Friday, May 27, 2016

Freedom Friday ~ War Diary of Richard A. Steele

Easter on an LST 1945 
From the WWII Diary of Richard A. Steele, Sr.

Sat. 3-31-45:  Still underway – going around circles – Had an “alky split” in sick bay with Jack Vincent the pharmacist mate last night. Lemonade and a generous portion of 90% - went very good – 1st hard drink I’ve had since the skipper broke out a couple weeks ago on the day the boat got smashed – it’s getting warmer.  Skipper said we’d be in the “thick of it” in 4 to 6 weeks.  Today at noon over the radio (Honolulu station) I heard “Put on Your Easter Bonnet” and damn near cried right at the chow table thinking of Ethel and the kids.  I hope they’ve been able to get new things.  I don’t even know when it’s Sunday anymore – they’re all alike.  Thought of the Easter Ethel & I and Geo. Brewer [?] and can’t think of her name – went over to Nahant and heard Murphy’s outfit put on a show- had many laughs.  This PM we beached twice on Green Beach Island of Maui – good beachings – the 2nd time we towed the 896 off the beach and the skipper congratulated us on the way we did the job – I handled the stern anchor, wench, cable and tossing messengers as usual.  The 208 got her cable tangled in the 218 screws and she had to be towed back to P.H.  We had explosions on the beach and everything – one more day of this stuff and then firing again Monday then back to P.H.

Easter Sunday- 4-1-45 – Happy Easter!  Nuts!  - we worked our asses off today!  Hot and clear – did we sweat! – We towed the LST 896 twice, we towed them once – they shot over a breeches buoy once and all did was run lines, messengers, stern anchor & wench all day – I’m pooped – started the day at 3:30 AM with the 4 – 8 watch and have the 12 – 4 tonight – great!  This is our last day of these damn maneuvers and tomorrow AM we have a G.O. – fire and go back to P.H. for the 3rd time – I hope that this time we get our load and go to the real thing – we’ve got this far and might as well go the rest of the way.  We are 7000 miles from home what the hell is another 4 or 5000?  Well we’d be on the way back of we get that far.

Mon. 4-2-45:  Had G.O. at 8 o’clock fired at sleeves until noon - boys did some good shooting.  Started back for P.H. and tied up in West Lock at 5:30PM - saw the wreckage of 6 LST’s blown up last summer – and what wreckage – we’re tied up alongside it!  It was sabotage – went after mail at 6 – got 3 bags full – I got letters from Glen Talbot, Fred Murphy, a card from mayor McLean and four from my homey – hers were written March 21-23-25-27 – nothing much in them but swell to hear from her.  I immediately answered because we are going out on another goddam shakedown cruise!

Tuesday 4-3-45:  Went after mail again at 9 AM – no mail.  Picked up my shoes I had topped at the sub-base ships service.  Coming out of the harbor a big Essex Class carrier  (Ben Franklin) came limping in – what a mess – after half of ship smashed to hell and burned, super-structure, radar, etc. all shot up – the Japs still got some shells and no one is kidding us – I also  saw the B.B. Miss., the heavy cruiser Quincy and many subs and cans – also a greater number of A.P.A.’s then I’ve ever seen before.  Worked on some wire splicing and painting in P.M.  Knocked off at 4:30, took a shower – looked at my honeys picture and here I am wishing I was home!

The Deck Crew

West Lock Pier, Pearl Harbor - LST 899, 1011 and 530

"Big Ben" Aircraft Carrier USS Franklin CV-13

Breeches Buoy

New-Mexico Class Battleship USS Mississippi BB-41

Baltimore Class Cruiser USS Quincy CA-71

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