Thursday, April 4, 2013

War Diary - Post Three - Aloha!

Fri – 3/9/45:  Sub scare still on us.  We are alone and can only do 11 knots – can’t run or fight as our 40 MM would be out-ranged by any gun over 8” – great!

Sat 3/10/45:  One more day to Pearl Harbor.  Weather has been fair the last 3 days.  The crew is feeling better about everything.  I hope it all comes out OK – expect to hit Pearl Harbor early tomorrow AM.

Sun 3/11/45:  Off Diamond Head at dawn – the most beautiful sight I ever saw.  We cruised 2 miles to ½ mile offshore from Pearl Harbor past Honolulu to Waikiki Beach until 10 o’clock.  Then I went in a small boat 8 miles to Pearl Harbor and picked up mail.  What a beautiful sight!  Dark blue, light blue, dark green and light was the water from offshore, to the white coral beaches and lush green mountains rise almost from the beaches up into the clouds – really awe inspiring.  Pearl Harbor is tremendous and hard to describe: a small opening into a huge natural harbor.  Ships of every description were in.  I drove the small boat way into Fleet Landing and picked up mail.  I received letters from Swannie, Geo. Chase, Jr. and Agnes “Tommy” Blanchard in Honolulu.  After a wet trip (high wind and water – warm though) back to Kewalo Basin where the 899 was beached to let off our ducks.  I got three hours liberty and immediately went directly to 420 Pau St. and spent the entire 3 hours with her. [Tommy Blanchard]  She and I reminisced on Beverly and she showed me pictures (some of Ethel, myself and the kids) of a party in her honor taken by me 3 years ago at Bug Pickering’s.  Also drank a good portion of her rye – very good.  Back at ship at 6:30 P.M.  She drove me back on her open top convertible Dodge – a swell treat.

Mon. 3/12/45:  Nothing much except we moved from Kewalo Basin, Honolulu to Pearl Harbor and we got another view of the wonderful shore line from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor with Diamond Head just beyond Waikiki.  What a sight!  We are anchored in the very back part of the harbor – there’s about 25 – 40 LST’s nested right here.  We are tied up with 3 others now.  Went after mail and received two letters from my honey, one March 5 and 7th – only 5 days from Beverly to Pearl Harbor via air mail – not bad!  Swell letters – she referred to our last phone call from Los Angeles to her.

Tues. 3/13/45: Still tied up.  We had to move to let the 864 and 854 out.  We moved inside and the 25 (an old LST) moored outside us.  She has Malta, Anzio and Normandy painted on her superstructure – been around!  I had no liberty but went in after mail at 4 P.M. We are scheduled to pull out at 6:30 AM for a week’s of maneuvers and then to come back here.  Maybe I’ll get some liberty next time.  I got a real deal on liberty this time.  I drew $22 pay today.

Wed 3/14/45:  I meant to mention yesterday the beautiful rainbow that formed a complete arch over the mountains and as we ran the small boat down the harbor toward the hills it was as though we were going right under the rainbow itself.  The hills were a riot of color.  The spectrum seemed to be all over it.  I’ll never forget it.  Got under way at 5:30 A.M. with 4 other LST’s – 967, 17, 876 and ourselves.  We passed outside of Diamond Head and proceeded up the coast about 10 miles.  We tried to take aboard some ducks and LVT’s but it was too rough.  It was a clear day, but very windy causing a rough sea. 
I worked on the stern anchor all day.  We let it out and took it in 4 times and let out about 350 ft. each time.  The last time, the anchor brought in a large piece of coral.  We’re underway for a point about 80 miles from here.  I have the 4-6 P.M. and 12-4 A.M. watches today.

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