Dec. 18, 1944

12-17-18

On the 15th and 16th, the ships of TF38 were supporting the landing at Mindoro.  Planes continued to attack Luzon and Mindoro, bagging some 400 enemy planes over three days.  The 17th was a scheduled re-fuel day, so the ships traveled east to meet up with the tankers of TF30.  The weather was getting worse by the hour, and the ships were running into a developing typhoon.  Fueling was called off.

December 18, 1944:   This morning the weather is really bad.  Some of the detroyers are low on fuel and the sea is so bad they can not fuel from tankers.  The CVE’s are having a lot of problems, planes are breaking loose in the hangar deck and starting fires.  The carrier Independence reported two men overboard. The carrier Monterey has a fire in her hanger deck and can only make five knots.  The sea looks like mountains, no one can walk straight. Quite a few men were hurt by the rolling of the ship.  Sandwiches and coffee were served for dinner and supper.  We made a roll of 46 degrees, which is past the danger point.  We lost one of our planes over the side from the force of the wind.  No one is allowed on the main deck, it is under water every time we roll. the battleship Massachusetts is dead in the water.  The wind picked up with gusts of 93 knots.  Some of the destroyers report they are inn danger of capsizing.  Besides the loss of one plane, we also have 20MM gun tub damage.  We were pretty lucky.  The height of the waves must be 30 to 40 feet.  About 35 men were washed over the side, most of them from carriers.  We received some bad news, two destroyers were lost in the storm, Spence and Hull, two other destroyers are missing, some survivors were picked up, the winds picked up by late afternoon to over 100 knots.  The sea is a little calmer and by 2400 hours the winds died down.  I did not get to sleep tonight.  I want to stay awake in case the ship rolls over.   Frank Studenski

They eye of Typhoon Cobra (12/18/44) captured on the radar screen of the carrier USS Yorktown

(Retrieved from the USS Boston folders at the National Archives by Bill)

 

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12/7, 12/8

12/8/2018

December 7, 1943:  Today is the second anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack and this is our second day in Pearl.  We are tied-up alongside the sunken Arizona.  Tomorrow we will have our first liberty.  We will be going out every week for three or four days of practice firing.

December 8, 1943:  Today I had my first liberty in Honolulu and it is full of Sailors.  The area is one large military installation and civilians work around the clock.  The trip to Honolulu is by liberty boat from the ship to the Navy yard, through the main gate at the yard to the railroad station.  The train is a narrow gauge train and is packed with Sailors.  The train travels through pineapple and sugarcane fields.  The military installations are quonset huts and tents.  The trip to Honolulu is under one hour.  Liberty  is two days off and one day on. Wikikaki [sic] Beach is beautiful with great sandy beaches and having drinks at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and drinking beer at the breakers.  Frank Studenski

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George H W Bush, R.I.P.

11-30-18

Between 1/1/53 and 1/1/89, six presidents were inaugurated into office after serving their country in active combat duty during WWII.  (Starting with Eisenhower and ending with Bush: Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford and last but not least, George H.W. Bush.)

From A Bird’s Eye View:  In the early stages of Operation King  –  the Leyte Landing, a squadron of Avenger Torpedo bombers [that] launched off the light carrier San Jacinto (in Task Group 38.4) on September 2, 1944 attacked a radar installation on ChiChi Jima (Bonin Islands.)  They flew into a storm of antiaircraft fire, and the plane piloted by George H. Bush flamed down and crashed into the sea.  Bush had successfully bombed his target before bailing out.  The only survivor, he was rescued by a submarine and returned to his carrier one month later.

The 41st President died this evening at his home in Houston.

 

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Thanksgiving

11-17-18

While there may have been a small group of officers assigned to the being-built Boston in the latter days of 1942, the majority of men were assigned to the new ship in late winter / early spring of 1943.  The ship left Boston for the War on Nov. 14, 1943, headed for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and a stop in San Francisco.

I am fortunate to have a copy of Frank Studenski’s “War Diary – U.S.S. Boston CA69”  the contents of which are splashed all over the books I have written and this website (also some quotes in our Task Force 58/38 website.) Frank spent three Thanksgivings and three Christmases aboard the ship.

November 27, 1943:  Today is Thanksgiving Day, (Holiday routine) we are having Turkey, Ham and all the trimmings.  We will arrive at Frisco tomorrow.

A year later, the ship and it’s war-weary crew left the Philippines operations for the anchorage at Ulithi.  They were detached en route and went to the huge navy base at Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island (Admiralties) for drydock overhauls and repairs (Nov 22 – Dec 8, 1944).  Frank does not call out Thanksgiving Day in his diary, but did include a scan of the Thanksgiving Day Menu in the appendix pages:

Frank was still aboard the ship during it’s last Thanksgiving Day celebration in the Pacific.  He did not chronicle Occupation Duty as he had the War, so he did not call out Thanksgiving 1945 as a diary entry.  Frank left the ship the day after Christmas and headed home.

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Another from “Steichen at War”

11-12-18

Today is, of course, the “legal holiday” following yesterday’s 11-11-11 Day of Remembrance.  What strikes me about this slice-of-life photo of men far away from home, lined up hoping to get mail from loved ones is just that:  the plight of most veterans, whether they served in times of peace or times of war was the loneliness of being away from loved ones.

In honor of all vets who served our country, as well as all active military personnel doing exactly that.

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