Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 21:50:06 -0700
From: "Paula J Audet"
This brief narrative is taken from a diary, kept by an 18-year-old writer during the dates noted. It is as originally written
Pulled out from San Francisco December 20, 1944 with the USS Wadsworth, two transports, one with nurses, the other with SeaBees. Reported submarine in vicinity of our convoy, but did not bother us. Arrived in Pearl Harbor December 29, 1944. Spent as good a Christmas as expected, while at sea.
After arriving in Pearl Harbor, we had orders to practice shore bombardment at the Island of Maui in Hawaii, after which, we had a practice invasion. Much speculation as to where the invasion will be, I seem to think it will be in the Bonin Islands.
Pulled out from Pearl Harbor, bound for Eniwetok, in the Marshall Islands on January 27, 1945 with 21 transports and 8 other destroyers, besides us, in the screen. We arrived in Eniwetok on February 5. Nothing happened on this trip.
We pulled out of Eniwetok on the morning of February 7 with 20 transports and 7 other cans in the sub screen bound for Saipan in the Marianas where B-29’s are based. Two of the cans in the screen had submarine contacts, but lost contact before they had a chance to drop depth charges. Arrived in Saipan on February 11. Since they did not have a harbor, we had to patrol for subs until evening, when, we went inside the nets and got orders to proceed to Guam.
We left for Guam from Saipan the night of the same day we pulled in. We got into Guam February 12, 1945. We stayed in Guam for about 5 days. Everyone is puzzled as to what we are going to do.
Well!! Here it is. We’re going to escort the reinforcements for the invasion of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands. We pulled out from Guam February 17 and bound for our destination.
Everyone is disappointed as here it is the 25th and nothing has happened, except that we had G.Q. about 1900, February 23. They only came into about six miles (they are Bogies) so we didn’t get to fire. I guess the Japs don’t know we’re out here. We’re about 150 – 200 miles from Iwo Jima, fooling around in case they need reinforcements at Iwo. One group of transports has already left us, but the "A" was not lucky enough to get to escort them in. It is getting boring as Hell just fooling around here at 10 or 11 knots. Just between these two pages, we’re only about 700 miles from Japan. Whew!
Finally took the rest of the transports into Iwo Jima on February 27. It sure is a rugged looking place. It has a volcano on the southern end, a level space directly north of the volcano, and north of that is mostly trees and rough ground with enemy installations dug into caves in the cliffs.
On the 27th, we did patrol duty about four miles away from the island. On the morning of the 28th, we went in to a point on the northeastern part of the island for bombardment of installations. We bombarded all day by fighter direction. No return fire was seen. That night, we had a Bogie raid, but did not fire, as they were not close enough to us.
Mortar fire from the Japs blew up one of our ammo dumps. Fire lasted for about eight hours. Captain said there was probably one cargo ship of explosives blown up. March 1, the Terry was hit by enemy shore battery. Quite a few casualties were reported by them. The Calhoun was also hit, with one reported killed. The Calhoun was in exactly the same spot we were. Maybe they didn’t think we were good enough to hit, thank God. We did some more bombarding until about eleven hundred. We were told we did excellent firing for those two days knocking out about four Pillboxes, two or three tanks, and a few installations. On the evening of the 1st, we went back out for patrol duty.
On March 2, we went back in, laying offshore, about 6000 yards, laying shells on the beach. From what the plane spotter said, we did some damn good firing.
That night, we were in the screen for a few battlewagons, the Texas, Idaho, New York, and New Jersey. A few cruisers were there also, the Tuscaloosa, Pensacola, and one other.
On the third, we were back in there bombarding. Saw about 60 B-29’s coming over from Saipan for Japan. Ran out of ammunition couldn’t get more, so we were assigned to patrol duty.
On the fourth, while we were patrolling, a B-29 made the first forced landing on Iwo Jima.
On the fifth, we’re still patrolling off Iwo Jima.
We were relieved from patrol duty on March 5, at which time we started a convoy for Guam. Fifth, sixth, and seventh, still on our way to Guam. Nothing eventful happened on the way. Expect to pull in tomorrow, and get some mail, I hope.
Boy, I’m sure getting disgusted with the mail situation. We pulled into Guam March 8, fueled up and pulled out for Ulithi, where Task Force 58 hangs out. Pulled in on the 10th. There are more ships there than I dreamed could assemble in one spot. We didn’t get any mail here either. That evening, we got underway for Leyte. This makes one month and two weeks that I haven’t received any mail. Sure am pissed off.
Here we are in Leyte, in the Philippines. Pulled in the 13th. The 14th, we finally got some mail. Sure is a big place here. Passed by Mindanao on the way to Leyte. They just invaded it – Mindanao. We didn’t see anything or run into any trouble. We tied up next to a tender, the Dixie. We got all the ice cream and Pogey bait we wanted. Don’t know if we’re going next with amphibs or Task Force 58. Sure hope it’s 58!
Here it is March 26, and we’re still in San Pedro harbor, which is right off Leyte. We’ve been here since we pulled in on the 13th. We had a couple days tender availability in which we fixed everything that was wrong. On the 27th, we got the flag aboard, which is the third ranking captain in the Navy. Tomorrow, we expect to pull out for the invasion of Okinawa Jima on the 29th. We are flagship of all escort ships. From what I hear, this operation is going to last three months. I hope somebody heard bum dope.
The invasion of Okinawa Jima was on April 1, 1945. We went in to about 5000 yards and began bombarding. No answering artillery from shore. The troops started from their ships about 0730 and landed at about 0830. They encountered no opposition from shore. The Marines landed on the north mid half of the island and the Army is on the south mid half. The town is near the southern part of the island. The reason for landing in the center was to cut off the Okinawans from going to the hills in the north for Guerilla warfare. It worked out all right, as most of the Japs are in the south.
Tonight, the first, we had bogie raids all night, but didn’t fire a shot at them. The night fighters are taking care of most of them.
All day on the 2nd, we didn’t do much firing. We got relieved about 1000, and went to the ammo. barge to replenish our ammo. Tonight, we’re near the beach on condition watch, as we are not scheduled for shore bombarding as we were last night. We’re just lying to at anchor.
From reports on the night of the 2nd, we have a strip 3 miles wide all the way across the island which was taken without much opposition.
Today, the 3rd, in the morning, the Colorado and we did some bombarding on the southern half of the island. We sighted a mine and had an LCI blow it up.
The night of the 2nd, we had more bogie raids, but did not fire again. One of the planes suicided into an A.P.D. and sank it.
Getting back to the 3rd, in the morning, we hit a road junction, a couple of houses, some trucks, and a few other objectives. There were many planes on the beach. Don’t know if we hit any or not.
The night of the 3rd, we screened seven battleships and six cruisers; the New York, Texas, Idaho, Colorado, Massachusetts, and a few others. No G.Q. that night.
On the 4th, all day, we just screened around the Colorado. No firing for fire support at the beach.
On April 5, we went to G.Q. bombarding with the Nevada this a.m. Went over to Chuana and fueled this afternoon. We had left the Nevada about an hour when she was hit by a shore battery.
April 6, we went to G.Q. at 0300 on a flash red. Many bogies. Lots of firing this afternoon when we were in the transport area. All hell broke loose. Two ships were hit right near us by suicide planes. About twenty miles away, four cans were damaged the same way. Among those damaged, was the Hyman. We spent the rest of the day and night at G.Q. while bombarding shore installations.
April 7, we started the day as usual with a flash Red, control yellow. We’re getting G.Q. fruity and smokey like firemen from the smoke screen. We’ve been laying down everynight since the invasion. Here’s what happened yesterday. The fanatical Jap suicide planes crashed into the Bush, Calhoun, and Amen, all of which sank. One hundred twenty eight (128) planes came in, some were downed by fighter planes and the rest by anti aircraft (A.A.) fire. At 1530 today, we joined Task Force 54 to proceed northward to intercept the Jap fleet, which was reported coming down. Task Force 54 are composed of old heavies and wagons. About 1900 tonight, three bogies came in on us. One headed straight for us, but changed course and threw heavy A.A. fire, and hit the Maryland. One was shot down and the other plane decided not to suicide. The Maryland was about 1000 yards off our port bow when she was hit. I saw it hit. All it was was a sheet of flame. I guess it didn’t have a bomb. The Jap fleet was all sunk except for three DD’s. Ships sunk were the Yamato, Battlewagon, three cruisers, and three DD’s by planes from T.F.58.
April 8, at G.Q., while screening the old Arkansas, she bombarded the southern part of Okinawa all day until 1930. Tonight, we’re screening three wagons while they continue bombardment.
The 9th and 10th, nothing much happened. Still screening the Maryland and Arkansas while they bombard. On the night of the ninth, 42 Jap, China based bombers, were reported on their way, but were intercepted by planes of T.F. 58 and were all shot down
On the 11th, we went to the southeastern side of the island, where most of the Japs are, and did some bombarding. No bogies that night. On the 12th, we just patrolled inside the harbor at the same place. That night, we went out with two cruisers and four other cans. There were quite a few bogies that night, but did not fire at them. One dropped flares but did not bother us.
On the night of the 11th, we sank a couple barges. I didn’t get to see them as I was inside on the soundgear. (Damn it!)
On the 13th, Friday, we patrolled in the harbor at the same place as the 11th & 12th. In the afternoon, we headed for F.S. area 5. We were up there alone all night. Couple bogie raids, but none bothered us. We were there all the next day and got relieved that evening about five. We went down to the transport area and fueled, then went just a little south of the transport area and fired some at an airstrip. We were there all night of the 14th. Early morning of the 15th, we went around to the southeast part of the island and helped on a feint invasion to divert the Japs from the main fighting.
About 1000, we pulled out with some AK’s for Ulithe. Arrived on the 20th. We had to go because our generator wouldn’t generate. We were next to the tender Hamal until May 4 when she pulled away. The evening of the 5th, we are off for Okinawa again with ten merchant ships and two other escorts.
Arrived at Okinawa May 10. We were assigned to AA fire in the transport area. Had a Bogie raid that night beginning in the morning at 0130. Had 19 raids. A couple went over us and we fired. Ended at about 0530.
Today, the 11th, we had 15 bogie raids beginning at about 0930. Most were intercepted by C.A.P. A few got through to suicide into a couple cans.
That night was quiet. No bogies.
On the 12th, nothing all day except that evening when an Oscar and a Kate suicided into the New Mexico, which was directly in front of us at about 100 yards. One crashed into the water about 15 yards off its starboard beam. We had a bogie raid in the early morning and had G.Q. because of a couple enemy torpedo boats coming in.
The morning of the 13th, about 0900, a couple planes came in, but were so high we could not fire. They were about 17,000 feet.
Been going to G.Q. every night for the past five nights. Today is the 18th. The 17th, we brought an LSM to Kume Jima with radar gear for Radar Picket station. Tonight, the 18th, had some suicide planes come in. C.A.P. shot most of them down, and a couple ships shot down a couple, and a couple more made their dives, but were near misses.
Today is the 23rd. Have been having bogie raids since the 18th every night. However, due to the weather were not too bad. On the 20th, the Japs had a combination plane and sub raid. Four subs were reported and two probably sunk. Forty-five planes came, of which 36 were shot down. Saw one going down in flames. Sure was a pretty sight.
On the 22nd, we were assigned R.P. Station 5. Today, the 23rd, we’re expecting heavy air attack.
Yesterday morning, the 25th, early, about 0200, a number of bombers came low, about 150 feet heading for Ie Shima. Braine and we shot down four believed to have been Betties, but was too dark to identify. About 0800, a Betty came over, dropping a robot, which dropped into the water. Braine and "A" shot down the Betty.
Nothing happened on the 26th. On Sunday, May 27th at 0734, the Braine and the Anthony were attacked by 4 Vals (suicide planes). Three came in off our starboard beam. Shot one down with five-inch battery, another being hit by 40 MM and caught fire, going over No. 2 stack and hitting between gun #2 and the bridge on the Braine. The third went directly for the Braine and hit below #2 stack. The fourth dived in off our Port bow, came just over Gun #2, and crashed in the water on the starboard side amid ships. The Braine was seriously crippled. Due to its speed and continual turning, we were unable to go alongside to help fight fires. We got a message to them to quit turning and pulled up alongside at about 15 knots and helped fight fires. Survivors were being brought to us for medical aid. A couple hours later, an APD, a can & a tug came up the APD and can relieving the Braine and us from picket duty with the tug taking the Braine in tow. We immediately set out for the transport area and put all wounded aboard P.A.’s. The next morning, we set out for Karama Retto for repairs to radar and after stack. We are still here the 2nd of June. Have had a few bogie raids almost every night. While out on picket duty, we were credited with four bombers and two Vals.
The evening of the fourth, we were underway for R.P. 15, north of Okinawa. Bogie raids every night, so we were up for most of it. The afternoon of the fifth, we were attacked by four Vals but all were shot down by CAP and RPP. On the evening of June 8, about 1900, while we were at evening G.Q. two Vals sneaked in off our starboard quarter and were within 2000 yards before seen, due to the closeness of the water to them. They were about two feet off the water. After twenties and forties opened fire, the leading one turning and going around our fantail to the port side, the other turning away from us. The leading one came up our Port side and blew up about five feet from the bow causing four men to jump off the Forecastle. They were picked up by the LCS’s later. (NOTE: We heard a Chief was hit on the head by a clock knocked off the wall by the explosion.)
We came back to Karama Retto and fueled, reporting to the transport area on the tenth. On the twelfth, we got underway for RP #9, in the morning. No bogies until the evening of the 15th when a TB came in and believed to have dropped a fish or two, but hitting no one. Two or three underwater explosions were felt and heard. We did not get the plane but was burning while leaving. The morning of the 16th, back in Karama Retto for fuel and stores.
On June 20, we went out on RP 15 again. The ships we relieved had no bogies. On the night of the 21st, bombers came over but did not bother us. The same next night. On the 24th, we received our long awaited orders to report to Leyte by July 1. That night, we were relieved and reported to Karama Retto for fuel. Next morning we went to transport area. That night we formed our squadron and on our way to Leyte, to form TF 33, with the new Alaska and Guam, and six other cruisers. Arrived in Leyte June 29. Nothing eventful on the way.
It is now July 12, 1945. We are still in Leyte but expect to get underway tomorrow with TF 33. Don’t know yet what we’re in for.
Pulled out of Leyte on July 17 and we are a unit of TF 95. We are with the Alaska, Guam, Montpelier, Cleveland, Denver, & Columbia. Got into Buckner Bay, Okinawa about July 22. On the 24th, got underway to make an anti shipping sweep along the China Coast, between Foo Chow & Shanghai. Nothing was encountered except for a few Chinese fishing craft. We shot at a few before identifying them as Chinese. Went back to Okinawa the next day.
About July 27, we started on another sweep up the China coast off the mouth of the Yankzte River. Got up there the 28th and began our sweep at night. Had a bogey contact and surface contact at the same time. Bogie did not come in for attack. Fired at the surface contact, turned out be Chinese Junk. We killed two of them and sank junk. One of the division went out to pick up survivors. Started out for Buckner Bay that morning. Got in on the 29th. Had a few raids while we were there but nothing happened.
We stayed until August 2 because of typhoons reported around. On Aug. 2, we pulled out for another sweep in the same place as the last. Just about ready to commence sweep when we reversed course because of the typhoon in our vicinity. August 3 started north again for sweep between the mouth of the Yangtze River and Kyushu. The night of August 4 we went to G.Q. on last lap of sweep. Early morning of August 5, we started back, made one surface contact, but disappeared a few seconds later. August 6, at 1600, pulled into Buckner Bay, Okinawa. On Aug. 10, at 2200, we received news of the Japanese unconditional surrender. All day of the 11th,, we waited for news from Washington. Heard 62% of the people wanted to keep on with the war. About 0100, morning of the 12th, we woke up with the news of our acceptance of the Japanese surrender with one term, that one allied commander would be in command over Hiro Hito. Now we are waiting for the Japanese acceptance.
The 13th 14th and 15th, we are still waiting for the Japs to answer to our terms. On the 16th, we received word that they had accepted. During the last three days, we have been going out of Buckner Bay every night because of too much danger from Kamikaze planes and torpedo planes. On the 16th, we retired again. The United States sent word to the Japs to have their ambassadors proceed to Ie Shima and from there flown by our planes to the allied commander in chief, McArthur in the Philippines. On the 17th, they did not show up, so the commander, McArthur, sent word to the Japs to be in Ie Shima for sure on the 18th. They showed up at about 1200 (Okinawa time), and were then flown to the Philippines by C-54 transport planes. On the night of August 19, 1945, the Japanese signed a formal declaration of peace. President Truman proclaimed Sunday, August 19, 1945 V-J Day. The war is officially over!!!
The writers name was David J. Audet.