Our next orders sent us to Eniwetok Atoll, where we picked up two ships that we were to escort to Guam, via Saipan and Tinian, where one of the ships was stopping. On the way from Saipan to Guam we passed close to the Japanese-held island of Rota. We were fortunate enough to pass the island at a time when some of our aircraft were bombing it, and this little incident served to remind us that the war was close at hand. It was also on this trip that the ROBERTS had her first opportunity to demonstrate the skill and efficiency of her medical staff. One thousand miles from the nearest land one of our passengers was stricken with appendicitis. Quickly and skillfully the wardroom of the ROBERTS was converted into a sterile, gleaming white operating room. With several members of the crew watching through the ports constituting an audience, the doctor, assisted by a Chief Pharmacist's Mate, removed the troublesome appendix.
On July 1st the ROBERTS reached Port Apra, Guam. The next two days were spent anchored in that harbor awaiting sailing orders. When we received them, we found that we had been routed to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines, the scene of one of our most important invasions. The USS LEE FOX (APD 45) accompanied us on the four day voyage. Upon our arrival we were given two weeks to rest and wonder and worry about the future. When we finally received word about our next duty we found that we, along with a number of other APD's and some Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts, had been assigned to escort heavy units of the THIRD Fleet on maneuvers in the Philippines Area.
We were honored indeed to be chosen to escort ships like the TEXAS, MISSISSIPPI, IDAHO, SUWANNEE, GILBERT ISLANDS, and the NEW MEXICO. We now considered ourselves a part of the third fleet, Halsey's Fleet, THE Fleet in the Pacific. We gave our all for the ships we escorted during the next month. At the conclusion of that month, disaster struck. Not disaster as it is usually thought of in connection with a ship in a combat zone, but something almost as deadly. At this time most of the crew of the ROBERTS fell victims to Dysentery, and the dread disease ran rough-shod over almost all of our crew.
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