While the ship was under repair in San Pedro, the men left on leaves – half gone for three weeks and the other half doing light duty on the ship (with plenty of leaves and down-time.)
Bob Knight: I had a twenty-one day leave and I came home. At that time, they had DC3’s. I spent most of the time on my flight home sitting on the coffee urn talking to the stewardesses. We stopped in Texas and another place or two on the way home.
After I went home, I headed back to San Pedro. One of my old girlfriends from high school was married and living in San Pedro. I visited her a couple of times.
My aunt had a cousin who lived in Hollywood, right next door to Walt Disney. I got to meet Walt and tour some of the studios. Jane Russell was just coming in at that time and I got a quick peek at her in the studio.
Frank Studenski: We had lots of leave. Me and a buddy from the division (his name was John Slade) met a couple of girls in Long Beach and we stayed with them for a couple of days and nights – dancing, drinking, you know . . . When it came time to leave, I said to Slade, “I’m going back to the ship – pretty soon we’ll be AOL.” Slade said, “I’ll have one more drink and catch up with you.”
I never saw him again. He never came back to the ship.
From Frank Studenski’s diary: Early this morning, I got my first look at the California coast line. We pulled into the Terminal Island Navy Yard flying our Homeward Bound pennant. While the N.O.B. Band played and Ginny Simms sang, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” with a lot of brass and civilians on the pier. Just about all of the crew were on the port side. The first leave party left the ship this afternoon. We also got paid this morning and I got $630.00. I will buy my ticket tomorrow.
If you’re reading this and don’t understand the context: On March 6, 1945, after 16 months of continuous combat duty all over the Pacific, the USS Boston was ordered back to the states for major repairs: engine, boilers, etc and retrofit/upgrades to radar and communications equipment. The ship, having just left the Iwo Jima campaign, headed east as the Okinawa campaign started. After spending nine days in Pearl Harbor, the Boston made the four day trip to Los Angeles – the Navy shipyard at Terminal Island.
The Boston weighed anchor on June 1 and headed west back into the thick of things.
We’ve been having ongoing, seemingly impossible-to-resolve tech problems with this site. I’m gonna blame it on Covid. Anyway, hopefully we’re past the issues, and we can keep posting from time-to-time.
Let’s set the “WAY-BACK MACHINE”, Mr. Peabody, to March of 1945.
On March 6, The crew of CA-69 Bostom weighed anchor and pulled out of Ulithi Lagoon. The ship badly needed repairs. They began heading home (to San Pedro, CA) for major repairs and retrofits to radar and navigation systems. They would be docked in the Navy Yard at San Pedro until June 1st, at which time they weighed anchor and headed back to Japan.
March 11, 1945 This morning we entered Pearl Harbor, every member of the crew was in white uniform. We were at quarters streaming our pennant, tomorrow we will get liberty.
March 12-21, 1945 This morning two-thirds of the crew went on liberty, which was from 0900 to 1800 hours. We all came back feeling pretty good, some people feeling pretty bad, from too much drinking. We will be here for ten days. I am spending my liberty in Waikiki Beach, there are some good restaurants here. We also get dungaree liberty and go over to the sub base. They have a large ship, stores and restaurant over there. We also visit the ship stores at the Navy Yard. (Frank Studenski)
Every time I use entries from Frank’s incredible diary, I think about how little we would know about the ship, the action and the men without his diary. We’re forever grateful.
96 year-old Pat Fedele, the “ship’s tenor”, passed away today. I got to know Pat when I was working on my “Baked Beans” series about CA-69 in WWII. I am deeply saddened by his passing, as he and I developed a nice friendship over the years. He knew my father, and he had lots of great stories to tell. He and his wife Sandi welcomed me into their home and their lives, and I am enriched because of them.
Pat was a plankowner, and like my dad and hundreds of others, spent months in Boston waiting for the ship to be finished before mustering aboard and heading for the Pacific. Pat worked hard to earn promotions while on board, and rated COX in January of ’45. I have lots of stories to share – another time.
I’m pretty sure a while back I wrote in one of my posts that I was taking a detour for a while so I could focus on a long-delayed project (involving Colonial New England.) Then we slid into covid.
So, I have finished first and second drafts of my story, and after input from friends and family, I am in the middle of a “third rewrite” – this time with some significant new paths and bends in the road. Looking at my emails over the last year, I found that some submissions from readers got back-burnered.
Here’s one (from Joe Green – dated Nov. 20, 2019 [yikes!!] ). He submitted two pictures of some of his dad’s papers. Here’s his message to Bill: Attached a couple of relevant documents of my dad’s – his discharge from the naval reserves in 1954, and a commendation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I think by the time he was discharged he had acheived the rank of Lt Colonel.
One interesting story he told – there was a crewmember who was generally disliked and notorious for welshing on his gambling debts. One morning roll call in the middle of the Pacific, he just didn’t show up. The ship was searched, but he was gone. It was presumed he was tossed overboard in the middle of the night. Spooky story. Joe Green.