United States Navy
Naval Construction Battalion 103 was not among the first to go to war. World War II had been raging perilously for twenty-one months before our men mustered into boot camp. Yet this did not mean we were lax in responding to the battle call. For it was logical that the nation count on many of our kind to first build the industrial might by which we armed ourselves and our allies. Aircraft plants and planes, munitions plants and guns, shipyards and ships had to be built. Those who remained behind us had to be taught a multitude of artisan trades only the construction men could perform. Then, with the industrial potential leaping ahead, we put down our tools and tasks: We said goodbye to our families, children and friends, and solemnly shoved off for boot camp.
By average, the men in this battalion, and those who followed, are older in years of experience. When we entered boot camp a new system of military training, based on modern battlefield conditions, awaited us. When we took aboard our gear for the big overseas job, we found it to be the best equipment man could make.
This is a far different story than of our Construction Brothers who had gone on before. Ill-prepared, those men threw themselves before the yellow tide in the Pacific-and stopped it cold. Only a few bull dozers, a minimum of military training, and an amazing amount of guts did the trick. They diked up that yellow tide. Held it until we and others, well trained and well equipped, could move out into this war theater to secure and make ready the great offensive now launched from all quarters against the enemy.
Naval Construction Battalion 103, to date, has seen only the backwash of war: Marine casualties returned from tough campaigns; a handful of enemy flushed out, like sewer bugs from dank and odorous caves; a city and villages blasted to rubble and ruin; natives carrying life-time scars of torture. These sights have a profound effect upon all of us. Impulsively we want to drop the hammer and saw, take up the carbine and press on to actual combat. That chance may yet come.
We are on this tour of duty to build. We are here to construct the facilities by which the war progresses toward the unconditional surrender of the enemy. And we are bound to do these duties well for the sake of every man who came out here to fight and to build, but who will never see, with mortal eyes, his home again.
The Seabees were conceived at a ghastly, agonizing hour in our history shortly after Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. They emerged as a surprise force, the one BIG NEW element in the waging of a surprise war, and have proven to be neither strictly sea goin', in the Navy sense, nor landlubbers. Rather their ranks boast of men of the sea and men of the soil alike. They have brought their pontoon causeways through rough surf and shellfire to establish beachheads; they have tilled the soil of these far off lands to raise crops for desolated natives. Yet their main task has been to construct forward bases from which a mighty Navy and Army press home the attack.
Construction Battalion 103 is doing just that. And in this pictorial review of our tour of duty thus far, you will see a battalion of American men at work-and at play, too. For it is an American premise to see the lighter side, to fraternize with friendly people, to indulge in horse-play during those all too few hours of liberty.
United States Navy
From The Log of the U.S.S. Benson DD-421
The U.S.S. Benson (DD-421), is one a class of thirty-two destroyers, known as "Benson Class of 1937-1940." The Benson is one of thirty destroyers built to Bethlehem-prepared plans.
The Benson is named for Admiral William S. Benson, U.S.N., and was built at the Bethlehem Steel Company Plant, Quincy, Massachusetts -- authorized March 27, 1934; keel laid May 16, 1938; launched November 15, 1939 and first commissioned July 25, 1940.
Some of the characteristics of the Benson class are: square funnel caps and bases; uneven height of stacks. Destroyers of this class are ten tons lighter and eight inches narrower than destroyers of a later class, known as the "Livermore" type; otherwise they are similar. Both classes have four high-pressure boilers, geared turbines and twin screws. Cruising range exceeds 9,000 miles at 15 knots. The "Benson " class, DD-421 to DD-428 were originally armed with five 5-inch-38's, and ten tubes. A few still carry ten tubes. Light armor protects bridges and controls in all newer destroyers.
Little has been written of the part that destroyers played in World War II, where they were called on to fulfill such a variety of missions that they were multi-purpose ships, engaging in any form of combat. Because we lacked suitable escort ships, destroyers were used to protect convoys, as well as to guard our combatant Task Forces. Destroyers were used to bombard enemy shore positions, and to carry bombs and aviation gasoline, and stores to Guadalcanal during the lean weeks, early in the campaign in those far-distant seas.
By nature as well as by name, the purpose of the destroyer is wholly offensive Bantamweights in comparison with the great battlewagons, they pack a punch out of proportion to their size. They are triple-threat weapons, built to strike at the enemy on or over or under the sea. They are the "fightingest things afloat."
United States Navy
From U.S.S. Herald of the Morning Log
The U.S.S. Herald of the Morning built for the Maritime Commission as a C-2 cargo ship, and converted by the Navy into a medium-sized transport, spent most of her time as a Naval auxiliary in Pacific theatre amphibious operations during the war. This ship engaged in five amphibious operations, several re-enforcement runs into forward areas and was under enemy attack frequently but successfully eluded damage. Since the cessation of hostilities the Herald operated as part of the "Magic Carpet" and the Naval Transportation Service, evacuating Army and Navy personnel from the Pacific areas and carrying replacements to forward stations.
Built by the Moore Drydock and Shipbuilding Company of Oakland, Calif., in the summer of 1943, she was named for the American sailing ship "Herald of the Morning" which was famous on both oceans in the second half of the 19th century as a fast and beautiful medium clipper. The new Herald made one trip to the Hawaiian Islands as a merchant cargo vessel before being taken over early in 1944 by the Navy for conversion into an auxiliary transport.
United States Navy
On April 27, 1944, the escort carrier Makassar Strait (CVE 91), joined the United States fleet. The Navy had only recently started on the long road of island-hopping to Tokyo.
On January 14, 1946, the same carrier sailed her "last mile" to a Tacoma pier, to be placed "in commission in reserve." The war had ended five months before; most of America's fighting men had been returned to their homeland. The "Mighty Mak" had completed her mission in World War II. The job was done -- well done.
In the twenty-and-a-half months between those two dates, the baby flattop had been called upon to serve in a great variety of assignments. She had fought in direct support of landings and invasions; given aerial protection to the vital life-lines of supply to a fleet operating far from land bases; ferried many loads of planes to vital outposts; given training to hundreds of pilots enroute to front-line carrier duty; served as an experimental station afloat; and, when the fighting was over, scurried back and forth between Pacific islands and the West Coast bringing veterans home on the "magic carpet."
During this period, the Mak churned up a wake through more than 115,000 miles of Pacific ocean --a bout half way to the moon. Over fifteen thousand times Navy pilots had brought their Avengers, Wildcats, and Corsairs down on her sturdy flight deck.
This was the record of the 10,000-ton box-shaped floating airfield ... This is the story of the "Mighty Mak."
United States Navy
Bound in this volume is the history of your ship the U.S.S. Pasedena. This book has been written by the officers and men of the ship upon which you so gallantly served.
The pictures cover the whole course of the war in which the Pasadena took part, including its launching and commissioning.
The narrative is non professional and each department's History was written by one of its own officers or men.
To those of you returning to civilian life this book will serve as an informal record of your service in the Navy.
United States Navy
U.S.S. Saidor launched in March 1945 and was decommission in September 1947. The Saidor served as a photographic laboratory for the atomic bomb testing program, Operation Crossroads. This book chiefly shows photographs of the crew in action aboard the ship. Photographs are included of all the men aboard with their divisions.
United States Navy
Opening Passage of "History of the Takanis Bay":
The tale of the U.S.S. Takanis Bay (CVE 89) begins long before the keel of Hull 89 was laid by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Company. Like so many of the Casablanca Class carriers, the "T.B." was named for a peaceful little bay in Southeastern Alaska.
Author: E.G. Hines, USNR
United States Navy
World War II is now history. Volumes will be written about it, covering every phase of strategy, politics, logistics. Generals, admirals, prime ministers, presidents, and historians will all have their say.
But for those of us who served aboard the Ticonderoga, the war was Reveille at 0315 -- mail call 7000 miles from home -- a TBM in the drink -- two cans of beer on "beautiful Mog Mog" -- basketball on the hangar deck -- and 21 January 1945.
The simple purpose of this book is to preserve in pictorial form the scenes, the events, and the memories of the part played by our ship and our shipmates.
United States Navy
The U.S.S. Westmoreland (APA 104) was commissioned a Navy vessel by Captain H. V. McKittrick, USN, representing the Commandant Third Naval District, at Hoboken, New Jersey, on 18 January 1945. Captain James "M" Hicks, USN, assumed command.
The Westmoreland was named for the counties of that name in the States of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The latter county is the birthplace of George Washington and Robert E. Lee.
The keel of the Westmoreland was laid on 7 December 1943 at Pascagoula, Mississippi, where she was built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp. for the U. S. Maritime Commission. After construction was completed, she was sent to Todd Shipyards, Hoboken, New Jersey, where she was converted to an APA (Auxiliary Transport-Attack) .
United States Navy
"On November 30, 1943, the destroyer Blue was launched in the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Staten Island, New York. She went into commission on March 20, 1944, in the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, with nineteen officers and 3 3 5 enlisted men aboard.
The Blue was one of the first 2,200 ton super-destroyers to be commissioned in the navy, and was named after the 1,500 ton U.S. S. Blue (DD387), which was sunk in the Solomon Islands Campaign in 1943. The first Blue was named in honor of the late Admiral Victor Blue and his son, Lieutenant-Commander John Stuart Blue, who was killed in action in the South Pacific."
United States Navy
From The Ship's History
The writer of this history, neither an historian nor a member of the ship's company, has tried to make it an exercise in objectivity. Yet, in reading the logs and action reports, he has come to a certain feeling and conclusion.
It is that the performance and accomplishment of DD663 may be directly linked to the performance and accomplishment of all her crew ... rather than to individual heroes. That her men unconsciously felt this may be seen in the name they called her with pride and a little awe.
She was "Task Force 663" -- a coordinated machine. To all who served in her, let that be high praise .. . for DD663 herself let it be an epitaph.
Lt. William J. Colilan, Jr., U.S.N.R.
United States Navy
"It was the sixth of July in 1943, she had just been commissioned. Within the course of time she would be called many names, some spoken in anger, some in fear, some in pain; but now she was the U. S. S. Heermann (DD532.) The gods were pleased.
The crew was like the country they served. They came from east and west, north and south. They'd been farmers, students, grocers, salesmen. They were of every color, every creed. We were lucky, there were a few old hands aboard to help build a fighting crew for a fighting ship.
Then came the shakedown cruise. There is nothing under the sun like a shakedown cruise. It's indescribable but it gets results. After that period in San Diego we began to look as if we had "been born on the crest of a wave and rocked in the cradle of the deep." Shakedown gave us forewarnings of things to come and suddenly it became apparent that fighting a war was hard work and lots of it.
On the first of October, after another brief session in the yard, the powers that be decided that the Heermann was ready to go out and win her spurs. So we headed out toward the islands. That last look at the Golden Gate Bridge always seems to be the one that hurts the most. All of us knew it would be many a day before we would be Stateside again, but we were ready-we had the finest ship in the Fleet and the finest group of men alive to fight it."
United States Navy
Between these covers is preserved a record, in pictures and text, of life aboard the U.S.S. Tate during her war-time voyages, and of her many ports of call. A good ship with a good crew, she carried us through many difficult situations and did her part with honor in a great war. We shall never forget her.
United States Navy
The battalion arrived at Pearl Harbor on March 29, 1943. "Remember Pearl Harbor" had become a battle cry for all Americans in the Pacific War. Our Marines had turned the tide of the Japanese offensive at Guadalcanal and the enemy had begun to feel the blows struck from Henderson Field built by the Seabees.
The Navy was beginning to marshal her fast growing forces at Pearl Harbor. Men, material, and ships required new barracks, warehouses and ship-repair facilities. The 62nd Battalion was the first to take over work from the contractors at Pearl Harbor and our officers and men carried through their jobs with the true Seabee spirit and ingenuity. Among the vital and urgent projects completed were the Submarine Base Extension, the Waipio Point Amphibious repair facilities and housing at the Advance Base Reshipment Depot.
As the Pacific War moved in to full scale offensive, our battalion was assigned to the Western Pacific on the assault eschelon at lwo Jima. Our battalion arrived on " Bloody lwo" soon after the Marines and started to work immediately on the Southern Airfield. As soon as the Southern Field was operational, the 62nd Battalion was ordered to the Central Airfield. Both jobs were started under enemy mortar and sniper fire and the courage and the spirit of the battalion can never be forgotten.
This book is a history of your battalion, a battalion in which you can take well-earned pride. It is a record of your experiences, both the hardships and pleasures which have made up your part in the winning of the war in the Pacific.
F.B. Campbell, Comdr. USNR (CEC), Commanding Officer
United States Navy
From the unofficial introduction:
"And Seabee ingenuity, what of that? We made bull fiddles out of oil drums, violins out of native mahogany on Guadalcanal, sight-seeing boats out of sunken barges; drove piles without pile drivers, built bridges before our equipment could get to us. On Bougainville, although bombed 60 times by the Japs, Seabees on their own time rigged up an ice cream factory which supplied 30 gallons of the world's best ice cream to these fighting builders. Perhaps these examples seem trivial in the light of the substantial contributions to total victory which the Seabees have made, but they reveal the spirit of the men. How are you going to discount men who can go through 60 bombings and come out making ice cream?
We are famous now, this group begun so few years ago -- famous for our work, famous for our fights, famous for our ability to make something out of nothing, but we are famous for other things, too, not the least of which is our chow. Many are the Marines and soldiers who have come to Seabee mess halls for a hot meal. The 77th never sat down to a meal without at least one guest. Some of these were famous, many more were just GI's on the line who could do with something hot inside. The 77th Welcome Mat was always out, not one meal chit was ever issued to one of these guests.
So it went for four long arduous years, move up, move in, build up, roll down, clear out, haul dirt, tamp strips, lay mats, move out, start again. The pattern has been set, the die cast. The Seabees are in, in to stay, in as a part of the fighting team of the United States. Construction men in uniform, trained to build by years of experience, trained to fight by Uncle Sam, ready to turn Can Do into We Did whenever and wherever the need for construction engineers is greatest. And now for the story of the 77th, one of the best of the many which fought and built in World War II."
United States Navy and William D. Anderson
The ship was named after two naval battles which were fought near Savo in August and in October, 1942. In the first of these battles our forces were surprised, mistakes were made. and four cruisers were lost. It was a hard lesson, well learned. A few months later, one of our cruiser divisions intercepted a Jap task force near Savo and sank at least six vessels, cruisers, and destroyers. No great damage was done to our ships. The enemy was surprised, one of his cruisers was sunk before her guns were even trained out, and he was out-fought in every phase of the battle. As a result, this body of water, Purvis Bay. is known as "Iron-Bottom Bay."
Savo Island is located in Sky Lark Channel between the Western extremities of Florida and Guadalcanal Islands. It is a product of volcanic upheavals, is only four miles in diameter, and consists of extinct volcanic peaks. Ships now anchor in waters that cover a village which subsided years ago as a result of an earthquake. Even today, there may be an occasional tremor. A few natives live on the island, and you will find very small villages and a mission station there.
United States Navy and Paul A. Delaney
"From February to December 1945, the 102nd Construction Battalion was engaged in the building of the Submarine Base, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands. Their nucleus planning group came in with the assault in February and immediately started work at the selected site which at that time was mostly rice paddies, swamps, and bare hillside. Under great difficulties of lack of adequate personneL materials and equipment, together with adverse weather conditions, the Battalion cheerfully and efficiently improvised and established essential elements of the base which were extremely useful to our submarines in fighting the last few months of the Jap war. Although uncompleted at the termination of hostilities, many members of the Battalion voluntarily stayed on long after with the avowed intention of completing the base which they had started. For their future memories, the members of the 102nd Construction Battalion have left a monument to themselves which will serve their Navy and their Nation for many years to come. It is a base which we did not have before World War II started and which is now available to us should any future aggressor nation decide to to interfere with our rights and liberties. I salute the 102nd Construction Battalion for their excellent spirit and achievements."
James Fife, Rear Admiral U.S. Navy, Commander Submarines, Philippine Sea Frontier
United States Navy, John J. Fein, and Leonard A. Hulteen
The story of an outfit is often a story of the individual experiences of its men, but this narrative is a chronology of the collective achievements and adventures of men working in unison, primarily the men who formed the original complement of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 571.
The charter members of this Seabee crew hailed from all walks of life and went on to carve out a bright record of attainment on lonely tropical islands unheard of and unimportant until war made their possession and exploitation necessary. The final, complete story of CBMU 571 is not over, because CBMU 571 is, at this writing, still commissioned, still doing a job, still adding to a record. But to the men who formed it, who carried the knowledge, the brawn, the guts, and the equipment into the islands of the Pacific, this chapter of their careers as Seabees is completed. These men may go on to other naval organizations or they may already be civilians again, but their first love as servicemen will be CBMU 571.
We who had the privilege of serving in, and with, the "flat-tops" of our Navy have always known them to be fighting ships. The story of the Franklin is the story of one of these fighting ships; one that dealt out destruction from The Marianas to the home islands of Japan; one that veritably returned from the jaws of what seemed certain destruction; their stubborn will to win; the American tenacity and reluctance to give in no matter what the odds; these were the pulsating characteristics of our ships and men, characteristics that will always keep our way of life, our freedoms, inviolate. Our enemies who survived this past war will never forget the "flat-tops" of our powerful fleets. We who knew these graceful ships and knew the men who fought and lived them shall forever honor their bravery and achievements.
William F. Halsey, Fleet Admiral U.S. Navy
William Jordan Verbeck
"The work which follows is by no means a thorough or complete history of the Twenty First Infantry Regiment in World War II. To my knowledge no such history has yet been written. I have, however, a number of official accounts of some of our actions. These I have edited and put together with whatever other information available in order to have at least some form of published record. I am publishing this work in response to numerous requests from members and former members of the 21st Infantry as a chronicle of our days together in combat.
Most of the description concerning the Hollandia Operation was submitted by Lieut. Colonel Roy W. Marcy. The sketches after Page 37 and Page 52 were drawn by Mr. Lawrence E. Hickman another former 21st Infantryman. Great thanks are due to Lieut. Colonel Judson MacIvor Smith for the material on Pages 3, 4, 5 and 6 which were taken from his book "The Story of a Regiment" -- a history of the 21st Infantry. Thanks are also due to Mr. Arthur Amos, Jr. for the cover, Miss Ruth Middleton for typing the manuscript and to Mr. T. L. Tuggle for supervising the multilith operations of reproduction.
I would be glad to receive information from anyone who can furnish more complete data for inclusion in a future, more complete work. Also any corrections or suggested changes will be very welcome."
William J. Verbeck, Colonel, Infantry, Commanding Officer of Troops, U.S.M.A., West Point, N.Y.
American National Red Cross
This booklet will confine itself to describing the work done by those American Red Cross men and women who are giving direct, personal services to the members of the armed forces on the military front or to their families on the home front. To isolate this cross section of Red Cross activity from the body of all Red Cross war work is to sacrifice the complete story of the Red Cross war jobs for the Army and Navy. That is a story of many themes -- to name only a few: jobs as essential as collecting blood for plasma; or supplying surgical dressings, comfort articles, garments for the hospitalized; or recruiting nurses; or training nurse's aides.
Nevertheless, the American families of some 11,300,000 servicemen want to know the answers to particular, personal questions: What is the American Red Cross doing for the serviceman himself? What are its representatives doing for him when he is homesick and worried, bored, restless, sick or wounded? What are they doing for him in the field, the leave area, the hospital? What are they doing when he returns home, discharged, and has problems resulting from his service? The trained men and women who are, we are told, "at his side" -- who are they, what facilities do they have to work with, and exactly how do they work? Finally, how do the Red Cross chapters here at home help him and his family?
This booklet tries to answer these questions for the millions of deeply interested families and neighbors of men and women in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. In so doing it must stick closely to them and to those personal Red Cross services which are theirs wherever they go, whatever their jobs.
Penn G. Dively and United States Army
"From the cities, villages, hamlets and farms of almost every State in the Union came the "fighting men" of the 957th Field Artillery Battalion -- a 155 mm Howitzer unit which contributed "prompt, accurate and devastating fire support" for every major campaign against the German enemy in France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Germany. The pages of this organization history, pictures and statistics are dedicated to the men and officers who gave unstintingly of their blood, life, time and talents to assure the success of the Continental Campaign and the Cause -- the Cause of International Freedom. It is our desire that this volume will be to all who peruse its pages a friendly reminder of the devotion and singleness of purpose which marked the years of Training, Preparation and Combat."
Ernest W. Fritz and United States Army
This book has been compiled from official and unofficial sources to afford men who have been in combat with the 393rd Infantry a review of the Regiment's action in the European Theater of Operations. With emphasis placed on the unit rather than individual action, the book has omitted stories of personal heroism.
Names of men in pictures have been purposely omitted. To each man. who fought with the 393rd Infantry belongs credit for the hard-fought battle. To him belongs also the privilege of relating his deeds. Some five thousand men participated with the regiment in combat -- to each this book is the background of his own fight.
Effort has been made to show action of every section that comprises an infantry regiment in combat. A sincere endeavor was made to encompass all who played a part in building a fighting team.
Benjamin Gise, Van Ness Richards, and United States Army
From the Foreword:
"The writing of this book began shortly before V~E day. Together with what had been scribbled in the unit history journal and more carefully entered in the more ostentatious records, refreshing notes and photographs submitted by battery representatives were used in the telling and illustrating of this integrated story of the 863d AAA A W Bn.
In this presentation, it was impossible to obtain and relate personal anecdotes involving each man in the battalion. Whether or not you are mentioned specifically, it is our hope that you see yourself described, albeit anonymously, in the experiences and sentiments and moods common to all in this memorable adventure of the 863d.
We have tried to gather and utilize all suitable information brought to our attention to give a full, cohesive, readable story of the battalion and all its officers and men, its campaigns, its missions, its organizational experiences, its troublous days and gayer times- in a word, its life as a military organization from date of activation on 1 June 1943 at Fort Totten, Long Island to V-J Day, 14 August 1945, in and around Bad Soden, Germany."
Sgt. Benjamin Gise, Editor-in-Chief
Harold D. Howenstine
If perchance in the post-war world you encounter a man who says that he fought in Europe with the 745th Tank Battalion, salute him and offer him a drink - - for you have encountered one of the best soldiers in the world. You have encountered a man who has contributed a great deal toward ending the conquests of the Nazis and bringing peace to the world. You have encountered a man of whom the entire army is proud.
We at Bangor Public Library believe our collection of World War II regimental histories to be one of the largest in a library in the world. We are proud to share with you this collection. We feel presenting these books will open up a new means of studying and experiencing the Second World War for scholars, the curious public, descendants of the soldiers who served, and our surviving servicemen and servicewomen. If you have any questions about a book showcased here or have technical difficulties, feel welcome to contact Patrick Layne by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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