I graduated from Capital Hill High School in May 1943. During my senior year, I new that I was going to be drafted so my Dad and I began to make some plans. Burney Chaffin (a friend of Dad's) was a member of the draft board and he advised us that I should ask to be a selective-volunteer when it was time to be drafted. Well, that time came and I volunteered for the United States Navy and entered the service on September 1, 1943 Mom and Dad along with Jayne, Hoyt and family saw me off on the train at the Santa Fe depot. I arrived in San Diego, CA by train about two days later.
When we arrived at San Diego we were loaded on buses to the Naval Training Station. When we pulled into the NTS a lot of the men who were already in boot camp shouted to us "you will be sorry" and "watch out for the square needle in your left nut" to scare us even more than we were already. After all, we were only 18 years old and probably the first time we had been anywhere without our parents. We were herded into the chow hall and fed our first Navy meal. I could swear that they had put a laxative in the spinach we had because the next morning most of us had the diarrhea.
The next morning we were issued our gear (clothing, hammock, sea bag, etc.). We later lined up for drill and exercise. We drilled and exercised all day in the hot sun and my nose peeled about ten times. Someone said that their mother told them to put vinegar on your nose at chow time since we didn't know about sun blocks. I think that is the reason that I have had so many skin cancers on my face and arms. Well, this was continued for four solid weeks and we became pretty tough. I didn't mention that we had our hair cut really short crew cut style. We drilled with a rifle which became pretty heavy by the end of the day. A lot of the time we were so tired that we went to bed immediately after being dismissed for the day. It also kept you hopping to do your laundry by hand and a bucket of cold water if you were lucky enough to get a bucket. We had a brush called a Ki Yi brush that we used to brush our clothes clean. One time a couple of recruits failed to keep their clothes clean and the drill Petty Officer dumped all of their clothes on the hard top and the entire company marched over them and then they were ordered to clean them
The last two weeks of our six week boot camp was spent marching and drilling but a little less so that we could do some testing and competition. One of the funny things that happened during this period was that one day our company ( about 120 men) was assembled at a boxing ring along with several other companies and we were to choose a fighter to compete. Well, Jim "Cotton" Wood and Jack Evans were in my company and all of us were from Oklahoma City so Cotton Wood and I volunteered Jack Evans to be our fighter. It was the funniest thing because the other guy had the reach and height on Jack, but good ole" Jack stayed in there and his face got scarlet red. He still holds that against us. (Note Last year Cotton Wood invited Jack Evans and Ito an anniversary dinner at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club for dinner). The testing was to determine what specialty school we might qualify for and for strength training competition. I qualified for the medical corps school as I wanted to work in a laboratory. So at the end of boot camp I went to Balboa Park where the Navy had a Corpsman School for another six weeks. During the break between boot camp and corps school Mom and Jayne came to San Diego for a visit.
While in corps school I studied Matera Medica (medications), Anatomy and Physiology, First Aid and Nursing. We were told that if we made good grades that we would be able to choose the hospital that we would continue our training. I had a 97 % grade average and thought that was pretty good until the evening came for us to choose our hospital. Sure enough the Naval Hospital at Norman, OK was one of the hospitals and I thought I had a cinch until they began to read off those who had 100% and higher than mine, but as luck would have it, I was able to choose Norman. When I arrived in Norman, just before Christmas 1943, I was thrilled to death to get back near home and my folks and friends I worked in the Contagion Ward where we had men who had measles, chicken pox, scarlet fever and spinal meningitis.
I think that I saved a boy's life who had measles, scarlet fever and spinal meningitis all at one time and was in an oxygen tent when I was assigned to take care of him. I had to shave him, brush his teeth and everything because he was just barely able to talk and understand what I was saying to him. Anyway when he opened his mouth I stuck something in it like juice or soup. He was so bad that the Chaplain came in one day and gave him the "last rights". I was able to see him get up and become an ambulatory patient while recuperating before I was ordered to duty outside the Continental United States.
I was transferred to the Naval Training Station Lido Beach, Long Island, NY to await further orders for duty outside the Continental United States. While there, a man from Tecumseh, Jack Hardin ( now deceased), and another man whose name I forget was from Enid palled around and went on liberty together. We went to the Paramount Theater, Radio City Music Hall, Orpheum Theater and others. I think that we went to the USO and I met a girl who invited me to a party after we had been dancing at the club. She thought that I was from New York City I could not believe it with my Okie accent.
We got our orders February 21, 1944 and boarded LST 285 in Bayonne, NJ at about 1630. The ship left Bayonne at 0800 the next day for Boston and I had galley duty all the way up the East Coast that day. We arrived at Boston about 2200 and left for Halifax, Nova Scotia the next day at 1100. We arrived in Halifax at 1600, February 26, 1944 and some of the fellows had liberty, I stayed aboard. We remained docked in Halifax until the next day, February 28,1944 when we left for England across the North Atlantic on this "floating bathtub", "large stationary target", the LST. I will now divert to my diary format.
2/28/44 Left Halifax for England
2/29/44 Water fairly rough. Have top bunk (three high). Chow pretty bad so am living mostly on almond Hershey's.
3/1/44 Going along fairly well--Cit, Karsh and I play a lot of casino. Very rough at night. A time or two I was awakened holding myself in my bunk it was so rough. Very cold topside and went up one time and saw icicles as large as your body hanging from our davits. Rarely go up to topside and ship is pretty stuffy without fresh air.
3/2/44 Beautiful day.
3/3,4,5/44 Fairly rough water-have a small escort--approximately 45 ships in convoy.
3/6/44 Nearing the Azores--had submarine scare
3/7/44 Near Spain and Portugal.
3/8/44 Changed course from Azores, 750 miles from Bordeaux., France
3/9/44 Changed course to due North and picked up more escort vessels. Have General Quarters (GQ), night and morning all the way.
3/10/44 Very calm--changing course often. Had sub alert lasting three hours Sub reported sunk at 2300 Sighted first airplane.
3/11/44 Off coast of Ireland going NNE--fairly rough.
3/12/44 Water very rough.
3/13/44 Sighted Ireland at 1635. First land seen since 2/28/44. Saw airplane while topside with a fellow from West Virginia named McKinney. While with him we asked him "what is that out yonder McKinney" and he said "that there's a flying machine" We thought that was a pretty funny colloquialism.
3/14/44 Traveling down the Irish Sea. Water green and the land very pretty. Airplanes flying overhead.
3/15/44 Anchored off of Milfordhaven, Wales at 1030 and left at 1800 for Plymouth, England. While anchored saw some British airplanes, Lancasters.
3/16/44 Anchored of Plymouth at 1730 ñ had first liberty ñ Town was pitch black (black out). City had been bombed to pieces. We saw numerous ruins. The city was like stepping back in time 50 years.
3/17/44 Ship tied down at Castledown Wharf's to unload ñ had 210 tons ammunition. We traded diesel fuel in our bilge for water. 3/18/44 The LCT that we had lashed to our topdeck was launched sideways from the deck. Had liberty and went to the show with a buddy, Coppock. I believe this is the time I pulled a stupid thing. All of the guys that went on liberty had a ticket to Glenn Miller's concert that evening. We younger guys went with some older guys who got some Haige & Haige scotch whiskey. We could not carry it around in the bottle so we (8 of us) proceeded to finish the two bottles on the steps of an air-raid shelter. Well, one of the old English ladies thought that was terrible and that we would contaminate their shelter and berated us sharply. Anyway, after drinking all of that scotch and going to the hot un-air-conditioned movie, I got sick and rushed to the restroom, but did not make it and while holding my hand over my mouth the pressure was so great, I puked all over my uniform. I had to go back to the ship and gave my ticket to a British sailor. How stupid.
3/19/44 Nothing doing just recuperating.
3/20/44 Finally got paid but had plenty of money anyway
3/21/44 Sent money order to Dad who said that he would match whatever I sent home
3/24/44 Left Plymouth for Fowey by train--traveled first class--slept most of the way--beautiful country Arrived at 1100 in Fowey--Hiked to camp about I 1/2 miles
3/25/44 Attending classes (lectures) in amphibians operations, handling gas casualties--very interesting. I forgot to mention a First Class Pharmacists Mate John S. Gren from Providence, RI who was in our group. He apparently was a policeman and quite a bit older than most of us. He was arrogant, egotistical and thought he was smarter and better than any of us HAs (Hospital Corpsman). Well, by the time we got to Fowey everyone including the Doctors hated his guts. While we lived in the Quonset huts, some of the guys from another hut went in back and fashioned a mock grave. It had old dead weeds, empty cans, broken bottles, signs saying "piss or shit here" and a tombstone reading "Here lies the body of Pharmacists Mate First Class John S Gren, who lived and died a prick. We went on long hikes and us HAs used to sing" John Gren's body lies a molderin" in the grave, John Gren's body lies a molderin" in the grave, John Gren's body lies a molderin" in the grave, as we go marching on" "Glory, glory to the HAs, Glory, glory to the HAs, Glory, glory to the HAs, as we go marching on !". All of this time he would be walking with us and I guess didn't get it. He never changed.
3/26/44 Had liberty in Fowey--everything closed. Very historic place--one movie house.
3/27/44 Classes continued--camp built by Seabees--Quonset huts--plenty of dirt and dust. See movies every night also my first USO show overseas.
3/31/44 Left Fowey for Plymouth by truck--roads lined with huge stores of ammunition and bombs. Country very hilly--beautiful though. Received first mail since leaving the states.
4/5/44 Movies aboard ship. Had swell time on liberty. Bought some British colonial stamps and started collection. Huge amount of PAs, LSTs, destroyers, etc. anchored in Bay--Cruiser Augusta was there.
4/12/44 Got paid again--really was welcomed.
4/14,15,16/44 Had movies every night aboard ship.
4/17/44 Practiced handling patients, made Vaseline gauze bandages for burns and 4 x 4s. Had an air-raid but no bombs were dropped--thank God.
4/18/44 Practiced air attack on ship--assimilated patients.
4/24/44 Left Plymouth at 0930 for Falmouth--arrived at 1700 Reports of possible air raid on Plymouth by Nazis due to huge concentration of ships
4/26/44 Had practice drill in raising patients from small boats then lowering them down to the tank deck.
4/27/44 Left Falmouth at 0630 for Portland and Weymouth area in convoy--fairly heavy convoy Had a rhino and barge tied behind us Seabees on rhino
4/28/44 Arrived in Weymouth harbor at 1100 Reported German E-boats waiting for our convoy. Shelled and torpedoed other LSTs at 0130--three reported sunk--huge amount of casualties. We were never touched. 4/30/44 All liberty in Weymouth area is restricted. Expect troops aboard soon.
5/1/44 Ship loaded with Army equipment and troops--have ten ducks and a large number of trucks aboard also personnel.
5/2/44 Soldiers slept on deck, ate on deck with own mess gear. Met a fellow from Oklahoma City who knew Dad. All soldiers were veterans of the African Invasion.
5/3/44 Pulled out of Weymouth harbor into Bay off Portland.
5/4/44 Left Portland at 0200 on maneuvers--traveling in huge convoy--arrived at Torquay at 1800. Unloaded supplies on rhino--pretty hard in rough sea--finished unloading about 2230. This was all practice for the coming invasion.
5/5/44 Received six Army casualties from a duck at Torquay. Left Torquay at 1000 for Portland--arrived at 1800. Traveled in large convoy. Three LSTs reported sunk by German E-boats night before we left. Report was false.
5/7/44 Had ice cream second time since leaving the States. Had 3 GQs at night--2400, 0230, 0530.
5/8/44 Got medical supplies.
5/9/44 Received more medical supplies. Had liberty in Weymouth--very nice city--went dancing--no sign of bombing.
5/10/44 Had lecture on first aid.
5/11,12/44 Nothing doing except for a few details.
5/13/44 Harbor is still filled up with LSTs, LCTs, PAs and LCIs.
5/14/44 Ship went out for target practice--shot several hundred rounds of shells at sleeve towed by an airplane--no hits.
5/15/44 Weymouth had an air raid--several bombs dropped. Anti-aircraft and rocket fire was terrific. Planes reported shot down over channel. Shrapnel falling on ship. No GQ. Had good news--our group is being split up. I am being sent to LST 75. Started to pack. Very glad to leave this ship Captain is a dud.
5/16/44 Got all packed in preparation for leaving ship at 1000 did not leave today as LST 75 is out to sea somewhere--expect to leave in three days.
5/17/44 Ship went out on gunnery practice, but due to foul weather was forced to return to harbor. Went on liberty in Weymouth and had chow--did not fill me up. Found swell place for fish and chips--ate like a horse for one shilling. Had a few beers (bitters about 1 % alcohol) went to a movie and back to the ship.
5/18/44 Got mail from home.
5/19/44 Received more mail. Had a "bottle" problem aboard ship with some of the crew. Still waiting to be transferred Nothing new aboard ship. Still have to wear undress blues.
5/20/44 Ship went out on new maneuvers--lowering our ramp down onto the stern of a LCT--being tied up to our bow. Took too long. Crew got paid and we did not.
5/21/44 Ship left buoy and tied up at the hard (dock) to take on water and defuel oil--pulled out about 2100 to go back to the buoy. Received mail. Still no sign of LST 75
5/22/44 Was awakened at 0430--ship was to go to Falmouth--orders changed at 0600 (this is an example of the type of Captain we had--indecision). Got a letter from home. LST 75 finally showed up.
Everything was packed in 1/2 hour to leave LST 285 and we did at 2000. Boarded LST 75 at 2300. Helped unload sea bags from small boat and got screwed on sacks. Gren still unbearable. Had GQ at 0130--slept well all night. Got paid finally and we played poker etc. in the mess halls when the Captain came through. He was concerned about our getting settled and having a good time. As he passed through the mess halls he asked if everyone was having a good time and they said yes and he said anything that is good for the morale.
5/23/44 Had morning exercise on board LST 75--took inventory of the medical supplies aboard ship. Getting ready for the invasion Very good chow for a change.
5/24/44 Had morning exercises. Ship went out to target practice--1000 to 1330--gunners shot down sleeve - damn good shots. Got new kapok life jackets--ship returned to harbor. Cruiser Augusta pulled into harbor with escorts. Also a new LSD, Melville, which was really big. It is a repair ship complete with machine shop and everything
5/25/44 Had a rather busy day--field day in the morning and at 1120 had to fall in on topside to stand Admiral's Inspection. Got a load of medical supplies aboard. Plenty of clothing for chemical warfare. The Cruiser Augusta pulled out
5/26/44 Had exercises--continued work on tank deck--preparing operating room--loading supplies--crew very helpful as opposed to LST 285 crew. Went on liberty--ate in town and went to the show.
5/27/44 Ship pulled onto "hard" to defuel--took on load of food, medical and other supplies. Made Vaseline gauze for burns 23 LSTs--13 PAs--and countless LCTs and LCIs in harbor. French Battleship Paris anchored in bay.
5/28/44 Had GQ at 0100--Nazi planes dropping depth charges and mines--no damage done. Anti-aircraft fire terrific looked like July 4th--explosions very close to ship. Some planes shot down--lasted until 0150. Several mines were exploded during the day, some close to ship. Minesweepers were combing harbor all day. One LCVP was blown up--no casualties--dead fish all over. Boerer gave one of his salmon feasts. Had a swell time.
5/29/44 Had GQ at 0140--not as bad as night before--a dense screening smoke covered complete harbor. Awoke coughing from smoke in our compartment.
5/30/44 Helped prepare bandages. Pulled into hard and defueled. Prepared for liberty but was canceled. Given talk by the Captain about coming invasion. We all had beer aboard ship (Pabst). All ships are sealed.
5/31/44 Had gas mask drill--LSTs being loaded. Not allowed to talk to soldiers on ship already loaded which pulled along side us--everything strict secrecy.
6/1/44 More gas mask drills--was given new eye shields and BA1 and S461 ointments (these were for chemical burns, etc.). Had more beer--really good--much better than English beer.
6/2/44 Had another gas mask drill. Was last ship to load the Army. Given talk about invasion by our Dr. Knight who said that we would get promoted to Pharmacists Mate 3/c by July 1, 1944. Tank deck now prepared as wards--will start work as soon as we unload army.
6/3/44 Made final preparations for 0. R. and wards. Invasion due to start most any hour. Had a feast of Tuna fish sandwiches & onions--furnished by Boerer & Reiter--Drs. joined us. These guys received a lot of canned food from their families by mail.
6/4/44 All LSTs were out of Portland harbor this morning--all returned later in the day--well over 50 to 75 LSTs in the group. Scuttlebutt still raging about invasion Had the finest dinner yet since in the Navy--Steak and ice cream--chocolate syrup.
6/5/44 My birthday (19). All LCTs left Portland Harbor--rumors still flying. All LSTs pulled out into the bay towing rhinos at 0900. All ships got underway at 1800 for invasion of Normandy. Huge escort of battleships, cruisers, destroyers, PTs and Minesweepers. A hell of a way to spend a birthday.
6/6/44 The invasion officially started at 0630--after invasion coast had been shelled by naval forces starting at 0515. Thousands of planes, bombers flew over entire coast saying nothing of the fighter aircraft. There were so many bombers that you could hardly see the sun. Traveled in convoy of LSTs. Ships could be seen as far as the eye could see all around us.
Planes constantly flying overhead. Bombers, pursuit and airborne troops kept cover over us. Nearing the coast of France very little gunfire can be heard. Thousands of ships in the area--every type of landing craft to battleships shelling the coast. There seems to be very little damage to naval vessels--1 LCT shelled and partially sunk with three big Sherman tanks in it. Stayed eight miles off shore--water very rough--very difficult to unload. Air support very good. Had an air raid by JU-88s just barely missed our ship--dropped mines close to us--none of LSTs hit--our barrage balloon saved our ship. Our gunners shot down one of the planes.
6/7/44 Battleships and destroyers shelling the coast--barrage very great. Planes flying over by the hundreds. No enemy planes--casualties reported to be very heavy in first wave. LCTs, LCVPs and LCIs were battered--many bodies and equipment laying around. Allies still advancing. Started to unload late in the afternoon. Started receiving patients in LCVPs--unable to unload equipment completely. Stories are very conflicting as to casualties and damage to equipment. Had to use LCT to unload. Some of the patients have minor shrapnel and bullet wounds--others are pretty well shot up. Some more patients were brought in by LCMs and LCVPs. JU-88 again attacked ships at night--no damage. They were driven off by naval gunfire. Anchored one mile off beach (Omaha--Neptune)--worked all night. Short of ammunition on beach we supplied.
6/8/44 Finally unloaded Army equipment--receiving more patients. Had our two make shift operating rooms going full blast. Some of the wounded are in critical condition--penicillin--whole blood--everything possible being done to save them. We now have a total of 70 patients including one Nazi bastard, who is wounded in the foot--arrogant as hell. Soldiers tell stories of the bloody mess and the heroism on the beach. All naval craft have unloaded on beach. Forming a convoy to go back to Portland. Many Nazis are prisoners on other LSTs. Finally got underway. Worked practically night and day--three hours sleep.
6/9/44 Traveled all night--reached Portland at 1230 waiting our turn to unload patients. One patient died out of all. He had peritonitis--penicillin was used on him--also whole blood and glucose--he was seriously wounded and was being operated on, bullets and shrapnel removed--again worked most of the day and night--had 4 hours sleep.
6/10/44 Started working early--everything much more settled. Most of the patients are walking around -everyone seems well on their way to recovery. LST 502 pulled along side and took our patients as they were going to unload. Helped clean up the tank deck which was a mess. Had my first real nights sleep in 6 days. Got some mail.
6/11/44 Had a swell chicken dinner. Went into Portland and reloaded with more Army equipment. Saw numerous LCTs unloading German prisoners. Ship anchored off Weymouth in Bay waiting for convoy
6/12/44 Got underway at 0300 for France--traveling with 12 other LSTs--very beautiful day--airplanes giving us air protection. Had GQ at 0800--destroyer dropped several depth charges--alert lasted 3/4 of an hour. Sighted France at 1730 were to unload at Omaha beach. Two battleships and droves of destroyers off beach. About 100 freighters and liberty ships anchored off shore unloading by ducks. Transferred to Utah beach to unload. Gun fire can be heard in the distance. Everything fairly calm. LST sunk and three or four freighters. Unable to unload because of tide. Anchored off shore. Note: I will attempt to explain how we unloaded on the Utah beach. We waited till high tide and then we would head straight for the beach at full speed and our bow would push into the sand. When the tide went out we were left high and dry on the beach. Navy Seabees would bring their bulldozers and build a mound of sand so that we could lower our ramp and unload. After unloading the tank deck we Hospital Corpsman would turn it into a hospital. The tank deck would hold three semi trailer trucks wide and six deep--18 in all. So you see it was pretty big.
6/13/44 Had GQ 0100--German planes attacking ships were driven off. Unloaded equipment on rhinos and LCTs--took about 2 1/2 hours. Can hear heavy gunfire in the distance Getting ready for casualties. Standing by for convoy--we did not receive any casualties Cit and I took pictures from topside. Lost anchor while leaving France.
6/14/44 Water very rough--was rammed by another LST at 0200--very little damage. Pulled into Portland Harbor with other LSTs. Saw the LST 285--called to some of the fellows. Had a big party--1st anniversary of the LST 75--had beer, cake and free carton of cigarettes--Nick and I put on our little song and dance routine--had a swell show--dancing, singing and boxing.
6/15/44 Pulled into "hard" to reload--Got another anchor and barrage balloon. Pulled out into Bay--left for France at 2200. Water very rough.
6/16/44 Traveled all night--sighted land at 1230--reached Omaha at 1635--due to beach at 2000--beaches seem fairly quiet plenty of Allied planes flying overhead--ships still shelling further up the coast--an occasional land mine goes off. Pulled into beach
6/17/44 Had another air raid by JU-88s at midnight--no damage. LSTs unloading on beach. Pulled off of beach and awaited convoy at 0710. Left France at 1200--traveling in huge convoy. Reached Portland at 0230--smooth trip.
6/18/44 Pulled into harbor and loaded up. Saw the LST 285 and visited with the fellows. Had a Salami feast compliments of Boerer.
6/19/44 Shoved off for France at 0615. Eight LSTs and about ten cargo vessels in convoy--water very rough--two other convoys joined up at 1300. Have plenty of escort vessels--passed an awful lot of debris. Pulled into the break water and dropped anchor at 2115--will probably unload tomorrow--very rough.
6/20/44 Nazi planes flew over beach area--no damage done. Ish has meningitis so will have to watch him. Still and water very rough.
6/21/44 Had GQ at 0210--Nazi planes--no damage. Still anchored off beach--water very rough.
6/22/44 Slept straight through night--no GQ. Beached at 1800 and unloaded. Stepped on French soil -found few shells. Mine exploded 100 feet from ship. 18 pounds of dynamite removed from under our stern. Pulled off beach and anchored off of Omaha beach Had GQ at 0015--no damage.
6/23/44 Waiting for convoy--took aboard several survivors. Refueled 3 LSTs and 1 LCT Convoy left at 1600--water very calm.
6/24/44 Reached Portland about 04-00--mail held up in London--no mail for six days. Reloaded and awaiting convoy Trip # 5.
6/25/44 Water very calm--had sub alert--depth charges dropped. Traveling in large convoy and sighted France at 1100. Unloaded and received 15 very serious casualties ( abdominal wounds)
6/26/44 Left for England at 1230. Patients doing fine as can be expected. Water very calm. Portland reached at 2020, a record run, 9 hr and 50 minutes, Unloaded casualties--received mail--thank God.
6/27/44 Ship on hard starting to reload. Left Portland for France at 2200. Water fairly rough.
6/28/44 Reached France at 1200. Two more LSTs sunk off Utah. Went up on beach at 1600. Unloaded at 1900. Received 271 casualties aboard ship including British and Nazi. Started to work on casualties at 2100. Huge columns of Nazi prisoners seen marching to stockade. Worked very hard this trip all of us very tired.
6/29/44 Started back to Portland at 1230. Have all kinds of wounded (Note One of my patients had his legs blown off and was in a lot of pain. He wanted some more morphine but his records showed he had all that he was allowed in that time period. I told him I would speak with the Doctor. I got him a couple of APCs and told him that the Doctor had ordered them and that they were the strongest sedative we had and if they did not work , that was all we could do. After giving them to him and checking on him later, he was sound asleep. Another of my patients was an army Major who asked me to change his dressings. I asked him how he had gotten the two holes in the cheeks of his butt. He said that he had a grenade in each hip pocket and was hit by shrapnel which set them off. If he hadn't hit the dirt fast he would have been blown in two pieces. When I removed the Vaseline gauze there were maggots all over and the wound was very clean I removed the maggots and sterilized the wound and replaced the Vaseline gauze. He drank hot coffee while I tried to be easy. Made trip back to England in 10 hr. Three liberty ships sunk in our convoy. Received mail.
6/30/44 Started to unload patients at 0100--finished unloading at 0300. Scrubbed down the tank deck -went to sleep at 0530. Ship started reloading at 0600. Shoved off for France at 1600 alone--I escort vessel--acting as escort for LCTs which will be used against air attack.
7/1/44 Traveling very slow--sighted France at 1115. Started to unload about midnight at low tide.
7/2/44 Started preparing for patients--received 81 casualties including 1 Nazi--all ambulatory. Received a sailor from U S.S Butler with appendicitis. We operated on him Worked all night Left for England at 1000. Had sub alert at 1900--nothing happened.
7/3/44 Pulled into hard about 0800 ñ unloaded casualties ñ started to re-load. Shoved off to France at 2200.
7/4/44 Traveled all night--freighter sunk about 200 yards ahead of us. Destroyer picking up survivors at 0645. Sighted France at 1015. Anchored off Utah at 1400--waiting for high tide so we can beach. Beached at 2200 and unloaded at 0200. All ships off beach sent up flares for July 4th--quite a sight.
7/5/44 Received 70 patients at 0730--1/2 ambulatory. Sprung bow ramp going off beach--moved over to Omaha and stayed all night. Patients getting along very well--some fairly serious.
7/6/44 Left for England at 1030 traveling in 40 ship convoy. Weather nice. We are leading the convoy. Reached Portland at 2300 and went into hard--unloaded and started reloading army.
7/7/44 Ship reloaded at 0400. Pulled off of hard at 0830--awaiting convoy.
7/8/44 Left for France last night at 2200--we are leading ship (mine sweeper). Sighted France at 1100 -beached at 1400 14 LSTs on beach. Ship unloaded at 1600--awaiting casualties. Have a hole as big as a watermelon in our water tank--no other damage. Received 162 casualties--90 stretcher cases. Stern anchor caught in starboard screw.
7/9/44 Left Utah for Omaha beach and proceeded to Portland at 1030. Traveling on one engine. Many patients have amputated arms and legs--none very serious. Headed into storm--water rough.
7/10/44 Anchored at 0200 off Portland--tied to buoy at 0930. Casualties taken off by LCT. Got paid and finally got mail. Had liberty first time since the middle of May--really felt good.
7/11/44 Had field day--pulled along side of Melville to have screw fixed. Divers worked all day. May get a rest for a few days--catch up on laundry.
7/12/44 Sent money order. Ship still being repaired.
7/13/44 Ship fully repaired and will have a steak dinner.
7/14/44 Will probably load up this afternoon. Prepared to load at hard at 1400. Got another sea bag on Melville. Have heavy load of Sherman tanks and Guns. Pulled off of hard into harbor at 2330.
7/15/44 Left for France at 0500. Low flying planes forced up huge sound mine only 1000 ft from us. A Corvette shot mine at 1000. Weather good. Beached at 2000--started to unload at 2330.
7/16/44 Pulled off of beach at 0400. Beached again at 0800 to unload heavy tractor driven 155 mm Howitzer (Long Tom) cannon. Stayed on beach all afternoon and had American beer on beach--played baseball. Received 55 casualties This makes a total of 719 casualties to date. Pulled off beach at 2000
7/17/44 Started working in 0 R and like it fine. Very heavy fog--unable to leave for Portland. Patients doing very well. Two very serious with peritonitis. Operated on one--took 1 3/4 hr. Left for England at 1600. Fog cleared. Due to go to London--Skipper refused. Had a broadcast from ship over BBC.
7/18/44 Dropped anchor at 0400 at Portland--pulled into harbor and tied to buoy--started to unload casualties onto a LCT at 0915. Had a steak dinner--nothing doing the rest of the day. Reloaded at 2030 with armored vehicles--pulled off of hard at 2315.
7/19/44 Left Portland at 0500. Past Cherbourg at 1600--took different route. Reached Utah beach at 2300. Unable to beach. Met a fellow from McAlester, OK named Cometti.
7/20/44 Still anchored off beach--heavy fog. .Cleared later so beached and unloaded at 1700. Received 153 casualties at 1800--mostly stretcher cases. Worked hard in 0.R. all night.
7/21/44 Very foggy--water rough- raining. Stayed anchored all day off Utah beach.
7/22/44 Water much calmer--left for Omaha at 0730 and left in convoy for Portland at 2300.
7/23/44 Pulled into Portland at 0730 and unloaded casualties. Had liberty at 1300 ship reloaded.
7/24/44 Convoy led by us left 0500 for France. Passed Cherbourg at 1500. Reached Utah and anchored 2130.
7/25/44 Had a severe air raid 0130--we were hit. Beached at 0330 and was rammed while on beach by another LST 262 C G--severe damage done to aft 40mm gun and turret. Unloaded Army at 0830--visited other LSTs--had no casualties. Counted large formation of bombers headed for Germany--1759--besides the fighters and smaller bombers.
7/26/44 Sailed for Omaha and left for Portland at 1100--swell day. Passed Cherbourg and was able to see city on this clear day. Reached Portland at 2345.
7/27/44 Pulled into Portland along side another LST at 0800.
7/28/44 Still tied up in harbor--unusual numbers of LSTs anchored in harbor. Something is brewing.
7/29/44 Still anchored in harbor--had liberty--saw show and went to a dance at the Pier.
7/30/44 Received no mail--ship pulled into hard and loaded up at 1030. Anchored in Bay at 1815.
7/31/44 Left for France at 0700. Weather fair--passed Cherbourg at 1530--beached at 2130. Unable to unload because we were on a sand bar--thus making the grade too high for vehicles to off load.
8/1/44 Pulled off beach at 0400 and re-beached at 0900 at Utah. LST 80 unloaded first--French troops - cameraman taking pictures. Received 135 casualties including 67 Nazis--total casualties to date 1009. Pulled away from beach and anchored about 15 miles out awaiting convoy.
8/2/44 Left our rendezvous at 1045 for Portland--weather fair. Nazis not as arrogant as they were and they really stunk because they were dirty, filthy.
8/3/44 Started loading at 0800--tied to a buoy awaiting orders. Have two soldiers who were wounded and are going back AWOL from hospital.
8/4/44 Left Portland for France at 0700--weather swell. Engines failed at 1700--water mixed in the fuel oil. Oil line quickly fixed--beached at 2400
8/5/44 Unloaded supplies at 0430 and took another group picture--no casualties. Left for Portland at 1030 - screw on port side needs repair. Reached Portland at 1100 and anchored.
8/6/44 Pulled into harbor--had liberty. Did not stay out all night.
8/7/44 Ship pulled into hard to load, but did not load. Got paid. Stayed at hard all day. Skipper refused to leave because of screw. Had more Pabst beer.
8/8/44 Loaded at 0930 pulled off of hard and tied to buoy.
8/9/44 Shoved of for France at 0700--weather clear. Received mail at 1300--reached Utah at 2130.
8/10/44 Beached at 0400--started to unload at 0730. Received 62 casualties including some Free-French -none very serious--dropped anchor in convoy area at 1500--stayed anchored all night.
8/11/44 Shoved off for England at 1600. Passed Cherbourg at 1900--traveling in huge convoy--Cherbourg wide open.
8/12/44 Dropped anchor at 0130. Pulled into Portland and tied to buoy at 0715. Unloaded casualties on LCT--had liberty.
8/13/44 Had steak dinner aboard ship--received mail.
8/14/44 Reloaded with Army supplies and finished at midnight.
8/15/44 Left Portland at 0700 for France. We are the Commodore of the Fleet 21 LSTs in convoy fleet. Announced new landings in Southern France over radio. Reached Utah at 2130 and dropped anchor.
8/16/44 Anchored all night--beached at 1000--19 LSTs on beach. Played baseball on beach--headed for convoy area--no casualties.
8/17/44 Left convoy area at 1100 for Portland--reached Portland at 2100 and dropped anchor.
8/18/44 Entered Portland harbor at 0900 and tied up to buoy. Was ordered to Plymouth and left at 1215. Reached there at 2030 Pulled into Plymouth Harbor and tied up to LST 620. Rumors are we will return to States soon.
8/19/44 Had Captain's Inspection and Skipper said that it was the best he has ever had. Loaded up with high priority equipment for Cherbourg--had liberty.
8/20/44 Pulled into hard at 0900--started loading tractor cranes. Had another round of beer on pier--illegal to serve on board ship.
8/21/44 Pulled away from hard at 0800 and anchored in Plymouth Bay. Left Plymouth at 1445 for Cherbourg--water rough.
8/22/44 Pulled into Weymouth Bay at 0830 and dropped anchor--awaiting the storm to calm.
8/23/44 Still anchored off Weymouth--still fairly rough. Shoved off at 2400 for Cherbourg.
8/24/44 Water very calm--reached Cherbourg at 1040. Pulled into hard at 1215. Took picture of damage to hard area. Harbor lights on at night. First lights I have seen since I left States.
8/25/44 Shoved off at 1830 for Plymouth--traveling in large convoy.
8/26/44 Passed Portland at 0815--traveled unescorted to Plymouth after convoy split at 0730. Reached Plymouth at 1230--started painting tank deck.
8/27/44 Painted all day. Our ship to give a dance tomorrow night.
8/28/44 Bulkheads almost finished--started work on the deck--two days ahead of schedule Met cute Wren at dance--have a date for Thursday.
8/29/44 Continued work on tank deck--more than half of deck chromated--will probably finish first coat tomorrow.
8/30/44 Finished painting with Chromate and painted parts of the deck its final coat of blue paint.
8/31/44 Finished painting 3/4 of deck. Wren unable to meet me because she had a guard detail.
9/1/44 Finished painting deck. Rumors are that we are to leave ship" soon.
9/2/44 Nothing doing all day--rainy outside. Limey weather.
9/3/44 Got underway for Portland at 1415. Water fairly rough. Received results of test Doctor gave us on malaria (92). Will receive additional repairs to ship.
9/4/44 Reached Portland at 0130 and dropped anchor. Pulled inside breakwater and tied to buoy at 0830--strong wind blowing.
9/5/44 Gale subsided--tied up to Melville to have the screw fixed at 0900--worked on tank deck.