USS Fremont APA-44

The War Diary of Chief Pay Clerk Reese F. Lukei


Introduction

This is a transcript of the war diary of Chief Pay Clerk Reese F. Lukei. The diary starts on 15 July 1943 and ends on 24 September 1945. The entries began prior to the commissioning of the USS Fremont and on through the invasions of Saipan, Mariannas Islands, Palau, Ulithi, Philippine Islands, and Iwo Jima.


15 July 1943

Returned from 10 days leave - rented room again at 108 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, N.Y. - Still not ready to start work on the ship.

16 July 1943

Learned today that the USS AQUARIUS (AKA16) has been turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard. Waiting for instructions from BuPers. Only navy man on a Coast Guard ship.

5 August 1943

Kearny, N.J. - Received written orders from BuPers to proceed to San Francisco, Calif, report to COMTWELVE for further transportation to the USS NORTH CAROLINA for duty. (I knew this ship was in the Southwest Pacific also). Detached this date from the USS AQUARIUS. Obtained transportation request from COMTHREE and a "deadhorse" of $300.

9 August 1943

Gave up my room at 108 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 1330 left New York City via PRR train, arrived in Washington, D.C. at 1800.

10 August 1943

Reported to BuPers to have my orders changed.

11 August 1943

Received new orders from BuPers to report to Ass't Industrial Manager, Norfolk Navy Yard, Repair & Conversion Div., 112 S. Gay St., Baltimore, Md., for duty in outfitting and on board when commissioned of the USS FREM0NT (APA44). Orders received late so reported by phone.

12 August 1943

Reported at Baltimore, Md., but ship not near ready to gather stores - returned to Washington, D. C. - On my own for awhile.

13 August 1943

Maxine and Edith Ann arrived in Washington, D.C. - Train due in at 6:20 PM but didn't arrive until 9:12 PM. They were worn out with the heat and covered with coal dust.

15 August 1943

Baltimore, Md. - Promoted to CHIEF PAY CLERK, USN(T) affective this date.

18 August 1943

Returned home to Norfolk with Maxine and Edith Ann. This was baby sister's first big trip.

22 August 1943

2100 Returned to home at Washington, D.C.

23 August 1943

Living at home in Washington, D.C., and working at Port Covington Naval Storehouse, Baltimore, Md. Making return trips daily - cost $17.50 per mp. Gradually gathering stores for the USS FREMONT.

20 September 1943

At Baltimore, Md. - Received orders to proceed to the Norfolk Navy Yard on temporary duty in connection with assembling stores for the commissioning of the USS FREMONT (APA44). Took two storekeepers with me (Laurance E. Russell, SK2c and Brown, SKlc)

21 September 1943

1000 Arrived home in Norfolk, Va., via the Old Bay Line steamer.

21 September 1943

Reported to COMFIVE and then to the Commandant, Norfolk Navy Yard for temporary additional duty.

23 November 1943

USS FREMONT (APA44) placed in full. commission at Baltimore, Md. I was in Norfolk, Va.

28 November 1943

1100 USS FREMONT (APA44) arrived and docked Berth 32, Pier #5, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va. Temporary additional duty completed and I returned on board to resume regular duties as Ass't to the Supply Officer.

8 December 1943

Reported to the Naval Supply Depot, Norfolk, Va., on temporary additional duty to check stores for the USS FREMONT (APA44).

9 December 1943

Temporary additional duty comp1eted and reported back on board.

11 December 1943

USS FREMONT underway from Norfolk Navy Yard to Hampton Roads and then to Chesapeake Bay area for training exercises.

16 December 1943

Returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard.

22 December 1943

Underway from Norfolk Navy Yard to United Nations Dock, Norfolk Army Base.

25 December 1943

Norfolk, Va. CHRISTMAS DAY 1943 - Home.

27 December 1943

Underway from United Nations Dock, Norfolk Army Base for training exercises in Chesapeake Bay Area. Landing exercises with the Army.

1 January 1944

NEW YEARS DAY 1944 - Up in Chesapeake Bay.

4 January 1944

Returned to United Nations Dock, Norfolk Army Base.

8 January l944

Underway from United Nations Dock, Norfolk Army Base for training exercises in Chesapeake Bay Area - Landing exercises with the Army.

15 January 1944

Returned to United Nations Dock, Norfolk Army Base.

20 January 1944

Underway from United Nations Dock, Norfolk Army Base for training exercises in Chesapeake Bay area - Landing exercises with the Army.

28 January 1944

Returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard for final check.

16 February 1944

Underway from Norfolk Navy Yard to Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Va. Secured to Pier #3 NOB.

16 February - 25 February 1944

At Pier #3 NOB - Loading stores and the 117th Battalion of CB'S.

26 February 1944

0700 Underway from NOB, Norfolk, Va., for the Canal Zone. (Task Gr. 29.81 USS O'Hara, USS Funston, USS Cavalier)

29 February 1944

0900 Arrived off the Canal Zone. 1000 Docked at Colon, C.Z. 1500 Entered the Panama Canal from Atlantic side. 2400 Docked in Balboa, Canal Zone.

2 March 1944

1100 Underway from the Canal Zone for Pearl Harbor, T.H. 4,870 miles Canal Zone to Pearl Harbor.

9 March 1944

Entered the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Area.

16 March 1944

1500 Arrived and entered the channel at Pearl Harbor - secured to dock. Saw the USS OKLAHOMA which was badly damaged Dec 7th, 1941. Quite a change of scenery since my last visit in October 1932.

16 March 1944 to 8 May 1944

At Pearl Harbor - USS FREMONT (APA44) converted to Relief AGC. Rear Admiral W.H.P. Blandy, Commander Amphibious Group #1, raised his flag in the USS FREMONT (APA44) 5th Amphibious Force, PACFLT. Major General R.E. Smith, CDR 27th Infantry Division.

8 May 1944

Underway from Pearl Harbor to Sea for trial runs and exercises.

12 May 1944

Returned to Pearl Harbor.

19 May 1944

Underway from Pearl Harbor to sea in troop convoy for exercises

25 May 1944

Returned to Pearl Harbor.

26 May 1944

Inspection by Vice-Admiral Turner and Rear Admiral Delany.

1 June 1944

0700 Underway from Pearl Harbor for sea in convoy - TROOP COMBAT LOADED. (27th Div., 165th Infantry, 105th Field Artillery, 102nd Medical Div., and 152nd Engineers with Rear Admiral Blandy, Major General Smith, and Brigadier General R.F. Kerman.

2 June 1944

Time set back hour.

3 June 1944

Time set back hour.

4 June 1944

Time set back hour.

5 June 1944

Time set back hour.

5 June 1944

CROSSED THE INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE - East to west NO MONDAY NIGHT. Only SIX days this week - Missed out on three meals.

6 June 1944

Allied Forces invaded Northern France and Germany from Great Britain.

9 June 1944

Arrived and anchored at KWAJALEIN ISLAND in the Marshall Island group.

10 June 1944

Received "Yellow Fever shot". Fueled from USS MASCON.

11 June 1944

Underway from KWJALEIN for SAIPAN in the Marianas Island Group. In large TROOP LOADED COMBAT CONVOY. Destroyer USS SAUFLEY sank submarine.

12 June 1944

"D" Day Minus 3 - US Air and Seas forces start bombardment of Jap held SAIPAN.

14 June 1944

SAIPAN bombarded by U.S. Air and Seas forces - heavy enemy losses - about 1500 Japs dead on beaches.

15 June 1944

US Battleship "TENESSEE" hit four times by Jap shore batteries - light damages. Sugar cane fields burning furiously. 20,000 of Japan's crack troops landed. Saw four dead Jap soldiers floating near by and several pieces of wreckage. Saw four Jap oil barges afire.

16 June 1944

Arrived off SAIPAN - entered transport area - unloaded part of troops and cargo - Saw lots of damage being done to the enemy - Many huge fires at night. Moved out of transport area at night - to have area less congested in case of Jap air attack.

17 June 1944

Back in transport area - unloaded more troops and cargo - out to sea at sunset. Jap air attack on SAIPAN - Japs lost five planes - A beautifu1 array of fireworks.

18 June 1944

Stayed at sea all day - Jap planes still raiding SAIPAN. Sugar Mill Town of Charan Kanva and Garapan, the chief town on Saipan captured by U.S. troops. Made a pair of' Silver Pay Clerk leaves out of model metal today.

19 June 1944

Still at sea - Jap planes dodging in and out, mostly out and down.

20 June 1944

Returned to transport area - unloaded troops and cargo. 2nd Div US Marine Corps Ammunition Dump blown to bits by Japs who sneaked in at night. This about 2130 - worst and loudest explosion I ever heard - it was more than terrific - was miles high - about one quarter of all our ammunition landed on the island.

21 June 1944

Still in transport area - all troops and Cargo ashore - Took aboard about 60 casualties - Narrow escape this evening when ship was strafed by enemy machine gun fire - out to sea at night. More Jap air attacks at night.

25 June 1944

0700 returned to SAIPAN - Took aboard about 60 more casualties.

26 June 1944

1900 Underway from SAIPAN for ENIWETOK - have about 162 casualties aboard.

29 June 1944

0200 Time set ahead one hour. 30 June 1944

1200 Arrived and anchored at ENIWETOK - refueling. A quiet day.

4 July 1944

FOURTH OF JULY 1944 - at ENIWETOK - A quiet day.

6 July 1944

1700 Underway from ENIWETOK for Pearl Harbor.

7 July 1944

0100 Time set ahead one hour.

8 July 1944

0100 Time set ahead one hour. CROSSED INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE - West to East - Two Saturdays this week.

12 July 1944

1500 Arrived and docked at Pearl Harbor.

16 July 1944

Made trip around the island of' OAHU with Electrician O'Neil, Carpenter MOORE, Chief Machinist Hersch and three CB Warrant 0fficers - very interesting.

26 July 1944

President Roosevelt arrives in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS BALTIMORE.

6 August 1944

Group picture of ship's officers taken on #5 hatch.

12 August 1944

0800 Underway from Pearl Harbor - in TROOP LOADED COMBAT CONVOY.

13 August 1944

Time set back hour.

15 August 1944

Time set back hour.

16 August 1944

Time set back hour.

17 August 1944

Time set back hour. CROSSED INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE. - East to west - No Friday this week.

19 August 1944

Time set back hour.

21 August 1944

1900 "Davy Jones" arrives on board - delivers summons to ship's Captain from "King Neptune" to have ship lay-to on 22 August 1944 in order that all Pollywogs might be initiate and possibly survive to become "SHELLBACK"

22 August 1944

1215 CRQSSED THE EQUATOR at Longitude 164-14-00 East and was initiated into the Realm of the Deep and survived to be welcomed as a "SHELLBACK".

23 August 1944

Time set back hour.

24 August 1944

1500 Arrived and anchored in GUADALCANAL.

28 August - 5 September 1944

Rehearsal landings off Cape Esperance.

4 September 1944

0830 Underway from Guadalcanal for TULAGI of the Florida Islands. 1030 Anchored in Tulagi - Received stores.

5 September 1944

0830 Returned and anchored in Guadalcanal.

8 September 1944

0830 Underway from Guadalcanal in TROOP LOADED COMBAT CONVOY. For Palau Islands

9 September 1944

Time set back hour.

10 September 1944

Time set back hour.

11 September 1944

Time set back hour.

15 September 1944

0830 "D" DAY - Arrived off Island of PELELIU of the PALAU ISLAND GROUP. Made feint operation on Island of BABELTHUAP, largest of group - Troops landed on Island of Pe1eliu from 20th and 23rd Divisions - Very light enemy opposition. US Battleships, Cruisers, Destroyers and planes bombarding - US Minesweeper PERRY (DMS-17) destroyed when she struck a submerged mine.

16 September 1944

Still bombarding and making landings on Peleliu - One US dive bomber (F6F) destroyed in midair when bomb release jammed and bombs exploded before dropping. Saw Light House on west side of ANGAUR Island destroyed by US Cruiser gun fire. Enemy opposition appears nil.

17 September 1944

0800/1100 US Battleships, Cruisers and Destroyers heavily bombard Island of ANGAUR. No opposition from enemy. US Troops landed on Angaur. Fighting on Island of Peleliu going slow but successful - captured half, of airfield. Enemy living in well constructed caves - island mostly hard rock.

18 September 1944

Troops still landing on Angaur. Light counter attack from the Japs. Unloaded all vehicles and more supplies all during the day. Weather scorching hot.

19 September 1944

All troops and cargo unloaded. Night air attack but enemy planes disappeared. Opposition very light.

20 September 1944

1051 ANGAUR Island declared secured. Night air attack, no damage.

21 September 1944

1030 Underway from Angaur Island for ULITHI ISLAND GROUP.

27 September 1944

0600 Arrived off PIG ISLAND in the Ulithi Island Group which consists of 34 islands and coral reefs, mostly uninhabited. Troops made landing but found no Japs in this area. It was thought the natives were Japs and were fired upon but with only one casualty - they killed the "Tribe Chief's daughter.

25 September 1944

Fueled from tanker. 1800 Underway from Ulithi Island Group for HOLLANDIA, Dutch New Guinea.

27 September 1944

CROSSED THE EQUATOR - Southbound.

28 September 1944

0800 Arrived and anchored in HOLLANDIA, Dutch New Guinea.

1 October 1944

0730 Underway from Ho11andia, DNG, for ISLAND OF MANUS in the Admiralty Island Group. Flagship CDR AMPHIB Group 8 7th AMPHIBFORCE Rear Admiral W.N. Fechteler

2 October 1944

1300 Arrived and anchored in Manus, Admiralty Islands.

3 October - 11 October 1944

Loading stores and supplies, troops and cargo and preparing for another to island invasion.

7 October 1944

Rec'd one Tetanus shot and one cholera shot.

12 October 1944

1430 Underway from MANUS, Admiralty Island Group for Island of LEYTE, Philippine Islands - with troop loaded combat convoy with TRANSP Div 26 & 32 and USS Gambier Bay (CVE73).

14 October 1944

CROSSED THE EQUATOR - Northbound.

15 October 1944

Joined in with 130 ship convoy - total 145 ships - combat loaded.

16 October 194

Rec'd second cholera shot.

20 October 1944

0600 Arrived off Island of LEYTE, Philippine Islands. Battleships, Cruisers and Destroyers bombarding - first wave landed at 1015; second wave landed at 1030. No enemy opposition. Japs appeared to be very surprised. Jap bomber shot down. Jap air raid at night. Ships anchored in San Pedro Bay off city or Tacloban, Island of Leyte.

21 October 1944

Two enemy air attacks today - Saw Jap plane shot down and burn on island. General McARTHUR landed and spoke over radio to Filipino people - Famous words "I HAVE RETURNED". Troops still landing and island being liberated.

22 October 1944

Two more Jap air attacks today - Jap planes disappearing fast.

23 October 1944

Three Jap air attacks - planes shot down. 20 US PT's arrived today. No allied losses reported today.

24 October 1944

A bad day - Five Jap air attacks. Shrapnel hits Flagbridge wounding 7 men. One Army Sargent and one Chief Signalman and 5 sailors. US Destroyer DD-563 struck a mine - sinking very slowly. One Jap bomber shot down crashing into a US LCI-1065 causing heavy damage and ship burned until she sank. One officer and six men killed, five men missing. Nine severly burned survivors brought aboard APA44, one later died from burns. US Navy tug ATO-12 hit by part or same Jap bomber but fire was extinguished and no casualties. One Jap bomber shot down and crashed into a US liberty ship, plane exploded and caused ship to be beached. Same Jap. bomber hit a navy tug which was tied alongside, the tug sank causing three casualties. Australian Cruiser hit amidships, killing one officer, the Captain and a Commodore. APA44 shot down two Jap bombers. Secured from General Quarters at 2000 - 16 hours straight. All US PT's left for sea in search of Jap Fleet reported to be heading in. Total of approximately 27 Jap planes shot down in two days. Very little land opposition on northern group. southern group making heavy sea bombardment.

25 October 1944

Continued Jap air attacks - enemy bombs dropped on island and in sea but with no damage. Shooting them down as they come in. Southern Forces giving Japs on island a bad fit - little resistance. US Hospital ship MERCY arrives. Japs dropped five bombs near her but missed. One of APA44's landing boats (LCVP#l9) shot down a Jap Zero on beach while working party was gathering sand. One of ship's mess boys hit by Jap shrapnel on left hand and leg. Carpenter Moore got his helmet hit by Jap shrapnel. US destroyer DD563 still sinking slowly, lost 26 men when she struck a mine. Admiral Halsey's a mighty Fleet engaging Japs in huge sea battle east of SAMAR Island - just 60 miles away. One of our small Escort Carriers hit by Jap torpedoes and had to be sunk by our ships. Total of 56 Jap Planes lost today.

26 October 1944

Still battling Jap air attack attempts - shooting them down as fast as they come within range. Jap planes coming in only one and two at a time. All serious casualties aboard transferred to hospital ship MERCY. One of ship's mess boys "cracked" under heavy war strain and was transferred to MERCY. USS MERCY underway this afternoon. One seaman hit ay Jap shrapnel. Issued clothing to six survivors of LCI-l065 and ATO-12. Only about three hours rest from GQ today.

27 October 1944

One air attack early in morning - rest of day quite. Air attack in evening and General Quarters ALL night. Jap bomber hit beach in flames. Took aboard 80 survivors from small Escort Carrier sunk in battle of the 26th. Two Jap BBs, one CL and 3 DDs sunk trying to enter Leyte Gulf.

28 October 1944

0130 Started receiving aboard 350 survivors including 150 stretcher cases from sea battle of the 26th. Working all night, feeding, clothing and caring for men. A pitiful sight. Many men and officers with only a pair of underdrawers on or maybe a just a towel around them. Giving them all the help and care we can. Issued supplies to US DD-649. Chaplain held burial services for 26 men from. US DD-649 which ship got 3 big hits amidship in big battle. Issued clothing and ship's store articles to survivors. USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE-73) sunk off east of Leyte. Ship abandoned about 0820, sunk about 0930. About 500 men lost, 250 of her survivors taken aboard APA44. CV PRINCETON sunk in same battle and 4 other carriers damaged by 2 Jap BB's, 6 CLs and several DDs. Three GQs todays. 12 Jap planes shot down near west side of Leyte.

29 October 1944

Saw Jap plane shot down and burst into flames at base of mountain on Leyte. A large number of P-38s and other Army fighters here. US Hospital ship COMFORT here. Was aboard the USS WASATCH (AGC-9) to get stores this morning. Issued more clothing to a few survivors. A rather quite day.

30 October 1944

Rather quite all day - only 3 GQ's. Army- planes keeping Japs away and under control. Heavy storm last night. Sea heavy and wind at gale force. Loss small LCVP #1, crew saved. Took aboard about 12 more survivors.

31 October 1944

0550 GQ - secured 0600. No action. 0610 GQ - secured 0715. No action. Usual routine day - only two GQs during day. About 1900 GQ sounded, a Jap bomber dropped bombs on US oil and gasoline dump which blazed sky high and burned for several hours. Jap plane was shot down. Secured from GQ at about 2030.

1 November 1944

Only 3 GQs today - but no action. Two DDs sunk in bombing and air torpedo attack about 50 miles south by Jape. Two DDs arrive with many survivors. Four Jap prisoners taken aboard (two enlisted men, 1 Jap navy Captain and 1 Jap Gunnery Officer).

2 November 1944

0345 GQ - secured 0450 0515 GQ - secured 0745 Usual routine - rather quite. Air attack at night. Army shot down 14 Jap planes during the night of 1 November.

3 November 1944

GQ in early morning, no damage. 1745 GQ - secured 1945 1955 GQ - secured 2115 2315 GQ - secured 0645 (11/4/44) Japs trying to bomb air strip on Leyte - little damage - no dope on number of Jap planes down.

4 November 1944

Started with usual morning GQ. 1310 GQ - secured 1400 2115 GQ - secured 0515 (11-5-44) Japs trying to break in but AA fire too heavy. Japs bombed one US PT boat and blew it to bits. No known survivors.

5 November 1944

A very unusual quite day.

6 November 1944

0033 GQ - secured 0125. Just about noon just outside my stateroom there was a loud commotion like kids arguing. On looking out I found a naval officer hollering and cursing up a storm. Chaplain Crowell stepped out to tell him to quiet down but the officer became more valiant and struck the Chaplain a hard blow to the chin. At this instant Carpenter Moore and I jumped out and overpowered the officer. He was taken to the Sick Bay and placed in the "Nut" ward - completely CooCoo. He was one of our best Japanese interpreters and has been in the Pacific area over two years. - Otherwise a quiet day.

7 November 1944

Two young Jap prisoners brought aboard today. Nothing exciting except for a couple short GQs.

8 November 1944

Another quiet day.

9 November 1944

A couple GQs is all today. Out two Jap prisoners taken off the ship today.

10 November 1944

Five GQs early this morning and one short GQ about 1915.

11 November 1944

Three long GQs last night. Navy bombers sunk 6 Jap APAs, 2 DDs and 2 DEs plus several small craft off west coast of Leyte Island in Ormar Bay. Two GQs today, one about 3 hours. One month today since receiving our last mail

12 November 1944

Two long GQs early this morning. Six Jap planes shot down. One Jap plane dropped a bomb on a LST and then suicide dived onto a troop loaded Liberty ship going through #3 hold killing close to 200 soldiers and seriously wounding many others. Five of the casualties were brought aboard the APA44. Three of them went "Nuts". The ship burned for about four hours.

13 November 1944

Quiet during the day. Two very large Jap torpedoes were brought aboard this afternoon for inspection. Had been found unexploded on the beach. They were 29'6" long X 24" dia. Were later transferred for shipment to Washington, DC. GQ at 2310 - secured at 0018, then again at 0030 securing at 0130.

14 November 1944

Large convoy arrived with 24,000 troops, unloaded and departed in the evening. The Jap "Vals" flew overhead during arrival of convoy, one shot down and crashed into the water narrowly missing an APA. Two GQs today.

15 November 1944

Three GQs during last night and early this morning. A forty-four LST convoy arrived this morning with more troops. No GQs during the daytime.

16 November 1944

Just a routine day with one 3 hour QQ.

17 November 1944

A quiet day - Received our first mail in .36 days. only one GQ from 1650 to 2105.

18 November 1944

GQ 2350 - secured at 0045 GQ 0200 - secured at 0515 GQ 0700 - secured at 0845 Four Jap planes shot down, one crashed into stern of a Liberty ship. One US P-47 shot down by our own guns. Two more GQs during the afternoon - one Jap plane down. Another GQ about 1620. 1630 Underway from Leyte, PI for Hollandia, DNG in convoy with 9 ships and four DDs. During 31 days stay in Leyte we had 158 GQs and subjected to 85 Jap air attacks.

21 November 1944

CROSSED THE EQUATOR - Southbound.

22 November 1944

1600 Arrived and anchored in Hollandia DNG. Resting up and receiving new supplies and MAIL.

1 December 1944

Hollandia - Cloudy and rainy', hard winds and a strong current came up late this afternoon - our buoy carried away and ship drifted c1ose in shore, hitting a soft coral reef which held us for about four hours. Took 3 tugs and 8 LCMs to pull ship off. Came close to striking the USS WRIGHT (AG-79) and the USS APA-15. APA44 now attached to TRANSRON 15, TRANSDIV 43 as flagship along with the USS MELLETTE(APAl66); HENDRY (APA1l8); SIBLEY (APA206); BERRIEN (APA62); SHOSHONE (AKA65) and WARRICK (AKA89)

10 December 1944

Rear Adm W.H.P.B1andy (Commander Amphibious Group #1) shifted his flag from the APA44. Rear Adm F1etchler (Commander Amphibious Group #8) raised his flag aboard the APA44.

12 December 1944

0530 Underway from Hollandia, DNG for SANSAPOR, DNG - about 600 miles due west from Hollandia - in convoy of 12 ships.

14 December 1944

11.30 Anchored in Sansapor, DNG.

25 December 1944

CHRISTMAS DAY 1944 - Sansapor, Dutch New Guinea. A quiet and peaceful day, sea very still, weather very hot.

28 December 1944

0025 GQ - Jap plane shot down and exploded twice in air and again when it hit the sea and burned a long time. Shot down by the Army from the Beach. Secured GQ at 0105.

30 December 1944

1530 Underway from Sansapor for LINGAYEN GULF on West Coast of Luzon, .P.I. via Surigao straits, Visayan Sea, Sibuyan Sea, Mindoro Straits and China Sea with large troop loaded combat convoy.

5 January 1945

Jap submarine contacts.

7 January 1945

A few Jap submarine contacts - DDs dropped "ash cans". USS NEW MEXICO badly damaged and beached at Lingayen Gulf; USS CALIFORNIA and USS COLORADO hit, light damage. USS SOUTH DAKOTA hit while near Formosa. 2315 Jap DE tried to enter inside convoy screen but was blasted to bits by one of our DDs with two 5" salvos.

8 January 1945

0245 GQ - secured 0915 l835 GQ - secured 1945 2000 GQ - secured 2025 Several Jap submarine contacts - DDs dropped "ash cans". Jap planes sighted overhead. A P6l shot down two Jap planes and another Jap plane shot down by one our ships. Saw a big Jap twin-engine bomber (Betty) shot down by fire from a BB, the bomber blew up in mid-air when hit. A Jap fighter was hit and suicide-dived into the starboard side midships of the USS CALLOWAY (APA35). Killed 6 men and wounded 13. Fire was quickly extinguished. The six men were buried at sea at noon. The CALLOWAY was on the starboard beam of the APA44 about 1000 yards. One LST and one CVE hit by Jap fighter-dive-bomber, very heavy AA barrage put up. 924 ships in this invasion.

9 January 1945

0500 Arrived in LINGAYEN GULF. Unloading troops and cargo. 0545 GQ - secured 0710 (Did not stop unloading) 1300 GQ - secured 1448 (Did not stop unloading) DE2l3 (USS HODGES) hit by Jap Tony, sliced off the foremast clean, no casualties. CL56 (USS COLOMBIA) hit by Jap shore battery 9" shell, 12 men killed. US BB hit by Jap Tony in suicide dive. Australian Cruiser also hit, mashing in the forward stack.

10 January 1945

One LST, one DE and one DD hit by Jap PT boat which had been hiding behind a small island near entrance of Gulf. Sighted Japs riding torpedoes and Japs swimming under floating boxes. Now shooting at anything floating that resembles a box or the like. Troops making grand headway. Very slight resistance. Only two known causua1ties to date caused by drowning when one LCVP was wrecked near beached. Many ships pulled out. Completed unloading. Several GQs today. Saw two Jap planes shot down.

11 January 1945

0550 GQ - Secured 0615 0630 GQ - Secured 0740 0800 GQ - Secured 0820 1305 GQ - Secured 1320 1835 GQ - Secured 1955 1730 Underway from Lingayen Gulf, P.I, for Leyte, P.I. Sea calm. Large convoy including APAs arrive in Lingayen Gulf. Two P47s shot down by our ships flying over transport area. One large and twenty small skunks" spotted trying to make an invasion near San Fabain beach. US DDs and bombers made hits on all and sunk all but two. A "Skunk" is an unidentified Jap or enemy ship. Saw a Filipino Carabou swimming near the ship. USS DUPAGE (APA4l) hit by Jap PT boat but did sink. LCVP-APA44-17 dropped her ramp too soon and crashed on to beach and then sunk.

12 January 1945

Three GQs today but no action by the ship. Passed large convoy including about 50 LSTs, 25 APAs and many Liberty ships and 20 LSMs enroute to Lingayen Gulf. During one GQ a Jap suicide dived on one Liberty ship in this convoy causing a fire but she was able to stay in line.

13 January 1945

Sea very calm, weather warm. Adm Halsey's Fleet attacked Jap convoy about 700 miles west of Manila, sunk 25 APAs and damaged 19 others. Overtook and passed large convoy of LSTs. Making 13.5 knots now.

14 January 1945

1700 Anchored in Leyte, P.I.

15 January 1945

Rear Adm W.M. Fletcher, Comdr Group 8, 7th Fleet shifted his flag from the APA44. Commodore D.W. Loomis, Comdr Trans Squad 11, raised his flag on APA44.

19 January 1945

1315 Underway from Leyte, P.I. for Ulithi Islands.

20 January 1945

Weather cloudy, sea heavy, ship rolling heavy.

21 January 1945

Clocks set ahead hour.

22 January 1945

Clocks set ahead hour.

23 January 1945

1200 Arrived and anchored in harbor at Ulithi Islands. Loaded stores ALL night. Turned in at 0730 next morning. Saw the old NEW YORK and TEXAS here. Met JJ Koester and Red King, both ol' Akrie sailors.

5 February 1945

American troops arrived in Manila, P.I.

6 February 1945

1430 Underway from Ulithi Islands for GUAM.

8 February 1945

1000 Arrived at GUAM, docked at Pier "E". started loading troop cargo (3rd Marine Division) immediately.

17 February 1945

0900 Underway from GUAM for Jap island of IWO JIMA with large troop loaded combat convoy.

16-17 February 1945

Carrier based planes bombed Tokyo while heavy units of the Battle Fleet bombarded Iwo Jima in the Bonin Island Group. American troops attempted landing on Iwo Jima, very light lost and damage to our attempt. US cruiser PENSACOLA heavily damaged by shore batteries but still afloat.

19 February 1945

US Marines of 3rd, 4th & 5th Regiment make landing on Iwo Jima. Moderate to heavy opposition but gaining hold steadily. No Jap planes found anywhere on island even though there are two large airfields in good condition. Weather gradually turning cold - darn good sleeping tonight. Started issuing heavy winter clothing today. At 2200 we were 80 miles southeast of Iwo Jima and 830 miles south of Tokyo. US air force bombarded Tokyo again today in large force. Island of Corregidor in Manila Bay captured by US Army troops.

20-21 February 1945

Maneuvering 80 to 150 miles east and southeast of Iwo Jima waiting to go in with reserve troops. MOTOYAMA airfield #1 captured. We have over 1/3 of island but very heavy casualties. Weather still growing colder. One convoy DD shot down a Jap "Betty" last night.

22 February 1945

Iwo Jima sighted and we are approaching - can see Mt. Suribachi (Hot Rocks). One GQ in afternoon for about 20 minutes. No troops or cargo landed yet. Heavy rains and cold today.

23 February 1945

Mt. Suribachi captured by US and US Flag hoisted. Still having a tough go at it - 20,000 Japs against 45,000 US Marines on Iwo Jima. Three Jap planes overhead but driven away without damage. One GQ tonight for about two hours. Still laying off waiting for call - ten APAs with about 15,000 us Marines.

24 February 1945

GQ 1900 to 2330, Jap planes overhead, bombs and AA flak dropping all around but NO direct bomb hits. Flak about covered forward main deck. Landed troops and cargo today. Moved in close to island.

25 February 1945

0500 Fire in the Galley caused by back fire on ranges, light damage, no one injured. Still pounding the island from sea and air. APA120 hit portside aft by Jap shore shell, one Marine officer killed. No GQ today.

26 February 1945

Heavy sea and air strike against island. Japs dug deep in many heavy fortified caves. Caves average 40-feet deep with 4-foot wall reinforced with 4-inches of steel, but our accurate gun fire is crumbling them in. Cold, rainy and cloudy all day. No GQ. 1800 US carrier planes and 200 B29s hit Tokyo today.

27 February 1945

DDs, CLs and planes made heavy strike against island. Now have 2/3 of island and #2 airfield. Took aboard about 24 "shock" casualties.

28 February 1945

Another heavy air raid and naval bombardment. still unloading cargo. Several big cargo planes dropped supplies on island. Took aboard about 6 stretcher cases tonight. Weather clear and cool.

29 February 1945

0240 GQ - secured 0425. DD shot down one Betty. Two US DDs hit by Jap shore battery and then the PENSACOLA blew the pill-box to bits. One small Marine ammunition dump blown up by Jap shell fire. Four Jap prisoners brought aboard tonight badly burned by a flame-thrower.

1 March 1945

Routine day - took several more casualties aboard. Fourteen Jap voluntarily surrendered to Marines and brought aboard.

2 March 1945

Received mail today - first in 3 weeks. Two more Jap prisoners brought aboard. About 35 more casualties came aboard, several very badly wounded. One shore GQ tonight. Air and naval gun fire still pounding the island hard. Furnished clothing to casualties.

3 March 1945

No GQ today. Now have 14 Jap prisoners aboard. One died and was buried over the side. About 60 us casualties aboard, one Marine died from bad wounds in chest and kidneys, was sent ashore for burial. Still blasting the island.

4 March 1945

Another Jap prisoner died, had been shot through the head, bullet went, in one ear and out the other; his head fractured, broken collar bone, left arm broken and badly burned in face and chest - buried over the side. "Shoot 'em and then bring them aboard and nurse 'em - easy US"

6 March 1945

Saw the mighty ARKIE today struting her stuff. 1800 underway from Iwo Jima for Saipan.

8 March 1945

0800 A B29 crashed into the sea between our convoy. Two of her engines were dead, plane hit by AA fire and some of crew were believed wounded. Plane was returning to Saipan after raid on Formosa. Four men lost when plane sank. Six men saved and one died aboard ship. Plane floated tail up until all efforts to save her and crew failed, then was sunk by DD gun fire.

9 March 1945

0900 Anchored at Saipan. Discharging Jap prisoners. Discharge 114 US casualties. Weather hot again. This place looks lot different than the first time I was here - more like a big city now.

10 March 1945

Discharge 16 more Jap prisoners today. Fueled from tanker. 1800 Underway from Saipan for Guam.

11 March 1945

0800 Anchored in Guam.

12 March 1945

0730 Underway from Guam for Guadalcanal..

15 March 1945

1500 Crossed the Equator south bound.

16 March 1945

0100 Clocks set ahead 1 hour.

18 March 1945

1500 Anchored at Guada1canal.

20 March 1945

0700 Underway from Guadalcanal for Noumea, New Caledonia.

23 March 1945

0900 Anchored at Noumea, New Caledonia. Received letter from BuPers telling me I had been selected for temporary rank of Lieut (jg)(SC)USN, effective date to be announced later. Letter was dated 19 January 1945

.

25 March 1945

Went ashore in Noumea, New Caledonia with Carpenter Moore - met the Executive Officer, Dr. Thompson, Lt Torrey and four others in a beer garden. The Executive Officer insisted that I was not going to "walk" back to the ship, that I was to be the honor guest of a "wetting down" party. I had to drink all and every drink offered me, beer, whiskey, cocktails, wines and champaign and a big steak dinner. I took it all but didn't get "snowed under" cause I was able to "walk" back. Met the Captain at the Officers' Club also. Returned aboard about 2330. A very good time by all.

29 March 1945

Received temporary appointment as Lieutenant (jg) (SC )USN to rank from 15 February 1945. New pay $412.00 per month. Total service 18 yrs, 5 mo 20 days.

5 April 1945

Awarded the "Philippine Liberation" ribbon with two bronze stars for being in the initial landing operations of Leyte, for being under 85 Jap air attacks and for being in Philippine waters for over 30 days at one time.

12 April 1945

Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United states of America died in Warm Springs, Ga. on Thursday afternoon 12 April 1945. Vice-President Harry Truman became President of the USA. Mr. Roosevelt served as President for 12 yrs 3 mos and 8 days.

28 April 1945

Benito Mussolini was executed in northern Italy.

29 April 1945

US aircraft carrier "Franklin D. Roosevelt" was launched at Navy Yard, New York by Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of our late President.

1 May 1945

Awarded one bronze star in the "Asiatic-Pacific" ribbon for Iwo Jima operation from 2/15/45 to 3/16/45 (north of 22 deg north latitude and west of 145 deg East Longitude; authority COMFIFTHFLT dispatch 300804 of April 1945.

2 May 1945

Adolph Hitler reported dead in Berlin, Germany.

3 May 1945

0600 Underway from Noumea, New Caledonia for Manus in Admiralty Islands.

6 May 1945

0535 Fire in Crew's Galley caused by spilling hot grease from a roasting pan on range, light damage. 1900 Clocks set back hour. Germany surrendered completely at 0814 Eastern War Time (0214 French time) at Reims, Germany in a little Red School House.

7 May 1945

1900 Clocks set back hour.

9 May 1945

0800 Anchored in Manus, Admiralty Islands.

10 May 1945

1130 Underway from Manus for Leyte, P.I. (10,400 miles from home)

16 May 1945

0830 Anchored in Leyte, P.I.

22 May 1945

Commodore D.W. Loomis, USN, ComTransron 11, staff detached from APA44 at Leyte, P.I.

29 May 1945

Read Adm H.O. Davis, USN, ComPhibGr-13, raised his flag on the FREMONT (APA44). (George O'Brien, the movie cowboy, is on ComPhibGr-13 staff)

5 June 1945

1200 Underway from Leyte, P.I. for Pearl Harbor all alone).

6 June 1945

0100 Clocks set ahead 1 hour.

8 June 1945

0100 Clocks set ahead 1 hour.

10 June 1945

0100 Clocks set ahead 1 hour.

13 June 1945

0100 Clocks set ahead hour.

14 June 1945

0100 Clocks set ahead hour.

15 June 1945

(First) 0100 Clocks set ahead hour

15 June 1945

(Second) 0000 Crossed the International Date Line - East to West. Two Fridays this week. 0100 Clocks set ahead hour.

17 June 1945

0100 Clocks set ahead hour.

19 June 1945

0900 Secured to dock at Pearl Harbor. 1300 Comdr A.L. Stuart, USNR, relieved Capt. C.V. Conlan, USN, as commanding officer of the USS FREMONT (APA44) Our first mail in 25 days arrived on board today. Met. Capt H.J.Norton (SC)USN today (SOinC NSD Navy 128)

20 June 1945

1500 Underway from Pearl Harbor for the USA (San Francisco ??)

22 June 1945

0100 Set clocks ahead hour to plus 8 zone.

23 June 1945

0100 Set clocks ahead hour to plus 8 zone.

24 June 1945

0100 Set clocks ahead hour to plus 7 zone. Weather getting cold, sea choppy and windy.

25 June 1945

0100 Set c1ocks ahead hour to 7 zone. Still getting colder, sea choppy.

26 June 1945

0700 At sea enroute to San Francisco - Uniform changed to Blues. Weather cold, sea choppy and cloudy. 1226 Passed under the "GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE" into San Francisco Bay, USA. Sixteen months away from the good ol' U.S.A. 1300 Secured to Pier #27 San Francisco, Calif. - Liberty.

27 June 1945

0600 Left the ship at San Francisco on 20 days leave with no ticket or reservation on either the train, bus or airlines. Enroute to the airlines ticket office I met an officer from the ship who was cancelling his reservation and ticket for Norfolk via the United Air Lines. I grabbed this chance and bought his ticket and had the reservation changed to an earlier flight on the Western Airlines. Left San Francisco at 1230 (PWT) on Western Airlines Flight #33 for Los Angeles. This was about the greatest thrill in my life and my first ride across the country, either by air, bus or train. 1435 Landed at Lockheed Airport in Burbank, Calif just outside of Los Angeles, weather was to foggy to land at the regular airport. 1615 Left Burbank, Calif on the American Airlines, Flight #4 for Tucson, Ariz. Had my first dinner in the sky - at 7,000 feet up over the Colorado River. Lettuce and Tomato Salad with french dressing, Fruit Cocktail of Watermelon, Cantelope and Lettuce, Green Peas, Fried Chicken, Hot Rolls, Coffee and Chocolate Ice Cream. 1915 (PWT) Landed in Tucson, Ariz. Time set ahead one hour to Mountain War Time. 2020 (MWT) Left Tucson, Ariz. 2200 Landed in El Paso, Texas. 2212 Left El Paso, Texas. for Fort Worth, Texas.

28 June 1945

0215 Landed at Fort Worth, Texas. Here for only 15 minutes. 0230 Left Fort Worth, Texas for Nashville, Tenn. 0630 Landed at Nashville, Tenn. Time set ahead one hour to Central War Time just before landing here. 0645 (CWT) Left Nashville, Tenn for Washington, D.C. 0800 Breakfast in the sky - Cantelope, Scrambled Eggs, Sausage Cakes, Sugar Bun, Jelly, Butter, Toast and Coffee. 1115 Landed at Washington, D. C., National Airport. 22 hrs 45 minutes. Time set ahead one hour to Eastern War Time. Home with my Mother.

29 June 1945

1030 Left Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania Central Airlines, Flight #6 and landed in Norfolk, Va at 1135 Same morning. HOME AGAIN -

16 July 1945

2325 Left Norfolk, Va on Pennsylvania Central Airlines, Flight #65 for Washington, D.C. - Very hard rain up too about 800 feet.

17 July 1945

0045 Landed in Washington, D.C.. 0105 Left Washington, D.C. for Detroit, Mich. 0340 Landed in Detroit, Mich. 0455 Left Detroit, Mich on Pennsylvania Central Airlines, Flight #205. Time set back one hour to Central War Time. 0530 Landed in Chicago, Ill. Two hour wait. Was "bumped" on my original scheduled flight. 0730 Left Chicago, Ill., on United Airlines, Flight #25 for San Francisco. 0800 Breakfast in the Air. Fresh milk and shredded biscuit, Ham & Eggs, Sugar Bun and Coffee. 1035 Landed in Omaha, Nebraska. 1050 Left Omaha, Nebraska. 1130 Dinner in the Air - very tasty. 1230 Landed in North Platte, Nebraska. 1239 Left North Platte, Nebraska. Time set back one hour to Mountain War Time. 1315 (MWT) Landed in Denver, Colorado. Two hour wait cause I was "Bumped" on this flight to Flight #17, but I gained one meal on this (supper). 1510 Left Denver, Colorado. 1630 Light lunch served in the air. 1825 Landed in Salt Lake City, Utah. 1845 Left Salt Lake City, Utah. 1900 Supper in the sky. 2040 Landed in Reno, Nevada. 2050 Left Reno, Nevada. 2150 Landed in Oakland, Calif. 2200 Left Oakland, Calif. 2245 Landed in San Francisco, Calif. 2330 Returned to the ship at Bethlehem Steel Co's 20th Street Plant San Francisco from 20 days leave.

16 July 1945

At San Francisco on board the USS FREMONT (APA44) Rear Admiral R 0 DAVIS, ComPhibGr 13 relieved by Rear Admiral R. P. BRISCOE, ComPhibGr 14.

18 July 1945

At San Francisco - Commander A.L. STUART, USNR relieved as commanding officer USS FREMONT (APA44) by Captain Louis A. Reinken, USN.

18 July 1945

2125 Telephoned my Honey in Norfolk from San Francisco.

28 July 1945

Talked to my Honey again tonight from San Francisco - only took about 45 minutes to reach her.

4 August 1945

0345(FWT) 0745(EDT) Talked to my Honey again from San Francisco wishing her a Happy Birthday. Only took about 5 minutes to put the call thru.

7 August 1945

APA44 entered drydock - bottom very fouled - sand blasted.

10 August 1945

APA44 undocked, returned to Berth 22, Bethlehem Steel Co 20th st SF.

14 August 1945

1600 (PWT) 1900 (EWT) President Harry S. Truman announced the surrender of the Japanese Empire to the Allied Nations, thus ending WORLD WAR II ...

31 August 1945

On board USS FREMONT(APA44) at San Francisco - Received orders from Bureau of Naval Personnel to report to Commandant, 12th Naval District for further assignment upon being relieved by Acting Pay Clerk James C. Bunt, USN.

12 September 1945

Pay Clerk James C. Bunt, USN reported aboard USS FREMONT (APA44) for duty at San Francisco as my relief.

24 September 1945

At San Francisco - Detached from duty on board USS FREMONT (APA44) (2 years 1 mo 14 days on board).


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