The crew of the United States Ship JOHN Q. ROBERTS was first assembled on January 26, 1945 at Norfolk, Virginia. The Navy was old to some of us; the sea was old to some of us; both were new and exciting to some of us, but we all had one thing in common-each of us was a part of the later efficient crew of the APD 94.
It was cold that morning in Norfolk and it was cold a lot of other mornings, but we hardly noticed it as we dashed from class to class in pre-commissioning school. We worked hard at swimming, firefighting, recognition, specialty classes and even the so-called "physical torture." We knew that such training made better sailors and we wanted to be better sailors.
Our training in Norfolk lasted five busy weeks. Then, early in March, we went to the Charleston Navy Yard, in South Carolina, the birthplace of the good ship ROBERTS. The next few days were spent in preparation for the commissioning ceremony... On March 8th the JOHN Q. ROBERTS became a commissioned vessel in the United States Navy with Lieutenant Commander ROBERT N. BAVIER, Jr., in command. She was commissioned by CAPTAIN GUY E. BAKER representing the Commandant, SIXTH Naval District. Just prior to the commissioning the ship was christened by Mrs. DEANY ROBERTS GARNER mother of the late Ensign JOHN Q. ROBERTS. It was an impressive ceremony, and we were all proud to be associated with the ship. After the commissioning exercises we discovered that pride was not quite enough to keep a fighting ship in operation. It took lots of hard work, too. The next few days were spent loading supplies and readying the ship for our first sea voyage. It is amazing how much equipment is required for the safe navigation and efficient operation of a vessel of this size. We finally got her ready and in the two weeks made several trial runs. All sea trials having proved satisfactory, we departed from Charleston on March 26th on our shakedown cruise.
Shakedown is that period in the life of a new ship in which the ship and her crew composed partially of old salts with a good sprinkling of green hands are welded together in a well-trained, well-equipped fighting unit. Our shakedown exercises took place in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where we were put through every type of grueling exercise and maneuver known to the United States Navy.
The conditions under which the exercises took place closely resembled actual combat. We were taught what we could expect in the Pacific and what to do about it. From there on it was up to us. At the conclusion of our training we proceeded to Norfolk for post-shakedown availability and Amphibious exercises. Toward the end of April a short leave for all hands was granted. Immediately upon the return of the crew, all preparations were made for departure.
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