The Diary of Vittie Vincent Sablinskas, W.T. 3/c United States Navy


Service Record

Transfers and Changes in Rank
Apprentice Seaman December 1, 1942
Seaman Second Class February 21, 1943
Fireman Third Class November 1, 1943
Fireman Second Class January 1, 1944
Fireman First Class February 1, 1944
Water Tender Third Class July 1, 1944

Physical Record

On Entering the Service December 17, 1942: weight 112 lbs.

April 1, 1943: weight 120 lbs.

September 1, 1944: weight 128 lbs.

Citations, Awards and Decorations

My Buddies in the Service
Mario Leone, WT3/c
122 Berkshire St.
Swampscott, Mass
Les Pierpoint, WT3/c
51 Graham Avenue
Shawmet, Rhode Island
Joseph Crabtree, F1/c
1733 Morton St.
New Castle, Indiana
Warren Weakland, WT3/c
Motor Route 1, Box 141
New Kensington, Penn.
Joe Reardon, Rdm.3/c
Oakland Beach
Rhode Island
Joe Volpe, S1/c
51 Montgomery St.
Cambridge, Mass.
Charles Elliot Blunt, TM3/c
19-1/2 Fayette St.
Cambridge, Mass.
Gerald Ross, F1/c
110 Martense St.
Brooklyn, New York
Joe Murphy, WT3/c
East Main Road, RFD 11
Newport, Rhode Island
Jerry Bubenchik, F1/c
412 Third S. N.E.
Massillon, Ohio
Elmer Seyerle, WT3/c
59 Point View Road
Brentwood — Pittsburgh, Penn.
Earl Park
328 South Potrero
El Monte, Calif.
Charlie Pendleton, WT2/c
Camp Ellis
Saco, Maine
September 8, 1943 — Boston Harbor
This morning sometime we expect to leave Boston and rumors about the ship signify that we are being assigned to the Pacific fleet. So early this morning as we lifted the anchor, it was disclosed that we were heading for Norfolk, Virginia. Every one of us was eager to see the Pacific, but little did some of us realize that they were looking at Boston for the last time and that a few of us would never return. We were finished with our shakedown cruise, the ship was considered in top shape. The only thing to do was to get us out in the Pacific and let us have our crack at the enemy.
September 9, 1943 — Norfolk, Virginia
Vittie Sablinskas We arrived this morning at Norfolk, Virginia. Today before entering port, our skipper Captain Caroll is being transferred off the ship. We had all expected that he was going to be with us in the Pacific but when he said farewell, we knew he was leaving our ship for good. Today I rate liberty, so after squaring all my gear, I decided to go on the beach. This town is one of the worst places for liberty, there is not much one can do to enjoy himself. Wherever one goes he is sure to be in a place where there are plenty of sailors. This place is known to most sailors as Shit City. I’m sure they were justified in calling it that.
September 10, 1943 — At Sea
Liberty has been cancelled as word has come over the speaker to make preparations for getting underway. We left Norfolk going full speed and after we had been outside the Harbor word was passed to us that we were proceeding to the Panama Canal. There are a few destroyers with us and also the aircraft carrier Bunker Hill. Our new Captain, by the way, whose name is Marshall Dornin seems to be okay. So far he has shown the crew that he can handle this ship okay. As we are making good speed we expect to reach our destination in about a week’s time if all goes well as it should.
September 16, 1943 — Panama Canal
We arrived at Panama this morning. I was a bit excited for all I had ever done was read about this Canal, never had I thought that someday I would be passing thru it and see for myself just how the locks and gates are used. The Canal itself is long and thin, and as (we) sailed along we noticed many hidden gun emplacements. After passing thru the locks and reaching the other side of the canal, we anchored at Balboa, where we took aboard stores, ammunition and fuel. How long we expect to be here no one seems to know but liberty has been promised to all hands, so we do believe it will be a few days at least.
September 18, 1943 — Balboa, Panama
We have been here two days and will leave Panama tomorrow morning. I was fortunate to get two days of liberty and believe me, the crew as well as myself enjoyed this place. Everything here is pretty cheap. The most important street in this place is called Cocoanut Grove and though it has no resemblance to the one that is in Boston, many sailors will agree that it is a lot better in providing entertainment for the serviceman. The favorite drink here was rum and coke and though many a place was restricted to sailors as well as Army personnel, many places were found where enjoyment was plentiful.
September 20, 1943 — At Sea
We have been underway for two days now and our destination is San Diego, California. We expect to be there on the twenty-fifth. We are still with the aircraft carrier as well as the other destroyers. Today one of the planes off the carrier crashed into the sea. As one of our lookouts spotted him floating in a life raft, our destroyer was sent out to rescue him. When we came over to where he was, we could see many sharks circling about his life raft. When he came aboard he was shivering to beat hell and all he could say was, “Has anyone got a Camel?” He was sorry to lose his plane, yet he was more than grateful to be alive.
September 25, 1943 — San Diego, Calif.
As dawn fell upon us this morning, off into the horizon could be seen the coastline of California. We entered port shortly, upon which liberty was granted. This place was very much similar to Norfolk, the similarity being that every place one went was crowded with servicemen. To get away from this, several of us sailors acquired special passes to go to Tijuana, Mexico, which was about fifty miles away. Liberty here was good. While I was here in California, I wanted very much to call home, for I knew I was leaving the States and that it would be a long time before I had any hopes to returning. But after being here four days we were told we would leave here on the following morning.
September 29, 1943 — At Sea
This morning we set sail and were told that our destination was Pearl Harbor. With our ships set on a straight course we were told that this trip would be a speed run. None of us knew the exact amount of days it would take but we knew that this trip would be as short as we possibly could make it. For three days we continued to go at a steady cruising speed and on the fourth day we arrived at Pearl Harbor. It is believed that we had established some sort of a record, thought none of us were quite sure. Nevertheless, the exact hours and minutes it took us to reach our destination was sent to the Bureau of Ships and I am sure they were well satisfied.
October 3, 1943 — Pearl Harbor
Upon entering this port, most of us sailors stood up on deck and with our own eyes we were eagerly watching to see just how much damage had been inflicted on us from the enemy. But to our surprise, everything seemed to be repaired. The only evidence that showed were the battleships Arizona, Utah, and Colorado which laid half sunken in the channel. Already salvaging parties were working to bring these three ships to the surface. But all in all, Pearl Harbor showed no ill signs of damage, only now the place was filled with warships and the island heavily armed. Pearl Harbor would not be caught napping again.
October 17, 1943 — At Sea
Right now we are just outside of Pearl Harbor. We have been out here for two days now practicing different maneuvers with carriers. It has been hard work right along, for general quarters is held during the day as well as in the night. The planes have been practicing night landings on the carriers. Although we are a little disappointed in having to practice, we know that it is all in preparation for something big in the future. So far up to now there has been nothing exciting to write about but when we do leave this place, it will be to go out and get the enemy and then we will be able to have our guns speak for themselves of just how good we Americans are.
October 18, 1943 — At Sea
Collision damage This morning at exactly two-thirty a.m. we were all awakened by a sickening thud and a crash. My first thought as I jumped out of my sack was that we were torpedoed. But when I went top-side, I saw what had happened. The bow of the ship was completely smashed. We had collided with one of our own ships, and aircraft carrier and us. It was like having stepped on an ant. That is how big one of those ships are compared to us. We stood by to abandon ship but we knew we weren’t going to leave this ship until we had at least tried to save her. We worked day and night and through God’s help we brought her into port a complete cripple.
October 22, 1943 — Pearl Harbor
Today many of us went to the funeral services held here for three of our shipmates. We then went to the cemetery where we fired gun salutes in honor of their work. After this was over, I went into Honolulu where we bought three plaques which were to be sent to their families. On this plaque, which is made of gold is written these words, “In honor of (his name), the crew and officers wish to express our deepest sympathies. He died for his country in the line of duty while serving aboard the USS Abbot.” We sent them to each of the families. Yes, we know that ill fate must have had his hand on this scheme but we were going to make out okay.
November 28, 1943 — Area Barracks, Pearl Harbor
Today is Thanksgiving Day and as I sat down for chow, I gave thanks to God for keeping me well. At the moment, the whole crew is living in barracks until our ship is completely repaired. All of us are getting restless, for we all urge to go to sea again. Though we have been living like Kings on land, we know that “home is the sailor only when he is out to sea.” I spent three days at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel to sorta recuperate. This place, which in peacetime cost actors and actresses fifty dollars a room for one day is given to us free. Waikiki Beach overlooks this hotel and the three days I spent have given me pleasures which I shall remember long afterwards.
December 22, 1943 — At Sea
Three days before Christmas, and we are going to sea. The ship is in good shape again. They have not told us as yet where we are going although from rumors which I have heard it is to Ellice Island. Now that we are getting away from Pearl Harbor, I am sure that we will see something. My estimation as to going to Ellice Island is because from there we will form a task force and go on a mission. Of course, this is not official but a guess, as this is as good as any. It is good to be out to sea again. Though sometimes it may get a little monotonous, there’s nothing which gives me as much of a thrill as looking over this vast area of blue water.
December 25, 1943 — Equator Line
Crossing the Line festivities I shall never forget Christmas in forty-three. It was on this day that we crossed the Equator. The same day we were initiated and became shellbacks, meaning men who have been taken into Davy Jones’ consultation. Quite a ceremony took place that day as everyone was whacked across the ass and given bald haircuts. This even included the Skipper for it was the first time he had ever crossed it also. Yes, he was even dumped into the salt water to signify him as being real salty.
We had a nice meal for Christmas, though that night we sat around talking, we were all wondering how the folks were celebrating and how we wish we could be there to join them.
December 27, 1943 — Ellice Island
We arrived here this morning and from what I learned I can’t think this place any damn good. The town is called Funa Futi. There is nothing here for enjoyment. The place boasts a population of about 300 (1931). All it is is a strategic group of islands, important to keeping the lanes open for shipping to Australia. It has been bombed occasionally by the Japanese, occurring when there was a full moon. This place may be also referred to as the outskirts of the city limits. A couple miles further and we could grab a cab and make for the high spots. So this place looks like it will be useful in storing the cabs until the night time comes.
January 1, 1944 — Anchored off Ellice Island
Well, here it is the year of forty-three is all over with and to start the year off, I find myself at this island. As I look back, I noticed that I had visited quite a few places last year: Trinidad, Port Jefferson, Casco Bay, Boston, Norfolk, Panama, San Diego and least but last this place here. What will be in store for me this coming year, I can’t say but I’m sure I will see plenty of new places and a lot of action to throw in with it. Today I became a fireman second class. I look forward to making first class just as eagerly and with a little studying on the side, plus a bit of common sense, I’m sure I will find me there soon.
January 22, 1944 — At Sea
Well, we’re going out in a day or so with the biggest task force ever to assemble in the Pacific. My guess is that we will hit the Marshall Islands. We’ll know for certain in a few days. Just to look at this harbor can make me understand just why we are now the most powerful fleet in the world. For instance, such battleships as the Massachusetts, New Jersey, Iowa, North Carolina, Washington and many more whose names I have not familiarized as yet. I know we will try to invade the Marshalls sooner or later, but I do think it will be now for this task force is powerful enough. I only hope with God’s will that every one of us ships returns.
January 24, 1944 — At Sea (Task Force)
Today we pulled out with a large task force and though no information has been passed out as to where we are going, we know that there will be plenty of good hunting. I still believe that it will be the Marshalls as everything seems to point to it. This task force is so big that even when riding in a plane and looking down on it, it is impossible to see it all. Ships are everywhere for miles around. Had anyone told me that we had a fleet as big as this operating in the Pacific, I would have surely said to the man that made the statement that he was talking through his hat. But here where I can see for myself, I’ve seen just about the whole US fleet and it’s tops.
January 29, 1944 — At Sea
We have been out five days now and were finally told that this task force was going to invade the Marshall Islands. My prediction that we were going to invade these islands was correct. In a few hours our ship is going to escort a cruiser into Wotje Island, and it will be our duty of trying to shell hell out of it. The purpose of this shelling is to keep the Japs from getting sleep for two full days and nights. Thus when our troops do land, they shouldn’t find it difficult in subduing the wearied Japs. At night our destroyer is going in alone to fire at the beach. Everything will be exciting.
January 31, 1944 — Marshall Islands
We just completed bombing hell out of the Japs for two full days and nights. Today is dog day meaning that the soldiers and marines will commence landing on the island. Our duty will be to continue to bombard Wotje and Taroa Islands. We also received word that the two planes which we saw collide in the air last night were American planes. Aboard one of these planes was Raymond Clapper, news columnist from Washington who was covering the story of the invasion. We lost a great man here but many more lives will continue to be taken before we have these islands complete in our possession. So far very little lives have been lost during the invasion, the reason being that we took them completely by surprise.
February 17, 1944 — Marshalls
As I write this into my diary we have just finished shelling Wotje Island. We have been bombarding her continuously from January 29. I can say that there isn’t many Japs on there alive, and those that are living must be shellshocked for no man can last having bombs go over his head for 20 days and not suffer some physical and mental effects. The rest of the Marshalls are almost all under American troops. Since we have been here, we have to our ship’s credit 10 Jap planes destroyed on ground, 2 ammunition dumps, one oil storage tank, one radio tower plus two islands neutralized. This is a feat any ship would be proud of accomplishing and we are.
February 19, 1944 — Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
Just a year ago today at Bath, Maine, the champagne spilled, the plates were cut and down the ways slid the U.S.S. Abbot amid cheers from the crowd, while snowflakes fell with messages of good will and fortune to the DD629. Little did most of us know or realize that day, that we would meet her at Pier 4 in Boston Navy Yard two months later. She became a fighting ship having trained many men who are today saying that is how we did it on the Abbot. She was destined to be a good ship, she has been a good ship. Although snowflakes are not falling today with messages, there were fragments tossed from her guns on many occasions which has forced the enemy to say that she is a helluva good fighting ship. And so we must say that the birthday of our ship must be remembered today. So as we are out here I think back to when we were at Boston and wondered where we’d be a year from now. Well, here we are right in the middle of things and carrying out for the Mighty A. But wherever we go we can trust her; she’s got a good crew and a helluva good record. We’ve still got a long ways to go but all will turn out well when it’s over.
March 11, 1944 — Majuro (Marshalls)
This morning there is scuttlebutt that we are going to leave the Marshalls since we have accomplished everything that was desired of us. Rumors are that we are going to New Hebrides to be under General MacArthur’s communiqué. It is now later on in the day and we are out to sea and words have been passed that the ship is going to New Hebrides which, by the way, is only 300 miles from Australia. We will have to cross the equator again, that will make three times and we expect to arrive in four days. We all feel cocky for working with MacArthur is always an honor. So as we turn our head in the direction of the Marshalls, we say so long, it’s been a pleasure.
March 15, 1944 — At Sea
We were heading on our way to New Hebrides when we received word by radio to change course and head for Guadalcanal. We changed our speed and hope to be there tonight. There we will report to Admiral Halsey who will assign us to our new duties. Had a close call yesterday when one of our ships almost rammed us. We gave an emergency crash astern and just evaded the other can in the nick of time. There have been plenty close calls and I would hate as hell to have to get hit and have to go through the same things we did before. So with God’s help and a little effort on the part of the officers and crew, I am sure we will make out okay.
March 17, 1944 — Guadalcanal
This morning we arrived in the Solomons and as we anchored off Guadalcanal, I had my first chance to get a view of this vast island. It is no wonderful place but as I looked at it, I was filled with pride just to see it. Vast jungles can be seen for miles around, no wonder many of our boys were killed, for there were millions of places the Japs could hide and ambush our men. Now as our ship lays in the harbor, everything is peaceful once more but had we been here just a year ago from today, things would have been hot. So as I again look at Guadalcanal, I bow my head for a few minutes to pay tribute to those who died here. God bless and save their soul.
March 27, 1944 — At Sea
Today at exactly 05:30AM, this ship got underway and we are going to Bougainville which is in the hands of the Japs. We are taking five troop ships which are carrying about 4,000 Marines and half that amount of officers. It will undoubtedly be a very slow journey as those troop ships are unable to go at a fast rate of speed. At exactly 03:15AM, general quarters sounded and we all went scurrying to our battle stations. We learned one ship picked up a submarine contact, and dropped 8 depth charges in an effort to make a kill. Hope to arrive at Bougainville tomorrow if all goes well during the night.
March 28, 1944 — Bougainville, Solomon Islands
As dawn approached, we came into sight of Bougainville and immediately the troops began to descend from the troop ships and head for the beach. Gun fire can be seen along the beach, for there are still 20,000 Japs trapped here and they’re fighting like hell. We have only 20 miles along the beach occupied and 6 miles inland. There are 2 active volcanoes on this island, one of them is Balbi. At the moment, smoke can be seen coming from it. We have just received word that we are leaving this place tonight with the troop ships since they will be empty and we are going to New Guinea. We shall only be a little ways from Australia. I’ve always wanted to see that place and maybe real soon I shall. What a life we lead, one moment we’re here, next we’re gone. But we all love it since it gives us a chance to see the world.
March 31, 1944 — Milne Bay, New Guinea
Arrived in Milne Bay, New Guinea, this afternoon and I sure was surprised at the sight of it. It is a vast island, bigger than most of those that I have seen. The weather here is much cooler and I understand it is because it rains frequently thus leaving the air damp. At night the harbor is lit up like some big city and for a moment I thought I was somewhere near Boston. There are still plenty of Japs here but they are on the northern part of the island. I saw a few Australian ships here and also one destroyer of the Royal British Navy. It is hard to believe that a place like this still has plenty of unexplored regions with many headhunters and wild animals but it’s true.
April 4, 1944 — At Sea
At twelve noon we got underway with five transports which are expected to pick up troops at Buna, New Guinea, which is 200 miles from here. We expect to reach Buna sometime tomorrow morning. I believe the troops we pick up, we will take them to someplace where action is plentiful. For the past few months, our duties have been with transports, taking troops to different parts of the battlefronts. This job required experienced destroyers, for many troops are on those ships and it would be very bad for us if ever one of them got torpedoed from an enemy sub. So far we have been doing a swell job and more than once we have received word that says “well done, Abbot.” I hope it always continues to be that way.
April 5, 1944 — Sudesto Bay
We arrived here instead of Buna. Buna is around 12 miles from here. This place seems to be very dull, not many ships can be seen around and from different places that I have visited, this one seems about the worst one of them all. If we stay here much longer I know the monotony will just about make me sick. I figure that probably by next week sometime we can say so long to this place and I can’t say that I am sorry to leave this place. All I have to say is thank God I’m in the Navy for I’d hate to be in the Army stationed here. Navy has its bad points but I think it has many better ones.
April 9, 1944 (Easter Sunday) — Sudesto Bay
This morning I went to Mass, which was held on one of the troop ships named Zeilin. I also received communion. It was the first time I attended church for over five months. Later, I went over onto the beach and had a fair time. The place is full of marshes and jungles. As I talked with some of the Army men, I heard many interesting stories. Some were unfit to hear while others will always linger in my mind. When I came back from the beach, some of the fellows aboard told me that we are leaving this place tomorrow. I hope it is true for I would be more than pleased. The day is almost over and Easter has come and almost gone. I want you folks to know that you were all included in my Easter prayers. God bless you all.
April 10, 1944 — At Sea
Today we got underway at 6AM and as yet no word has been passed as to where we are heading for. But, I do think it is back to Guadalcanal for there are only three other destroyers with us, we left the transports. We expect to reach our destination Wednesday morning, that is why I think it’s back to Guadalcanal for it takes just about that time to get there. It sure feels good to be underway again. Most of us had hoped we would see Australia but now we will be a long ways off from it. Last time we had liberty was in Hawaii on about December 10, now four months have gone and there are getting anxious for their beer again.
April 12, 1944 — Purvis Bay (Guadalcanal)
Surgery abourd USS Abbot My predictions were correct for we arrived at Guadalcanal this morning. It sure was a relief to get back to this place again. Last night while we were underway, one of our boys got an attack of acute appendicitis and the doctor had to make an emergency operation. With the ship rolling and pitching, I never could see how he managed it. But he did a good job.
Rumors are that we expect to get underway on the 14th with four carriers, and as long as we’re with carriers I know we shall see plenty of action. No dope as yet as to where we’re going and I myself have no idea. So I’ll just sit back and wait for them to give us the word on what’s going to cook. It better be good ’cause we’re due.
April 14, 1944 — At Sea
Left Guadalcanal at 10 o’clock this morning. We are expected to pick up the carrier task force somewhere off the coast of Rabual. As yet they haven’t given us any idea s to where we are going to hit. With carriers we can strike at any place we please and one of the most logical places I have in mind is Truk. So in a few days we will know just where we stand and what is expected of us. But whatever it is you can count on the Abbot, that she will do her job well and with the best she knows of how to do it so carry on.
April 19, 1944 — At Sea (Task Force)
We are still out at sea and we are with our carrier task force which includes 8 aircraft carriers and eight destroyers. Also with us is an oil tanker and one old four stacker which has been converted into a minesweeper. We shall meet the rest of our task force later. This will include troop ships, cargoes, etc. On April 22, we are going to land 60,000 soldiers and marines on the northern part of New Guinea. It will be the invasion of Hollandia. Heavy opposition is expected from the Japanese for they are plenty strong and it is expected they will fight like hell for if we take this, it will give us complete control of New Guinea. The executive officer believes this time we will be able to paint a Jap plane on our bridge. We hope it’s true.
April 22, 1944 — Invasion of Hollandia
This morning, reveille was at 3:30AM. We were getting into position to strike the enemy at dawn. At 05:30 AM general quarters sounded and a few minutes later the invasion began. First the bomber planes took off from the carrier, their duties were to bomb enemy installations and help our troops secure a beachhead. They then were to strafe anything in sight. Following this procedure came the landing of troops. So far we have received word that 2 of the 3 landings were successful. Though opposition has been heavy, our casualties have been light. Our duty at the moment is guarding the aircraft carriers. If everything goes off well we should leave this place in a week’s time. As usual, time will tell the story.
April 28, 1944 — Admiralty (Manus Island)
Arrived at the Admiralty Islands early this morning. Took fuel aboard and are also waiting for provisions. Expect to leave here tomorrow to return to Hollandia Bay in New Guinea. I believe we are going to convoy some ships so that they can bring fighting equipment, food, clothing, etc. Oh, yes, on April 24 we crossed the equator twice in one day believe it or not, making a grand total of having crossed it five times. The Admiralty Islands we took over about a month ago from the Japs. They are of a great value to us, helping to keep our shipping lanes open. Since the day we have been commissioned up to April 23 we have traveled 58,488 nautical miles. This is an exact figure. The Captain has promised that the first chance we get to hit a liberty port we are going to have a ship’s party in honor of being one year old.
May 21, 1944 — At Sea
This morning at 08:00, eight of us destroyers and three carriers left New Hebrides. We are on our way back to Guadalcanal to practice on maneuvers. As it was said to us, we are on a rehearsal to practice for the opening night of our show. I believe this show will start sometime next month, the title is How To Invade The Caroline Islands And Influence The People. A swell title, don’t you think? But one thing we can all rest assured of, and that’s when the invasion of Truk or whatever it is starts, it will be all carried out according to rehearsal. Though we may get a little disgusted practicing for 10 days, it is only for the future and what we do now shows us what we can do later. So carry on, sailors, carry on.
May 31, 1944 — Espiritu Santos, New Hebrides
We have finished our rehearsal and are now back at New Hebrides. We put on a good showing and all went well. Today I went over on the beach for a little recreation. Their was a USO show going on including some famous stars from the Metropolitan Opera. One of these stars was none other than Miss Dolyna Staskus of Worcester, Mass. She sang a few opera songs and made quite a hit with the boys. On June second, we are getting underway. It will probably be to go to someplace to form our task force. As yet we haven’t been told as to where we are going to strike, but we have been guaranteed that we will see plenty of action and maybe get that Jap plane painted on our bridge. We took on provisions for 110 days, so we must be going out for a long stay.
June 2, 1944 — At Sea
We are leaving this morning at daybreak and are heading for Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. There are 9 of us destroyers and 3 carriers. We are going to join in with a task force in some invasion. As yet we haven’t been told where, but I still think it is to be the Carolines or Marianas. We expect to arrive in the Marshalls on June 8. Everything has been going along fine with us. The ship is still in tip top condition and so are we. The crew as well as myself are hoping that after this invasion is over, we go to some port where we can have a little liberty. Honolulu to us was once considered the asshole of the world, right now if we could go there it would be paradise.
June 5, 1944 — At Sea
We are still at sea and are on our same course which will lead us to the Marshalls. Today we picked up around 20 troop ships which are loaded with soldiers and marines. Where they came from I haven’t any idea, though Australia would be a good guess. This invasion is sure going to be big, and I can just imagine how many ships there must be at the Marshalls. I twill probably start sometime during the middle of next month. Tomorrow we expect to cross that equator so that will make it eight times. We have done plenty of moving around and have been covering quite a bit of miles. You really can’t imagine how big the Pacific Ocean is, for you can travel for days and days and just see water.
June 8, 1944 — Kwajalein (Marshalls)
Arrived at the above destination. The last time we were here was Feb. 19, when we took it from the Japs. Today it’s filled with a great many American ships. There are a great number of ships in here, most of them are troop transports. Expect to be here around 4 days, then we will be on our way to occupy some Japanese islands. Well, I finally got the news as to where the invasion is going to be. We are going to attack the Marianas Islands. Included in there are Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Rota. There will be 3 task forces, 1 for each island. Rota will not be invaded. We are going to be the one at Guam. Our plans are all learned to the exact minute. Taking these islands will be putting our bombers within easy range of Japan’s homeland.
June 14, 1944 — At Sea (Task Force)
Before I describe the task force or any plans of operation, I would like to give you a brief summary of the island of Guam. Guam, as you should already know, lied is the Marianas. It lies in the southernmost part, is the largest and most populated island of the Marianas. Discovered and colonized by the Spaniards. It is twenty six miles long and four to eight miles wide and had a population of 21,496 in 1936. Island so colonized with Kanakas from the Carolines, who now constitute one third of the population. The soil is dry and fertile. Principal products are coral, copra, rice and sugar. Island is rather mountainous and for most of the coast is fringed with coral. It will be a pleasure to take it away from the Japs.
June 23, 1944 — Invasion of Saipan
Instead of going to Guam as we expected, our orders were changed and we have gone to Saipan. There are 20,000 Japs on this island. For two nights in a row we had general quarters when Japanese planes came over. Our planes contacted the Japanese fleet. We were believed to have sunk 15 ships and 368 enemy planes shot down. That was only for one day. We lost only 49 planes. Before we had a chance to demolish the Japanese fleet, they fled. Fighting on the beach is continuing furiously but our troops keep coming in wave after wave. If we make out okay over here we expect to take Guam in about 10 days. Above all, let us hope and pray that everything goes well.
July 1, 1944 — Saipan
Since I last wrote in this diary, undoubtedly much has happened. Four nights in succession we were forced to awaken during the middle of the night because of Japanese planes overhead. One Jap pilot seemed very daring for he came very close and though it was very dark, he dropped a torpedo. He missed his mark and as he came flying over our ship we opened fire with continuous salvos of gunfire. The dark night suddenly lit up like day as the plane came screaming down in flames. When he hit the water, the plane bounced another 100 yards or so then it exploded and in a few minutes it was pitch dark again. Next day we painted a Jap flag on our bridge and were all proud of it including the Skipper as well.
July 4, 1944 — At Sea, Saipan
At the moment we are operating with two aircraft carriers and 4 heavy cruisers plus 11 destroyers. We are just a few miles off the coast of Saipan. We have been told that we may make a raid on Casmin Islands which are 600 miles from Japan and 125 miles from the Philippines. Our objective no doubt will be to try and put the air fields out of commission. Today I made my rate of W.T. 3/c. The extra stripe will come in handy for it will give me more money plus a few added responsibilities. Time out here is going by swiftly and in about 10 months we ought to be flying our homebound pennants meaning we have been out here 18 months and rate going back to the States.
July 7, 1944 — Eniwetok Atoll (Marshalls)
We arrived here early this morning and it is expected that we will only stay here long enough to take on food supplies. This place as we entered is filled with American ships of all sorts. Cruisers, carriers, battlewagons are of great number here. This place as you know was taken by us during the invasion of the Marshalls. I remember when we were here in early February. The Japs thought that they could hold out against us. This harbor was then empty. The only signs were where a few battle scarred Jap ships lay half sunken in the water. Now as we anchor in the harbor we wonder if some of these ships in here realize just how much it had cost us in lives to take this place.
July 10, 1944 — At Sea
This morning at sunrise found the Abbot pulling up her anchor and shoving off to sea again. Three of us destroyers plus two aircraft carriers are going to Guam. No doubt our purpose will be to sorta soften up this place. What part we expect to play in this campaign I don’t know, but whatever it is, it will be exciting. The reason why the invasion of Guam was delayed was because when our ships were bombarding the island a number of times, a man swam out to us from the beach. His name was Ray Tweed and he had been on the island since 1939. He provided valuable information about gun emplacements, etc. that a new plan was figured out completely.
July 21, 1944 — Invasion of Guam
Today we helped our troops land at Guam. After 15 days of consecutive shore bombardments on the island, our troops invaded Guam at 08:30 AM. So far three waves of our troops have gone over onto the beach and it has been reported that there was only one casualty. We landed our troops at the most unexpected part of the island, that being where it was rocky and full of cliffs. The Japs undoubtedly thought when we came, we would strike at the easy side. Unfortunately for them, the should have known that Americans do no work that way. Our duty in this invasion has been screening five baby flat tops against surface and air targets. So far we’ve been doing a good job of it.
July 25, 1944 — Invasion of Guam
We are still operating very close to the island. Our planes have been taking off from the carriers quite regularly and proceeding to the island. It drops its bomb then comes back to the ship to reload. How long it will take us to get control of the whole island remains to be seen, but we know that this battle will not be so bloody as the one on Saipan. The Japs took possession of Guam on December 11, 1942. It was believed that they had captured 300 American soldiers and an undisclosed number of civilians. Today they shall continue to pay with their lives for ever being so thoughtful to their rising sun.
July 27, 1944 — Guam
We are leaving this place today, though fighting is still going on. Most of the island is under American control. We are going back to Eniwetok Atoll here we expect to tie up alongside a destroyer tender for five days to work on repairs. Everything that we have undertaken so far has proven successful and hope it continues to work that way. We are steadily working our way closer to the Philippines and Japan and at this pace we ought to find ourselves in Tokyo at this time next year. So far I rate 4 bronze stars for having participated in four major battles. One more and I shall rate a silver star. I have earned every one and have been proud to have done so.
August 3, 1944 — Eniwetok Atoll (Marshall Islands)
We finally arrived at the above destination and though at the moment we are unable to go alongside the tender because she has many other destroyers. The first thing when we arrived here was to send the mail clerk over onto the beach to see if there was any mail for us. He came back with bags loaded with mail and packages and there’s nothing which made us any happier than to sit in some corner of the ship and read about you folks at home. So though times come when we have to wait for our mail and times again when it is impossible to write, we hope you folks back home understand just how difficult it is to write every day.
August 4, 1944 — Eniwetok Atoll (Marshalls)
This morning at about 04:00 AM, general quarters was sounded because of an unidentified plane near about, though it later turned out to be one of our own. After quarters, we were told to make preparations for getting underway immediately. It was disclosed to us that we were taking a crippled aircraft carrier to Pearl Harbor for repairs. We were chosen to accompany this ship because we had been out here nine months without liberty and also we are unable to get any repairs done to us here because there is no availability. So we are all happy and we sailed out. It was going to be good to get back to someplace where we could go out and enjoy ourselves. Everyone was starting to get his white uniform in good shape for we were anxious to go out on liberty.
August 11, 1944 — Pearl Harbor
Just before sunset we arrived at Pearl Harbor and we remembered just how the first time we left this place we called it all sorts of no good names. Now after being away from here eight months, we called it a sailor’s paradise now. It has changed quite a bit since we were here, there are many new buildings. We anchored at the destroyer base and we all went to hit the sacks early for some of us were getting liberty tomorrow and Honolulu sure was going to be good to look at. There are plenty of ships around, some which have just come from the States. When they heard we hadn’t had liberty for 9 months, they were just about ready to turn around and head for the good US again.
September 14, 1944 — Pearl Harbor
We have been here for one month and 3 days now. We have been getting plenty of liberty and I must say we’ve been taking advantage of every day we get. Mail has been arriving from home in three days, and what a contrast compared to when we were out to sea. By that I mean when we were near Guam or Saipan if we got a letter from home which took a month it was considered fast time. Here in Pearl Harbor, mail was reaching us from home in 3 days. Our ship is in tip top shape again, and we expect to leave here tomorrow morning. So today was our last liberty. Next time we see Pearl Harbor again, it will be on our way going back to the States. We are supposed to have six more months out here then we all rate 30 days’ leave in the States.
September 15, 1944 — At Sea
This morning we left with a large task force of troop ships which are filled with troops. Perhaps Teddy Mendella is aboard one of these. We are now going back to Enweitall and expect to be there in 10 days. There has been some talk that our next invasion will be Yap Island which is in the Carolines. No one knows for sure, but it is expected that we will not be at Eniwetok Atoll very long, probably a few days. However, where we go and whatever we do will be okay for me. Time will go by fast and it ought not be long before I’ll be saying, I want a ticket to go to Worcester, Mass and what is the fastest plane going there.
September 25, 1944 — Eniwetok Atoll (Marshalls)
Today at exactly 14:30 PM, we arrived into the port of Eniwetok Atoll. After looking around in this port I see a vast number of troop ships, supply, cargo and tanker ships. Also in great numbers are LSTs, and all other ships of amphibious type. I believe we are going to strike at some island in the Philippines. We were supposed to invade Yap but it has been cancelled for some unknown reason. We expect to be here a few days the most, then we will be off again. It’s good to get out here again for the time will go faster when there’s plenty to do. How six months will fly, I can’t describe it but it will be like waking up one morning and finding my way going back to the States.
September 28, 1944 — At Sea
When we got underway today with many ships, it was disclosed to us that we were going to Seattler Harbor which is in the Admiralties. We expect to reach there October third. On this trip we will cross the equator and since we took on many new men at Pearl Harbor, there are many whose crossing will be the first. This will be my ninth crossing so I am looked upon by the lowly pollywogs as a trusted shellback. We plan to give these new boys plus the new officers quite a ceremony. The Skipper is taking sides with us plus the old regular crew. I feel sorry for what those boys are having to go through. Today I made one shine my shoes, they can’t refuse. We expect to cross the equator October 2 to until then we will wait until we give them the beating.
October 1, 1944 — Equator Line
This afternoon we crossed the equator and a big ceremony took place. Since we had many new men and officers we set to work on them. We were out for revenge for we well remember how last Christmas we were treated when we crossed it for the first time. So today we took part in giving them the works. When we finished initiating them, I’m afraid they were almost physically wrecked. All their hair was cut off and they sure took a beating from the paddles. But everything was taken good heartedly and credit must be given to them. I have a hunch Teddy Mendella is on one of these troop ships and it seems like he will take part in our next invasion, and I do think it’s the Philippines.
October 3, 1944 — Admiralty Islands (Manus)
We arrived here at 14:30 and as we entered port, ships could be seen for miles around. There are plenty of all kinds of fighting power and it seems that the US fleet is here. We expect to be here for seven to ten days. As yet we have not been told where we are going after we leave here. After this invasion we have a chance of going back to the States. We are the oldest squadron out here now, so when the next ships go back it will be us. How far away no one knows. But we are all preparing for it. The executive officer has already notified some men to start making the Homeward Bound pennant. It is flown when we are going back to the States and will be about 320 ft. long.
October 14, 1944 — At Sea
This morning we left the Admiralties. We are with a great number of troop ships, our destination as yet is unknown. At 10 o’clock this morning all hands will fall into quarters and it is here I believe we will be told just where we are going. It isn’t too hard to guess, though, and I’m willing to bet it will be an invasion of the Philippines. So far everything seems to point to that, but of course I won’t know exactly until about one hour. So I shall take time for a brief pause and will wait until after quarters to let you know just what’s up. It is now about 10:15 and we have just gotten back from quarters. We are going to invade Leyte, which is in the Philippines. Heavy opposition can be expected but we hope to take the beachhead without too much difficulty, we hope.
October 16, 1944 — At Sea
This page I shall try and give you details on what our operations for this invasion are. First our ship has the duty of screening the transports which means we will be in mighty close. On Oct. 18, Rangers of the 98th Company will land with a small party of men and try to secure both ends of the Gulf. Meanwhile, battleships, cruisers, airplanes will start bombarding the beach so as to neutralize the gun emplacements. On Oct. 20, that will be D-day; the invasion will start.
We know that the gulf is full of mines and are hoping that our minesweepers will be able to break ’em loose. There are 52 airfields on this island, 21 of them major fields. Heavy air raids from the enemy are expected the first few days. It is believed that there are 2 Jap battleships, 3 cruisers, 8 destroyers and 60 PT boats in this harbor. If we take this island, and we will, we shall be only 290 miles from Davoa and 295 miles from Manila.
When the invasion starts, Admiral Halsey, who is now striking at Formosa, will come down a little and operate off the northern part of Luzon. It is his duty to intercept any of the Japanese fleet coming down from Tokyo to reinforce the island. These operations will occur during the typhoon season, meaning during the monsoon season. A gale, typhoon or monsoon can be expected at least once a month.
Our only worry at the moment is, we hope that during the invasion, no storm comes up. The Japanese are believed to have 677 airplanes within a 300 mile radius, so I guess the first few days we will have little sleep. We are not worried too much about their aircraft for we think mines and PT boats are a lot tougher. So I shall end here and will wait until the 20th to see how we make out. We all hope to make out good, for after this is all over with, we hope the USS Abbot’s next assignment is reporting to San Francisco for overhauling and 30 days leave for me.
October 20, 1944 — Leyte Island (Philippines)
At 05:42 all hands went to general quarters as we slowly moved into the channel leading to Leyte, cautiously looking for floating mines and enemy ships. As dawn came over the horizon and the fog lifted, battleships, cruisers, and other warships could be seen bombarding the beach. Closely the formations of transports, LST and the LCJ formed into one whole unit, while us destroyers kept only a short distance away, protecting them like a mother does a baby. A few minutes later the fist enemy plane appeared, staying well out of our range and kept circling about. Undoubtedly, he was radioing back to his headquarters, telling of the vast numbers of ships he could see. Out of a clear sky he suddenly came diving down toward the transports, our ships sent up a barrage of gunfire that practically turned the sky into a mid-summer night. As the plane pulled out of the dive, he flew close to the water, thus making himself a poor target and also causing us to hold our gunfire, since he was in between. The drone of his motor faded away as he went flying back to his base.
At 10:30 this morning the first wave of army doughboys landed on the beach, successively followed by the second wave. Reports have come back that enemy opposition has been slight and that the 1st wave also met little resistance and had established a foothold 300 yards inland.
It is now almost sunset and as soon as darkness approaches, we expect to go in close to the beach for night firing. A few minutes ago four Jap planes flew over, and we didn’t see them until they were almost directly overhead. When we spotted them we all made one mad scramble to get to our general quarters station. You might say that this was one time we were caught without pants down. One of them dropped a bomb but missed his target and we finally drove them off, shooting down one of the planes as they departed.
It is now close to midnight and we are laying just off the beach firing at Japanese installations. There shall be little sleep for us tonight so I’m taking advantage of what spare time I have at the moment by hitting the sack. So I end here until tomorrow. But before closing, I want you to know that when we start tossing shell fragments from our guns, our aim shall and will be good, and I am sure that after we have finished bombarding the beach, we shall leave well satisfied and will know that we are only one of the few who had helped in bringing Liberation to our friends the Philippine people.
October 21, 1944 — Leyte Island (Philippines)
It is early morning and as dawn approached, so did the Japanese planes. A few of them so far have been successful in scoring a small number of hits, but as they come over their target, they leave in decreased numbers. This morning, I happened to be watching an American plane diving low on the Japanese. Suddenly as he came out of his dive, the Japanese opened fire. They wing of his plane suddenly burst into flames. He kept trying desperately to gain altitude, but was unable to do so. He came crashing into the sea. The plane sank almost immediately and him with it.
General MacArthur is here with us and today he made a special broadcast to the Philippines asking them to unite and fight against the Japs. In his speech to the Philippine people, he said, “I have returned.” So he has, but what about us thousands of servicemen who came also? No he never mentioned a word, it seemed it was just him who had returned. Again, I shall say, what about us?
October 22, 1944 — At Sea
Last night, we received orders to get underway at once, for we are going to take the empty troop transports to Hollandia, New Guinea. Undoubtedly, we will only be there a couple of days, for from what I heard, that as soon as the transports are loaded with troops we will take them to the Philippines for reinforcement. As we were pulling out of the channel, Jap planes quickly departed for there was too much air power to suit their comfort. We expect to reach Hollandia on the twenty-sixth. The crew is eagerly looking forward to getting mail, though I must admit, I doubt very much if there will be any for us. So all we can do is wait and hope and that’s what we’re doing.
October 26, 1944 — Hollandia, New Guinea
We arrived at New Guinea last this afternoon and upon entering the harbor, I noticed that there were very few warships to be seen. Most of the ships in here, at the moment consist of transports, merchant ships and a few tankers. We have now been here a couple of days and as yet no news as to when we will leave here. We have been having recreation parties on the beach. There are many natives here. I obtained a couple of packages of Japanese cigarettes from the natives by giving them a can of beer. Undoubtedly, they are great lovers of beer, for they will sell almost any goods they have for a few beers. They also are not as dumb as it may appear since they take advantage of us souvenir hunters and make quite a profit for themselves.
October 31, 1944 — Aitape, New Guinea
Today we left for Aitape, New Guinea. There are just one transport and us. We are going here to pick up about one thousand doggies. This place is only about one hundred miles south of here and it will take only a few hours to reach it. We arrived at our destination and this is about one of the loneliest places in the world at the present. We are the only two warships in the harbor, plus three merchant ships which makes a total of five ships. Troops have been coming aboard the transport all day and as soon as we load we shall go back to Hollandia to join our other forces. There are still Japanese troops here but they are trapped and the only fighting going on are the Japs who are fighting one another in the jungles. Before long they will die of starvation just as the others have.
November 2, 1944 — Hollandia, New Guinea
This morning we expect to leave Hollandia. As yet there has been no definite place told as to where we are going. The rumors consist of us invading Formosa, another one Luzon, but as this is not official we do not know for sure. The harbor is now filled with ships and they also will leave with us. Us and four other destroyers will leave by ourselves, whether we will act as scouts or whether we have our own mission is not yet known, but all in all it ought to prove to be interesting. In my opinion, I still believe we are going to go back to Leyte which is in the Philippines. The reason for saying this is because I believe we are taking these soldiers to help reinforce MacArthur’s troops. We ought to know real soon, so until then I’ll just sit back and relax.
November 5, 1944 — Morotai Island (Hulmahara Island)
We arrived here with the transports. This place is about sixty or so miles from the Philippines. All the islands around here except Morotai are Japanese held. We took this island just recently. From what I’ve heard we can expect raids by Japanese planes every night, as they are only a few miles away from us. On one island, there is believed to be 40,000 Japs. Fighting around this area is going on continuously. We expect to be here for around five days then hope to go back to Leyte Bay in the Philippines. The troopships have no doubt already begun loading troops from the islands. The sooner we get them loaded aboard the quicker we will leave. Tonight when I hit my sack I don’t expect to get a good night’s sleep for undoubtedly those Jap planes will surely be over to keep us awake.
November 10, 1944 — At Sea
This morning we pulled out of Morotai. The transports are all loaded with troops and it is believed that we are going to take them to Leyte in the Philippines. All of us are pretty happy to leave this place for though we have been here only five days we have been kept awake every night because of Japanese planes. They came at different intervals so that it was difficult to catch any sleep. The natives over here are very friendly. Every day they came around with all kinds of things. The sailors traded shirts, pants for souvenirs of Japanese money and articles. Now that we are out to sea again, every one seems much happier and I must say those racks won’t be vacant for long. No mail did we receive but we hope to have some in a few days.
November 14, 1944 — Leyte (Philippines)
At morning general quarters we were only a few miles from Leyte. The transports commenced unloading troops at 08:00, and the Japs attempted to bother us quite a number of times. One zero attempted strafing our shipping of troops but was shot down by a P-38. The Japs continued many times in trying to get inside of our defense but our P-38s and our barrages of gunfire was too much for them. We have been at general quarters twelve straight hours and we have just received word that the transports are all finished unloading troops so we do not expect to stay here any longer. We are leaving now for the Admiralty Islands with the empty transports and expect to reach there on November 20. So we have quite a trip ahead of us but we don’t mind.
November 18, 1944 — At Sea
Here we are just one more day before we reach the Admiralties when we receive a message that us and another destroyer are taking a task force of loaded troops back to Leyte. They are over the horizon, so we are leaving these empty troop transports and going with the loaded ones. It is believed that they are short of escorts so that is why we were chosen. We are not happy at going for that will mean spending Thanksgiving in the Philippines and we know that we will be at general quarters most of the times. But that’s how it goes, so we’re making the best of it. Today a submarine was preying somewhere near us, one destroyer got the contact and dropped depth charges but whether she succeeded in sinking it we don’t know.
November 23, 1944 — Leyte (Philippines) Thanksgiving Day
We arrived this morning at the Philippines. There were very few ships here compared to the last time. We expect to be here all night. So far we have gone to general quarters often. One Japanese plane after being shot down by a P-38, attempted a suicide dive on one of the transports, but fortunately missed it by inches. Though this is Thanksgiving Day we are not going to have turkey, but will celebrate it tomorrow. Because of our inconsiderate enemy’s persistent air attacks, the cooks have been unable to prepare turkey. Last night as we were entering the harbor, a Jap plane shot a torpedo at us and missed by around 100 yards. All in all this trip’s been pretty exciting through our score for shooting down Jap planes has not increased.
November 24, 1944 — At Sea
Today we had our turkey dinner and even though the Japs were persistent in breaking up our meal, we ate our chow at intervals. Because of the lack of turkey aboard ship, we had turkey a la king. The meal was good, though if I would have been home, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it much better.
It is now almost sunset, and the empty transports and us are leaving the Philippines. The Jap planes still keep coming at different intervals, but they have been unable to hit any of us. We are taking these transports to Hollandia, New Guinea, from there no one seems to know where we will go. It might be to load on some more troops and back to the Leyte Gulf. Soon, though we ought to be taking them to Manila for an invasion, that is evident.
November 29, 1944 — Hollandia, New Guinea
Around 10 o’clock this morning we arrived with the transports at Hollandia. It is here that we received a message telling us we will go to Pearl Harbor upon completion of the Leyte campaign. Everyone seems to think from there it will be to the States. The Luzon invasion which will start next month will be missing the Abbot. This will be the first large invasion that we’ve missed since we’ve come out here.
The crew is all hoping to be in the States for Christmas, but though I may seem optimistic, I still don’t think we will be around the States until Easter time. Hollandia Harbor here is filled with ships, guess those starting to get ready for Luzon. Since we have received no assignment for this next invasion, I don’t have any idea where we will go. However, let’s just hope it’s Stateside and thirty days’ leave.
December 22, 1944 — Hollandia, New Guinea
We have been here laying in this harbor for over three weeks now and as yet we have no assignment. Most of us are getting itchy feet and want to get going again. After this next invasion (which will probably be Luzon) we expect to go back to the States. So you can see why we want to get started and get this next invasion over as soon as we can. It looks very likely we will spend Christmas here, and then off we will go. It gets quite monotonous just staying at anchor seeing the same old land. If everything goes well in the next invasion, I think around Easter time this mighty ship will be going back home for a rest and repairs. Eighteen months out here is enough for anyone and I’m sure you folks back there want to see your sons, husbands, etc. back. Let us hope and pray.
December 23, 1944 — At Sea
Today believe it or not we got underway at 1 o’clock in the morning. We are taking one merchant ship which is loaded with Radar equipment to Leyte in the Philippines. The first merchant ship which was carrying the same equipment was sunk and 7 million dollars worth of equipment went down with it. So you see this is quite an important job for us and much responsibility. After we arrive in Leyte, we are expected to aircraft carrier escorts, so the latest scuttlebutt seems to say, where we will operate no definite word seems to be given, but it is possible that around Luzon supplies good hunting grounds. Well, before long we can find out just how good they are, so for now we will just relax and take things as they come.
December 25, 1944 (Christmas Day) — At Sea
We are still underway and heading for Leyte. Again at Christmas we are out to sea, but Christmas spirit is not lacking, for everyone aboard has been going around giving his greeting. This morning at 2 AM, we had a submarine contact and for a moment it looked like we’d get ourselves a present. But alas, we lost it. Our radar gear is not working and that is pretty tough on us, since we are unable to pick up any enemy aircraft. However, as soon as we reach our destination, we hope to have it repaired immediately, so that we shall be able to carry out our assignment with the aircraft carriers.
Christmas dinner aboard ship was very good. The turkey seemed to taste exceptionally well. When we all left the mess hall, I can reassure you that everyone had plenty to eat. We had an occasional rain shower but towards the evening it turned out to be a clear and warm day, as you know so unusual for Christmas. This Christmas, believe it or not, I didn’t even get to hear any Christmas carols, but yet somehow and somewhere the spirit of this holiday seemed quite high to us. At the moment, we are only about 30 miles from Palau, and a short while ago, two aircraft passed us, the planes looked like T.B.F. so there must be some aircraft carriers operating around here. Well, we expect to arrive in Leyte early on the 28th if everything goes well, so until then I close hoping for the best.
December 27, 1944 — Leyte, Philippine Islands
It is around 8:30 at night and we have entered the channel and before long we’ll be at Leyte Gulf. So far we have had no air raids, and though we expected them, it seems we’ve done quite a thorough job in cleaning them out. Our radar gear is still in bad condition. There are quite a number of ships in the harbor, battlewagons such as Alabama, New Mexico, and Mississippi, cruisers such as Louisville, Minneapolis, and Boise. The typhoon weather is undoubtedly coming to an end, and from now on it ought to be smooth sailing. The night is pretty dark, with no moon so I doubt very much if we will have any raid tonight, but even if they do come it will provide us with our old time amusements again.
January 1, 1945 — New Year’s Day, Leyte
Today is New Year’s. Last year found me in Ellice Island, this year finds me in the Philippines. During the year we have traveled quite some distance and have penetrated deep into enemy territory. I guess this is the day everyone makes resolutions for the coming year. Well, I only make one and that is I resolve to come home for a short visit this year. We expect to be in Leyte only a short while and then expect to go with a task force to bombard Luzon. The sooner we get this next operation started and over with, the quicker we expect to go homeward bound. Rumors say that Invasion Day at Luzon is January 9, if so, the operation is expected to take 90 days, so around the first of April ought to find us heading home! We shall see.
January 2, 1945 — At Sea
At eleven o’clock at night we got underway. We are with a big task force, just how big it is I can’t say, since it is dark at the moment. Anyway, we are going to Luzon. We shall arrive there on the 6th of January and being bombarding the coast. Invasion Day will be January ninth. The troops are going to land one hundred miles north of Manila. So far as we can figure out, action out here will be plentiful. Undoubtedly the Japs will try everything in their power to try to stop us, so things will be hot. It is estimated that the Japs have around 175,000 troops here, their guns on the coastal beach are eight inch, and it is believed that we can expect close to 850 planes there. So here we come, and let’s hope that before long, liberty in Manila will be good.
January 3, 1945 — At Sea
Today I had my chance to glimpse at the task force we are with. There are 12 aircraft carriers, 7 battleships, 8 or 9 cruisers, 3 tankers, and 28 destroyers. So you can see for yourself we are a big force. Today one Japanese suicide plane tried crash diving into the Australian cruiser, but missed and met death into the sea.
As we are proceeding to Luzon, we have been passing many Japanese held islands such as Mindoro, Cebu, Negros, and a few others. Undoubtedly, they have reported to Tokyo that a great American task force is heading north. So no doubt the Japs have an idea we’re up to something big and probably at all cost will try to stop us, though I think if any of the Japanese fleet is in this vicinity, they are running so fast that we will not see them. In any case whatsoever, we are hoping they will come out and fight this time.
January 4, 1945 — At Sea
Ommaney Bay sinking We have just passed Panay, one of the Jap held islands. At five fifteen tonight, one Japanese plane which was above the clouds yet directly overhead, came screaming down in a suicide crash dive. She crashed into the aircraft carrier Omni Bay, just amidship. At first there was a cloud of smoke and suddenly flames broke out. The flames, however, could not be brought under control and word was passed to abandon ship. Explosion after explosion followed, and many of the ship’s planes were hurled skyward. How many survivors there are, we as yet do not know, but we fear there are only a few out of the 1,500 men aboard her that survived. There are four sailors aboard there who once served on the Abbot and who I knew well. Whether they are living or not, we as yet do not know, but the chances for them getting off in time was very little.
It is now two hours later, the carrier is still burning and since it is now dark she is lit up like a candle in a dark room. Explosions are still occurring, and it is believed the magazine room where ammunition is kept is what’s causing the explosions. She is sinking slowly but before long she will be at her grave. So far there are only a few survivors and it is doubtful whether 1/3 of the crew have survived. Jap planes are above flying around, but keeping well away in the distance. Two Japanese planes came in above and were shot down. Here it is, the invasion is still five days off and so far we lost one carrier, but believe me before we’re finished with this invasion they’ll be sorry for ever trying to stop us. And I’m sure that if those dead men about that carrier could speak, their words would be carry on, and full speed ahead.
January 5, 1945 — At Sea
Last night we passed Mindoro and as we continued on our way, the carrier could still be seen blazing. So one of our American destroyers was sent back to put a torpedo into her so that she wouldn’t fall into enemy hands. A few minutes later she sank. There have been altogether 825 survivors picked up, this also included the dead. The rest of the crew either were trapped in flames and went down with the ship or were blown to bits by the explosions.
We had many raids by the Japanese planes, but they were unable to do any damage. This morning at 11:30 we were 80 miles out from Manila. We are continuing up the coast of Luzon, which at the moment can be seen on the horizon. We are also now in the South China Seas. At five o’clock tonight just like yesterday, the Jap suicide planes came over. They were about twenty of them and were spread out. The first Jap suicide plane came into his screaming dive and crashed into the cruiser Louisville. The damage however, was not bad. So far the news we’ve received is one man dead, 15 minor injuries and the Captain burnt.
After this came another suicide Jap plane for his victim he has also picked out a cruiser. He came down fast with shells bursting all around him. When he was halfway down on his dive he knew that if he came any closer, he’d be shot down before he ever could crash dive, so he pulled out. Pulling halfway out of his dive he suddenly spotted the Manila Bay, an aircraft carrier, and down he went. He crashed directly into the bridge. An explosion followed. So far we have had no reports as to how badly damaged the carrier is, or how many killed. But one thing we know and that’s she is not going to go down. Thank God.
Those suicide dives have been continuing along now for two hours. Finally with most of the Japanese planes shot down, the few that were left, I guess they didn’t believe in hara-kiri for they scrammed and with our planes on their tails chasing them. So for today’s battle engagement we find that to our task force’s credit goes around twenty Japanese planes destroyed. But the Japs nevertheless gained more for they damaged one aircraft carrier, 2 cruisers (one by the way was Australian), one Australian destroyer damaged and also one American destroyer escort. So far these engagements for Luzon are costing us heavily, but we are paving the way to victory and refuse to be stopped. Within a couple of days we hope to have most of the Japs’ airfield and planes at Luzon knocked out, then they’ll understand why we are invincible. Tomorrow is another day and another story and I only hope that the news I write can be Japan’s death warrant.
January 6, 1945 — At Sea
This morning at dawn our battleships, cruisers and a few destroyers have gone into Luzon to bombard the coast. They will continue to do so for three days. The purpose of this feat is to soften up as much as possible the beachhead where our troops will land. At the moment the troopships have left Leyte and are on their way up here. They will arrive around midnight of the eighth and the invasion will commence the following morning, this being on the ninth. At the moment, five aircraft carriers and six of us destroyers are twenty-five miles off the coast. It is our duty of sending planes to the beach to drop bombs. We are also patrolling just in case any of the Japanese fleet should show up. These planes will also give air coverage to our troops when they invade.
Today we had only one raid, but the Japanese planes did no damage as our own planes kept them away. Talk about the sea being rough, well this China Sea has them all beat. It has been rough all day and we have been rolling, pitching and tossing in the sea like nobody’s business. We have been unable to eat chow down in the mess hall because it is quite impossible to carry a tray of food without it going all over the deck so we have had to be content with eating sandwiches today. They say this is just standard weather in the China Sea, well if so, I’d hate like hell to be here when it’s rough.
January 8, 1945 — At Sea
Tonight most all of the task group started forming up, for tomorrow is the invasion of Luzon. The troop transports arrived and believe me there are many. Right now there are twelve aircraft carriers with us so you can bet your sweet life that we are going to give those Marine and Army men plenty of air coverage tomorrow morning when they go in. The battleships, cruisers are still bombarding the coast and will do so until dawn. Those suicide planes are inflicting heavy damage to our ships. We are continuing to press the attack at all costs. Hearing a Tokyo news broadcast today, they quoted that they expected us to invade and were ready. Well all we can say is here we come and let’s see you stop us, go ahead and try.
January 9, 1945 — Invasion of Luzon
This morning at 09:30 history was made, for we invaded Luzon. We bombarded the coast up until the last minute, then when S-hour came our troops started to land. This all took place at Lingayon Gulf, the same place where the Japanese had landed in December, 1941. At the moment we have no information whatsoever of how everything will go out. Of course, plenty of Japanese resistance will occur but in the long run we shall win. In the first wave of troops, there were 60,000 and they landed in two places inside the gulf. So far little aerial fire has been encountered and it is believed that we took the Japs somewhat by surprise in making a landing at this point.
January 11, 1945 — Invasion of Luzon
So far we have received little news of how our troops are making out but from the little news gathered here and there, our troops are believed to have gotten a stronghold on the beachhead. Some opposition has been encountered but it is believed that the Japs had moored nine or ten miles inland before attempting to fight. So far as I have learned everything is going according to plan. The enemy aircraft has undoubtedly been wiped out for even out here we have failed to have any enemy raids in the past few days. We are still with the carriers, and as soon as our troops take the airfields, our job in this invasion will be done. We hope it’s to be soon.
January 14, 1945 — China Sea (Luzon)
So far we are still with the carriers off of Luzon and our planes are continuing to give air coverage to our troops on the beach. Our troops have established a good beachhead and are penetrating deeper. Up to this date they have taken several towns and one airfield. Our planes that are with the carriers continue to fly over the island. It is expected that our ships and a few more will leave this place in a few days and will probably go back to Leyte for provisions. Right now we do not have any meat, vegetables, etc. We are at the point where we have beans three meals a day and this supply will last only a few days. So we expect to leave here on around the 18th for we are in desperate need of chow. Anyway, it will be good to get into the calm Pacific for a while because this China Sea undoubtedly is as rough as the North Atlantic.
January 20, 1945 — At Sea
This morning at dawn two carriers and about five of us destroyers were supposed to arrive at Mindoro Island where we were supposed to get provisions, fuel and ammunition. But as we were about to enter port, we received a message that three Jap warships are prowling around somewhere in the vicinity and it’s our duty to go out and get them. It is now late in the afternoon and we are around 100 miles west of Mindoro and as yet we have made no contact with the enemy. Planes from the carriers as well as us ships are continuing to make the search. Either the Japs have some damn good hiding place or else they had a hunch we’d be looking for them and fled. We hope not, we’re always ready to meet them.
January 21, 1945 — Mindoro Island
This morning when I awoke I found before my eyes a vast piece of land which is Mindoro. By the way, our search for those 3 Jap ships was in vain, for we never found them. It is now almost evening and we are going to leave this place in a few minutes and join up with our carrier group. We received fuel here but very little stores so it looks like we will continue to eat rice and beans for a few more days. One ship in this harbor, an oil tanker to be exact, is burning. She was hit by a Jap bomber and has been blazing for 19 days. This place was just taken from the Japs about a month ago, and fighting is still going on in some parts on the beach, though the Navy itself has the sea area well cleared of Japanese ships. So off we go again, undoubtedly to Luzon.
January 29, 1945 — (Luzon) Invasion at Subic Bay
Today our task force helped American Army units to make new landings in the San Felipe, San Antonio, San Marcelino Sector in the Province of Zambales in southwestern Luzon. Landings were made without opposition and employment of naval gunfire. The first wave hit the beach at 08:30 and by 10:45 some units had advanced as far as 5,000 yards inland. Local guerrillas claim the above mentioned beach areas are free of Japs and the San Marcelino Airdrome under guerrilla control. Advance units of our landing forces have already commenced exploratory sweeps to the Subic Bay. We landed 20,000 troops here and have had no air or surface opposition, so I guess it is just about now we can say enemy resistance on Luzon has ceased with the exception of the fighting around Manila.
February 4, 1945 — Mindoro Island
Our job has been completed and the carriers are going back to Guadalcanal for rehabilitation. We are going to Mindoro where our ship is being assigned to the cruiser Cleveland. We have now arrived in Mindoro. I went over on the beach and met one of my buddies who is an aviation ordnance on a PBY. She showed us all around. There is also a Japanese plane on the beach which was shot down. Now everything is stripped by us souvenir hunters. Rumors are we are going on anti-sub patrol for two days. I hope we don’t for we are hoping to get some food. For two weeks we have been living on beans and rice that the boys are announcing we won the Battle of Luzon on beans and rice and bugs.
February 8, 1945 — At Sea
This evening four cruisers and ten of us destroyers left Mindoro Island and are on our way to Subic Bay in Luzon. We will arrive there tomorrow morning since it is only about 175 miles from here. We Abboteers are right now operating with about the best destroyer fleet. The tin cans numbers range from 445 continuously on up to 450. Names of some of these are Nicholas, Fletcher, O’Bannon, La Vallette. As a matter of fact, all of these destroyers have been back to the States. This undoubtedly counts for their being camouflaged, while our ship compared to theirs is a dark gray with many green spots covering up the rusty spots, plus plenty of barnacles on the side.
February 9, 1945 — Subic Bay (Luzon)
We arrived this morning, and there were hardly any ships in the harbor. We only acquired this place from the Japs on January 29. Fighting can be still seen plainly on the beach. From what I have learned, the reason we have come here is because we are the advanced home fleet. From here we can not only protect our own ships, but can also expect the Japanese fleet and from here we can easily cut them off. This evening as I came topside to catch myself a breather, over yonder on the mountain could be seen a great blaze which undoubtedly was a forest fire. Our troops were smoking out the Japs in an attempt to make them give up. Gun flashes can be seen continuously. Just a few seconds ago, three flashes lit up this dark night to a bright and sunny day. It was followed by continuous explosions which to my mind has no doubt that an ammunition ship has been hit.
To the northeast of us there is a great glow in the sky. There is no doubt that it is caused by Manila burning which by the way is only around 35 miles from here. We have said that if the Japs put the torch to Manila, we would drop incendiaries mercilessly on Tokyo. They have not taken our heed. When the time comes and Tokyo lies in ruins, the Japs will understand that they themselves have brought this on and no rising sun will ever come to their aid.
Directly east of here lies the Bataan peninsula. It can be easily seen. Many huts can bee seen along the shore. In fact a town lies only a few hundred yards away. We are unable to go on the beach, as many Japanese snipers still remain. The Filipinos do not come out in their boats alongside our ship as they do in Leyte. No doubt they have been told to keep away. So most souvenir hunters will just have to wait. We expect to be here until around March 2. Then we are supposed to get relieved and also transferred from the Seventh Fleet since our job for them will be finished. If luck plays our hand probably we will find ourselves homeward bound though the Skipper still thinks we won’t go back until July.
February 13, 1945 — Corregidor and Bataan (Philippines)
This morning at 07:00 we left Subic Bay. There were five cruisers which were the Cleveland, Denver, Boise, Phoenix and Montpelier and around eight of us destroyers which included Fletcher, O’Bannon, La Vallette, Nicholas, Jenkins and a few more. We arrived at Corregidor and Bataan around noon, and as we laid there waiting for about 23 mine sweepers to finish their sweeping, we saw that planes were bombarding the two islands. At one o’clock we got into bombarding position and commenced firing. Our job mostly was concentrated on a cement battlewagon which sits on a sand bar off Corregidor, called so because of its shape. It is believed that 14 inch guns were here.
At 4 o’clock, three hours later, we stopped bombarding. During that length of time it was quite evident that the cruisers and destroyers go in some good hits. When we left we were well satisfied. One thing that surprised not only me but the rest of the crew and that is we expected a little enemy fire but received none in return of ours. The purpose of bombarding these two islands is because in a couple of days our troops are going to invade them. On February 15 amphibious landings will be made on Bataan and on the 16th, one day later, American paratroopers will invade Corregidor. So it is our duty for the next couple days to neutralize as much as possible all gun emplacements, and do as much damage as we can to enemy installations s possible, so as to make it as easy for our boys to land without suffering many casualties. In taking these two islands, we open a supply route to Manila. Without holding Bataan or Corregidor it would be impossible to ensure safe traveling for our ships in the Luzon area. We arrived back at Subic Bay at 6:30 that same evening.
February 14, 1945 — Corregidor and Bataan (Philippine Islands)
Corregidor bombardment This morning at 05:30 we got underway with the same cruisers and destroyers. Our destination and operations are the same as yesterday. We arrived at Corregidor and Bataan around nine o’clock and at ten we began to bombard. To our surprise, things didn’t go so easy. The Japs seemed a little awakened today and returned gunfire. It was our purpose to get as close to the beach as possible, and when the Japs opened fire on us, it was just what we wanted them to do for they gave their gun positions away and it was then that we’d open up with five gun salvos to knock out their installations. And we succeeded by all means in causing fires and big explosions.
Towards sunset it seemed we ran into a little bad luck for we suffered some casualties. First the destroyer Hopewell was hit five times when Jap batteries got her range and opened fire. From the rumors heard it was believed she lost seven enlisted personnel and one officer. Then a mine sweeper was hit and later sank. Next on the list came the destroyer Fletcher, though all she received was damage done by shrapnel. The destroyer La Vallette hit a mine and her bow was blown into pieces. The Radford, another destroyer was sent in to give her aid and she was hit by a mine which damaged her engineering spaces. So you see our luck wasn’t too well especially for us destroyers. But the waters are just loaded with mines, to give you an example, one mine sweeper this morning destroyed 80 mines. It is now evening and we are taking the crippled destroyers Radford and La Vallette to Subic Bay, it will be a slow journey.
February 15, 1945 — Invasion on Southern Bataan
This morning after dawn the damaged destroyers having gone into Subic, we turned around, and with thirty knots as our speed we headed back to Bataan and Corregidor to join up with our cruisers and destroyers. One half hour, we were there. We began bombarding and at the same time our troops commenced landing on Southern Bataan. Today we have been firing good and though we have gone in close to the beach, the Japs only in a few cases have opened fire on us. Undoubtedly they have gotten wise and know that is just what we are waiting for. We have been bombarding the same islands, etc. Today we did most of our firing at a sort of a cliff, for many caves can be seen and there is no question as to whether there are any Japs in there, for we know there are.
In these last three days we have fired over 700 rounds of ammunition and I’m sure every one of them has left a scar on the island. As for the invasion, we have received little news as to how they are making out on the beach. About all I know is that the first wave that landed were successful and that the second wave was also going in to land. Heavy bombardment preceded the landing and our troops landed while smoke was rising from the places that had been hit, thus providing them with a smoke screen covering. And as night approached, our troops I’m sure were well dug in for the night.
February 16, 1945 — Invasion of Corregidor
This morning at eight o’clock, we started bombarding Corregidor also followed by planes dropping their loads of bombs. At exactly one half hour later, the transport planes arrived and the invasion began. Parachutes could be seen in vast numbers over Corregidor as they descended. They landed directly upon the Japanese garrison where there are barracks and other buildings. From the view I had, which by the way could be called somewhat of a ringside seat, very little enemy opposition can be seen. The planes as well as our ships are still continuing to pound the beach. At ten thirty, two hours later, the amphibious boats and barges arrived and they continued to land the rest of the troops. The Japs opened up on them, and having done so they revealed their hidden gun emplacements. So we all opened up on them and in a short while we had all their batteries silenced.
Because of some dangerous mines floating around, our destroyer and also the Hopewell plus three mine sweepers were sent in to blow them up. Of the twelve mines that were floating above the surface, our ship destroyed seven of them, and in doing so, received a well done from the Admiral. It is now getting dark, two cruisers and four of us destroyers are going to stay here. We will fire shells all night, for in doing so will sorta light up Japanese position, thus helping the men on the beach to see. Before long, I wouldn’t be surprised to find ourselves in possession of all Corregidor. Just a little time.
February 17, 1945 — Corregidor (Philippine Islands)
Japanese prisoners Today proved to be quite an exciting day. First of all, in the morning we picked up three Japanese Navy personnel. Two of the Japanese couldn’t understand English, but the third one, a Japanese officer, was born in Riverside, California and could speak perfect English. When we first went alongside to pick them up, one of the Japs put a gun to his head and tried to commit suicide, but the gun was jammed and never went off. The Skipper fired three shots just missing him, signifying to get rid of his gun. He did so. Then he tried drowning himself and would have done so, had not one of our men jumped in to stop him. The only reason we didn’t let him drown was because we either wanted to question them for military information or it’s because we’re Americans who are humane and will even give a Jap a break. Nevertheless, when we took them aboard, we took all their clothes off for fear they might have a knife or hand grenade hidden. They didn’t, but we weren’t taking chances for we knew them too well. We questioned the American Jap officer for military information and he told us there were 3,000 Japs on Corregidor and 4,000 on the other islands nearby. Their morale as low, they had very little food. They had been on here five months, their duty was in laying mines. A few hours later a PT boat came alongside and we transferred them off our ship. The two Japanese were transferred to the beach for the Army to take care of, while the Japanese officer was taken aboard a cruiser to be questioned. By the way, he lived in California and attended USC college. He has been serving in the Japanese Navy four years.
In the afternoon, Army Artillery spotters sent word to us to knock up two pill boxes and a machine gun nest which the Japs seem to be raising hell with. So we went in and in one half hour’s time, we received word form the Army that our firing was well done and we had knocked out the two pill boxes and machine gun nest completely. It is now evening and we are going back to Subic Bay with the cruiser Boise. We arrived there in an hour and a half where we took on ammunition, about a thousand rounds to be exact. We also fueled ship. We expect to be here for a few days, just laying around. It will give us a little rest, then off we’ll go again, to where no one knows until we reach our destination, but it will be to see more action. I want you to know that the Navy’s job on Corregidor is about done so we will go to soften up some other place for the Army.
February 24, 1945 — At Sea
This evening at 05:30, four of us destroyers, us, Fletcher, O’Bannon, Jenkins with the three cruisers Denver, Montpelier and Cleveland. We are proceeding to Mindoro where we will stay there a couple of days. We expect to bombard Palawan, which is an island north of Borneo. We will also invade this place. Our Skipper has been recommended for the Silver Star from the Admiral on the Denver because of expert maneuverability, good shooting at mines. We all hope he receives it for in my opinion, this Captain we have aboard is really tops and I’m sure the whole crew would go to bat for him any day. As for us we’re proud to have him serving on board and we know he is also.
February 25, 1945 — Mindoro
This morning at dawn we arrived in the harbor of Mindoro. Very few warships are in here. There are many Landing Ship Transports here so we know that this place Palawan will be invaded shortly after us and the cruisers are finished with bombardment. It is believed that the operation will commence on the 28th of this month. As for resistance here, we think the only trouble we may run into is Japanese planes since this island is in use as an airfield. As for enemy gun emplacements, we’ve heard they have only 2 three inch guns. Of course, when we get there we will find out justly. Until then we only hope all is true and that this operation goes with a snap.
February 27, 1945 — At Sea
This morning, us four same destroyers and the same three cruisers got underway at 06:30. We are going to supply firing power for our troops, which are going to land on the island of Palawan, which is 190 miles from Mindoro just off of Borneo. From reports that have come in, it is believed that there are only a few Japanese gun emplacements. There is expected to be only around 300 Japanese combat men plus 2,000 civilians. As far as we are concerned, we expect none or slight Japanese resistance. Our destroyer and the three cruisers will be the only ones to fire, though us three destroyers will screen the 3 cruisers against air or submarine attacks. We have no scheduled fire, it will be our duty to open up on any Japs we see, or any gun emplacements. If we should draw fire from the beach, it will be very close over the beach, and occasionally drop a bomb. Other than that, no action can be seen.
The day itself is misty, visibility was poor in the morning, though now late in the afternoon it has turned out to be a hot and muggy day. As dusk is approaching, the cruisers and four of us destroyers are preparing to leave. As far as we are concerned the Navy’s job is done and it’s up to the Army. We are going to Subic Bay. From there no one seems to know just where we will go. We have heard that on March 5 our troops are going to invade the island of Negros, on March 10, we invade Mindanao, and March 15, Panay. If so you can rest assured the Abbot will be there giving as much support to our soldiers as we possibly can.
March 4, 1945 — Subic Bay (Philippines)
It is now 06:30 in the evening and we are getting underway. Today Milton Christman from the Braine came over to see me. His ship is in the same harbor as us. The last time I had seen him was in Pearl Harbor just after they had come back from the States and that almost 8 months ago. We had quite a talk for around three hours. He stayed for dinner and marveled at our chow. Since we are leaving tonight and his ship is not, we shook hands and departed. We hope to see each other again. If I get back to the States before I do see him, he has given me his mother’s address to drop her a line.
We are now leaving this harbor with 2 cruisers and 4 of us destroyers. We are going to Mindoro and will be there in the morning. I think we are going to be in the operation against Mindanao which comes off on the 10th of March. We took aboard stores to last us until the end of June, so it looks like we’re going to stay out here in the Pacific until then.
March 5, 1945 — Mindoro (Philippine Islands)
The Boise and Phoenix cruisers and us four destroyers arrived in port this morning. After entering, fueled ship. So far there are only a few warships to be seen. It is believed we will be here only a few days since our next operation will commence in a few more days. Laying in port here we are continuing to paint the ship, in fact all destroyers are. About the only advantage we have in laying around in port is that we see movies aboard ship, otherwise I’m sure most of us would rather be out to sea. This next operation which we believe will be Mindanao is supposed to come off around the 10th so until then we will just have to stall around here a day or so and then be on our way.
March 6, 1945 — Mindoro (Philippines)
Today is the most luckiest day I ever had since being out here. It all occurred when our Chief got orders to transfer 4 WT3/c back to Frisco for reassignment. There are 8 of us WT3/c so he called us all down the fireroom to draw out of a hat to see which ones will go. I’ve been one of the lucky ones, so after this operation is over I shall be transferred back to the States. I shall get my 30 days leave, plus traveling time and also maybe a little schooling in Philadelphia. Yes, I’m glad to leave for I know that I shall be home soon, yet somehow I’m going to miss the ship for it’s been sorta a home to me for over 2 years. I’ve been through glory and hell with it, and I want you to know that I’ve been more than proud to serve aboard her.
March 7, 1945 — At Sea
Today at 07:30 in the morning, we got underway. We are leaving with the 2 cruisers and 4 destroyers. We are going to Mindanao. We shall be there tomorrow morning. We are going to fire around 1800 rounds of ammunition with the cruisers for we have many targets to destroy. Since our troops will land there on the 10th it is up to us to knock out all of the enemy objectives we can before the landing. So you can see we have quite a job to do in not much time. After we take this island we shall have most of the biggest islands under control. The Philippine Operation in the Pacific can be secured except for Negros, Panay, and Cebu but they will have these islands by the end of this month.
March 8, 1945 — Bombardment of Zamboanga (Mindanao)
Early this morning, we arrived off the coast of Mindanao. Minesweepers are in front of us sweeping for mines. This island is the second largest in the Philippines. There are a few B-24s overhead and they are continuing to bombard the island. As we approached the beach the minesweepers have gone almost up on the beach. Some have drawn enemy fire and in doing so we have lended assistance. Word has been received that three of our B-24s have been shot down. As evening approaches all of us ships are returning to the sea. We have only fired 20 rounds, but tomorrow is another day and I’m sure that they will understand just how bad off those Japs will be. In taking these islands, the Philippines may be known as secured, and believe me, we done it in record time.
March 9, 1945 — Bombardment of Zamboanga (Mindanao)
This morning at 06:30 we began commencing to fire on the island. And by the looks of things it looks like we are going to do plenty of it. Already only a few columns of smoke have begun. Some of the exciting incidents that occurred today I shall explain. First of all we picked up one of our own men, an Army Lieutenant of the Tank Corps. He has been a captive ever since the war started. He was in pretty weak condition and said the only way he escaped was that the Japs thought he was going to die, so they left them to. He stated there are many Japs here, and also that 2 midget Japanese submarines are operating somewhere near about. He has provided much information as to Japanese gun emplacements.
Here is the situation as it now stands for the Japs. Most of their guns, troops and equipment are massed along the east side for they thought we’d strike there. However, here we are at the most southwestern part. Now the situation remains, can the Japs move all their equipment and stuff over to the west side before we invade. In everyone’s mind the answer is no, for this is jungle area and traveling is slow. So as far as the invasion is concerned we shouldn’t have too much trouble establishing a beachhead. However, there are still plenty of guns even here and even as the Army Lieutenant said, there’s still plenty of Japs.
We are now retiring for the night. And as we leave, smoke is coming from the island. We did a good job today and believe me, our soldiers in landing shouldn’t get too much resistance, but once there safely on the beach, it’s up to them to do the rest.
March 10, 1945 — Invasion of Mindanao
Well today is the big day. It is now 06:30 in the morning and we are going to bombard the island for a continuous 2 hours, we shall secure just before the troops hit the beach. It is now late in the afternoon. It has been six hours since our troops have landed, nevertheless the planes as well as us ships are still continuing to bombard the beach. Just how well our boys are making out on the beach. As for us Navy men, everything seems to have gone well so far. We have landed the troops safely and now it’s up to them. We shall be around here a few days yet since if the Army wants us to knock out some enemy equipment that should be giving the soldiers any trouble.
March 11, 1945 — Invasion of Mindanao
I don’t remember mentioning the certain place we invaded. It’s called Zamboanga. So far in this invasion we are getting along on schedule. We practically have all of the west coast side of the beach. This evening just before sunset, we received word from the cruiser that at the end of the mouth of the Bay of Basilon, six Japanese barges were loading up to try to sneak out. So our ship alone was assigned to go get them. So with flank speed, we started off with a flash. When we arrived at Basilon, sure enough there were six Japanese barges getting ready to leave. Four P-47 planes were circling around and strafing. They had sunk four barges before we had even had time to open fire. But when we did we got the last two, one shell hit one barge in the bow, the other on the fantail. We had a plane spotting for us, which means he was telling us just where our shells were landing. Anyway, having sunk the barges, the Captain noticed a few trenches over on Basilon so he decided that we’d better put a few shells in them. So when we left this place it was burning in several spots.
With our destination completed, we headed back with the cruiser who I’m sure must have given us a well done and as night approached all of us ships started to get underway. We aren’t going anywhere special, only we’re not taking any chances of just lying around for we know that a Jap midget sub is around somewhere and as far as we’re concerned we’re not going to give him a target to shoot at.
March 12, 1945 — Invasion of Mindanao
Reveille was at 05:00 and general quarters at 06:30. Right now we are a tour station waiting for call fire from the beach. As yet we have not received any. As the day continues to elapse we have not fired a single round today. From the looks of the situation it looks like the Army and Navy have the situation well in hand. It is not four o’clock in the afternoon and the four of us destroyers plus the two cruisers are leaving this place. Our job is done so we are heading back. The Chief told me to have my sea bag ready on entering ports and we may get transportation and leave. So it’s looking like I’ll be counting the days now and before long I’ll be shoving off.
March 13, 1945 — At Sea
We are still underway. The sea by the way is very rough and it reminds me a great deal of the China Sea, though the sea here is as rough. We expect to arrive in Mindoro around noon time. We will then fuel ship, take on ammunition, 180 rounds is all we need, then we’re getting underway to Subic Bay, where we will arrive there tomorrow morning. It is here we expect to get transferred. At the moment my sea bag is all packed and ready for just in cast they do decided to send us all here at Mindoro I shall be ready. Before a few days, I shall be homeward bound on some ship and then it’s farewell to the Abbot. I shall always remember her as the greatest and mightiest destroyer afloat in the Pacific.
March 14, 1945 — Subic Bay
Arrived at Subic Bay on this day at early dawn. Here I was told to have all my gear ready for preparing to leave the ship on a transfer. So today I have been mighty busy in getting all my clothes and equipment into the sea bag. As yet we have no idea as to the certain date we will leave. But we know that when the Abbot does pull out it will be minus 15 of us men. So all we are able to do is just wait around now for transportation. Somehow leaving the ship seems like saying goodbye to the Navy, for it has been a pleasure to serve on it, to the crew and ship, I can say I shall miss you tremendously.
March 15, 1945 — Subic Bay
It is now almost sunset and we are leaving the ship. The crowd that turned out to say farewell to us fellows was mighty big. After shaking hands with our buddies we took all our gear and boarded a PT boat. And as we went sailing by, the Skipper waved his hand in farewell. We were then taken aboard the SS Sherwood, a merchant ship who will take us to Leyte. What transportation we shall get from there we have no idea. On my orders I was to report to San Francisco by March 15. I know I can’t be there since it’s today. At last I’m homeward bound and before June I ought to reach home I hope.
March 22, 1945 — At Sea
This morning at 8 o’clock we got underway. We are with a convoy of merchant ships which are going to Leyte. We expect to arrive there Saturday morning. When I do reach there I don’t know if I’ll go on the beach or stay on. Well, one thing I can say and that is I’ve finally begun to start hitchhiking homeward. It’s around a 7,029-mile journey to Frisco and believe me I’ve got a long ways to go. When we do reach Leyte, I can say that I’ve traveled two hundred miles. From there if I am able to get a plane from Guam I shall then be able to say I’m well on my way. However, the longer it takes me to get back the longer time before I shall have to come out here.
March 28, 1945 — Leyte (Philippines)
Well here I am at Leyte. I am still aboard the merchant ship, the SS Sherwood. Right now a boat is supposed to come over from the beach to take us to the receiving station. So right now all we are able to do is wait. Just when we will leave this place to board another ship we have no idea, it may take a month longer or maybe even a shorter time. But the longer it takes me to get back, the closer to summer it will be and now that I’m going back I’m in no definite hurry. But just the same I’d rather be moving on some slow merchant ship than laying around this mud hole and I’m not kidding.
April 1, 1945 (Easter Sunday) — Leyte
Today is Easter and though the climate out here might be called Easter weather, the day and spirit itself are far from it. Yet somehow this Easter to me can be considered one of the happiest for on this day I find that I’m still continuing my journey to the States. The boat which was supposed to come after us and take us to the beach has failed to arrive for the past few days so I think we shall continue to ride this ship to another port before we disembark. For some reason or other I enjoy being aboard here for I have it easy. I can do anything I please, no watches whatsoever. All I really do is eat and sleep. And the crew aboard here are really swell and treat us with everything of the best.
April 2, 1945 — At Sea
This morning at 08:00 we got underway in a convoy which is going to Hollandia, New Guinea. Just what I’ll do when I get there I don’t know. I was talking with the Master of this ship and he said there is a possibility that his ship might go to San Francisco. If so I’m going to try and stay on her and ride this all the way back. If it doesn’t, I expect to get off at New Guinea and I’ll either try and get a plane or a Navy ship going to Pearl Harbor. So far transportation out here has been pretty tough to get. I hope, however, for New Guinea to have better conditions. We shall arrive there April 8 which is Sunday so for now I can just relax and sorta hope for the best, though I wouldn’t be surprised to get the worst.
April 9, 1945 — At Sea
It is around 08:00 and we are off the coast of New Guinea. Expect to arrive at Hollandia by noon. On April 7 we crossed the equator. The weather these past few days has been quite stormy. At one time we just missed a hurricane, for we got just the end of it and believe me that was enough. Well, I guess Ann is home on leave now, too bad I couldn’t make it in time but after all hitchhiking a measly 10,000 miles is no easy task and with the acute shortage of transportation out here, well you can see it just doesn’t help matters in the least. But I’ll get there no matter how long it takes, at least I know I don’t have to say “Golden Gates in ’48” like some guys do.
April 10, 1945 — Hollandia, New Guinea
We arrived at New Guinea this morning. After having dropped the anchor, the Master was going over to get his orders, to find out if this ship is going back to the States. Taking no chances, I also went ashore and while he went over to the Port of Directors, I went over to the airstrip to find out if I could get transportation by plane. The airfield by the way is 25 miles inland and believe me going through those jungles is no fun. Anyway, the air transportation officer promised me a plane in the morning as far as Manus.
When I got back to the ship, good news was awaiting me, for the Master had come back and said we were leaving that evening for Manus where we would take on fuel and water and proceed to the States. Since I have it very good aboard here I decided to stay on here. So that evening found us leaving New Guinea on our way to here. We will arrive in Manus in a couple of days and from there our next stop will be Frisco.“So hello, Frisco, here I come. Right back where I started, Frisco.” It’s going to be a long journey back but then again every day that passes shall bring me so much further to home. It’s a funny thing, though, coming out here to the war zone we made it in quick time, but leaving it, well it’s like having to crawl on your hands and knees to get anywhere. Well I have started just about that.
April 12, 1945 — Manus Island (Admiralties)
We arrived in Manus late this afternoon. We fueled ship at 20:00 but we shall not leave here till tomorrow at 12 o’clock noon. This place I visited last October 3. Looking at it today I can notice how much it’s changed. For it is now somewhat deserted. Everything here has been moved up to the Philippines and though this had been one of the biggest stopping over places for our ships it is now not that. The cruiser Boise is in here, and the last time I saw her was at Subic Bay while on the Abbot. However, as for the Abbot she is nowhere around. My guess is she’s at Mindanao doing her job.
April 13, 1945 — Manus (Admiralties)
This morning when I awoke at 10:45 I was startled by a bit of news which I shall long remember. I notice that the flag on our ship was flying at half mast and upon inquiring about it, I learned of the President’s death. This news somehow I felt weak and sick, this man who has been with us through many a crisis has finally gone into a deep slumber. But I am sure that there was no greater way of dying than for his country! He died while fighting in the line of duty for his country. But I am sure that before he left, he has assured himself that when this war is over with the peace which has been accomplished shall not have been in vain. So it’s not as though we shall ever forget him. The memory of his name alone will always set us to an example of such a great man. One brave dead does not make one a hero; it is a combination of more than just that. He had to strive, to seek, find, and not yield, that is what made him so great. He served us most because he served his country best. To this day, I shall long remember him, not only I, but so shall everyone else. But as time goes along, he shall be compared with Lincoln, Washington, and other great Presidents.
April 29, 1945 — At Sea
Today as we continue to make our way to the States, the weather seems to become much cooler. At the moment off to the horizon we can see the Hawaiian Islands. We have just come into view of them. However, we are not stopping here and believe me, I’m glad of that. Right now we have about 10 more days before we hit the mainland. Somehow to me it all seems like a dream. Once I was counting months before I’d ever see it, now I’ve been counting weeks, and before long it will be only a matter of a few days. This has altogether been a long journey for me, but yet is one I shall long remember.
May 6, 1945 — San Francisco
This morning when I awoke there stood before my eyes a scene I shall long remember. For here before me laid not the Statue of Liberty but the Golden Gate Bridge. At last I knew I was home. It is hard for me to describe just how happy I am, but to see the green grass, buildings still standing, etc. this I knew was the land of the free. Each and every one of us aboard I know is thankful to be back, and it is not with shame I say that many of us stood on that deck with tearful eyes. Not because we were sad, but because we were fortunate to be home. So as I end my diary for the present, I have no idea what lies ahead in the future. But wherever I go, or whatever I do, I have learned, will learn and continue to carry on with as much zest as before. May God guide me in the present as he has in the past.
June 19, 1945 — Home Sweet Home
Today is my last day of leave. It was good to be home again and now as I get ready to leave I thank God for having given me such an opportunity to see my loved ones. The thirty days leave I spent I shall long remember and my only hope is that every one of my shipmates who I left behind, shall get the same opportunity that I had. Now that I must prepare to leave once more, I do not feel happy, yet one phrase I remember well, and that is “home is the sailor only when he is at sea.” This to some extent is true, for as long as war continues the sailor must sail the seas. So it is here I bring my diary to a close. Whatever lies ahead I do not know, but one thing I am certain of and that is if God guides me as well in the present has he has in the past, I shall pull through with flying colors.
October 13, 1945 — Boston Separation Center
Today after shaking hands with Captain Grady, I once more returned to civilian life. To me this day was one I shall long remember.