalmen and Q.M. have to wear blues on our flag ship.  Expect we will before long."

October 19, 1945
IeShima, Okinawa
"Yesterday I went to IeShima and saw the place where Ernie Pyle is buried.  [Ernie Pyle was a popular journalist, who was shot by a Japanese soldier earlier that year.]  Took a snapshot of his monument.  The weather is fairly nice now.   We were given a bad few seconds this morning.  I was on watch on the conn. when I looked up and saw a B-29 staring me in the face.  How he ever put her over the mast is beyond me.  If anyone had been standing there, he would have been minus a head.  If that 29 had torn off a wing tip, it would have completed the most beautiful wreck I ever hope not to see.  It was just 50 ft. from the water, the conn. is 73 ft. high and the mast is even higher.  Yes, that formula surely had us worried."

Tom McLeod on IeShima                 McLeod, Polek, Phalen - IeShima

  "There's a 7 or 10 miles north wind blowing today, making it cooler.  (49 above)  Yesterday it was cloudy and there was an unforeseen rough sea.  We have the army aboard, probably going to Korea with them.   They are a bombing group.  We had a steering casualty this A.M.  The Captain went up on the conn. without his coat and the first thing he knew his teeth were chattering from the cold."

October 27, 1945
Korea
"The steering is out again, so we can't go in the locks.  We just wait.  The last time we were here, we thought it was cold, because we had just come from the tropics and it was raining.  Now eve at 49, it isn't bad."

November 1, 1945 "We have left Korea and are hauling 1400 Japs on the tank deck."

November 2, 1945
Sasebo, Kyushu, Japan
"We have pulled into Sasebo, Kyushu.   There were 6 LSTs each loaded with 1400 Japs.  As we entered the harbor, I saw three Jap Aircraft carriers on the beach.  Then we had a surprise when up came a giant Sub, Jap, but flying our flag now, with a large tank under the conn. and over the hull, which had a catapult ramp leading forward.  A carrier-plane Sub!  It was longer than our LST and had a 5 inch cannon on the fantail, four torpedo tubes forward and four aft.  We counted 8 of them, several old battle wagons and many D.E.'s.   There are mines all around here.  This A.M. a Jap tug hit one of them and sank in less than a minute.  These islands in close to Japan and Korea are full of death traps and mines."

November 11, 1945 Hagushi "Now we are at Hagushi.  I had the 4-8 watch, then the 8-12 watch.  Now I can sleep all morning and go on the 12-16 watch."

November 17, 1945 Fuson, Korea "It was rough coming back to Fuson, Korea.   The time is dragging.  We took the lead over until we got here, then LST 774 took over.  Here are some of the numbers of our group:  17, 25, 385, 566, 598, 599, 632, 638, 666, 700, 717, 718, 719, 755, 774, 775, 934, 1009, 1012, 1075, 1125 and 596 (that's us!)  632 is Boss.  934 next over us.  We saw a plane crash and burn a couple of days ago.  A B-29 came over with one engine gone, he was low but a good flyer.  You should see these men handle these C-47 and C-46 planes.  One came in low, between ships, side-slipped her into a 3 point landing, perfect.  The weather was closing in and he had to work fast."

November 20, 1945 to Tsingtao, China "We left Fuson 18 hrs. ago and are on our way to Tsingtao, China, which is 300 miles north of Shanghai.  The weather is pretty cold.  While in Korea, I went ashore and the food is served in the streets.  You can't see it for the flies.  It was awful; period.  I am glad to get out to the open sea once more for a breath of clean air." 

November 26, 1945 Tsingtao, China "Tsingtao is a poor country.  The people have a cleaner city than any I've been in so far out here.  WeMcLeod and others Tsingtao, China are in Lat. 36 and it is 42 with a three knot wind blowing.  Yesterday, I went ashore, got left by the other guys, and looked for a church but didn't find it.  Got myself lost and finally got located, hitch-hiked back to the docks just in time to make the small boat leaving for the ship.  Went ashore again today at 1:30 P.M. and returned 6:30.  (The sun sets at 4:57, rises around 6.  We are in the 8 time zone.)  I still haven't located the church.  There is a cathedral in the center of the ciy, which stands on a hill and can be seen from all over the harbour.  It is very pretty inside but on the outside they sell all sorts of things.  Another boy and I had a picture made out front.  You stand in front of a rickshaw, argue and make gestures; finally get in and for 50 you are taken anywhere you want to go.  If you want to stop and shop, he will wait for you.  These stores charge from 5 to $10 for a $3.00 article.  As far as we know we will still be here until Dec. 4th.  Then, who knows?"
November 29, 1945 "The Sun Sun Restaurant here serves a steak, fresh tomatoes, French Fries and hot chocolate for $1.10 with a second helping of potatoes.  The population is 640,000 and it is 35 here now.  We may shovel snow off the main deck any day now.  We are hauling Japs out of China, and may make several trips of it before I get enough points to get out."

December 1, 1945 "Last night we were called to muster on the tank deck, about 9:15.  We thought we were going to be told we were going to the States.  But no!  Two bottles of whisky had been stolen from an officer and we will get no more liberty until it is returned.  Bet another officer took it!   On the 4-8 A.M. watch this morning, we had no steam heat and it was down to 30 out on the conn.  Whew....it's cold."

December 3, 1945 "Looks like there may be another war with Russia before I get home.  Why can't people see the light themselves!  We have nine men as replacements.  One of my buddies, Paterson of Tenn., left last month and I surely hated to see him leave.... me behind.  It was 65 while I was on my 6-12 watch this P.M.  I took an azmuth of the sun and tried to help the navigator figure it out.  Christmas in Tsingtao, China.  What an outlook!"

December 10, 1945 "We hope our Xmas mail will catch up with us this year, since we have to stay out here.  I also hope to convince my navigation officer that I am eligible for a rate by March.  I wonder, can I?  It is fairly (?) warm until about midnight, then it drops to near freezing by dawn.  Now it's too cold out.  Our orders are to moor along side Pier # 3 and on Dec. 13, load Japs.   That means Japan again.  Our 3rd Captain had taken over.  Started out as Lt. (jg) on the deck force and became Ex. Officer.  We've had a piece of plexiglass put in on the conn. to break the cold wind."

 

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A WWII Voyage
Page 1

Into the Pacific
Page 2

Busy Bees in the Pacific
Page 3

China and Japan
Page 5

End of the Journey
Page 6

More Photos
Page 7

More Photos
Page 8

More Photos
Page 9