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Saturday, February 9, 2013


I asked Carme why I was being kept at the hospital for I was healed enough to leave and return to duty.  

She said, “When a ship is shot out from under you, the psychiatrist needs to be sure you are fit for duty.”

Finally I was well enough to return to duty, and I received a commendation for helping some buddies get up to the top deck for we were below decks when we were hit.  

Since they considered me a hero I was sent to gunnery school and given a promotion to seaman first class.

I had to learn how to handle munitions for I was going to be handling shells that could do great damage to a ship if they should explode not to mention what it would do to me.  To my surprise they started us off to learn, with automatic B B guns.

I had served on a WW1 destroyer and it wasn't the best fighting vessel we had but it served a purpose.  

The new Fletcher type destroyer which has anti-aircraft guns and five inch guns as well as torpedoes was what I hoped to be stationed on when I returned to duty.

After two months training a destroyer needed a gunner and I was sent to the ship in Pearl Harbor.  At last I was treated like a seaman instead of a scouring Swabbie.

I had called Carme and told her I had been reassigned and was leaving.

I asked her if she didn't mind would she send me a picture of herself and to write to me occasionally.  

I told her I knew we were at best only friends and she was almost engaged to her boyfriend, but I would appreciate if she would write to me and make up all kinds of stuff to make it look like I had a beautiful girl friend.  

If the guys on board thought I didn't have a girl they would tease and laugh at me and a letter now and then would make them jealous.

We were well out to sea when some mail caught up with us and Carme sent me a large 8 by 10 of herself and a letter which was slightly racy and the guys went wild over her picture.

They all wanted to marry her even the married ones. They couldn't figure how I could get a beautiful gal like that.  I wrote her back thanking her for what she had done, and told her how the guys reacted, thinking she would be pleased about that.

My job was to load the anti-aircraft guns as fast as I could for they were able to fire faster than two of us could load them.  I must admit when planes are strafing you, you can work faster that you thought you could.

In our first action our ship was damaged enough to require extensive repairs and we returned to Pearl Harbor although I didn't feel it, apparently I had been hit and required to be hospitalize again for a few days. The ship was ready before I was and left without me.

Once again I was reassigned and this time it was to pilot a landing craft.  It only took about a week to know everything I needed to know about the craft.

The craft and I was loaded onto a troop ship and headed to the next invasion.

There were so many troops on the ship you could hardly move. About half or more were seasick and the vomiting made every one want to come up on deck.  

It took a week for us to arrive at our destination and the attack began before dawn.

After a couple of hours of bombardment from the battle wagons it was time for the troops to hit the shore.  
My Higgins landing craft was off loaded and I fired it up.

Thankfully it purred like a kitten and the troops climbed down the netting into the craft.  

Once we were loaded we headed for the beaches. There was a barrage of shell exploding around us but there was nothing to do but to keep on going.

As soon as we hit the beach the bow ramp was dropped and in less than a minute we were unloaded and I headed back for another load.
It was evening by the time all the troops and supplies were on the beaches and my job was to stand by in case the troops were beaten back.   

To be Continued


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