When we returned to Kure, we received the news for which we had been waiting for many weeks. We were to load up with as many passengers as we could take and proceed to "Uncle Sugar." After receiving most of our passengers and many provisions, we began the first lap of the journey. On the way out of the harbor, we struck a submerged log, damaging both propellers and one rudder. Though the damage caused a great deal of vibration, it was decided that we could complete the trip safely. So, after picking up the remainder of the passengers at Nagoya, we and our companion ship, the Brock. headed southward for Eniwetok. Before reaching the atoll, however, we had to reckon with an angry Japan Sea. High winds and great swells that often hid the Brock from view left many of the less veteran sea-farers with a good case of seasickness. But after several sleepless nights, the sea was calm once more, and it was on smooth and sultry seas that we reached Eniwetok.
Stopping on December twenty-third only long enough to refuel, we left the same afternoon for Pearl Harbor. The sea remained calm and the sky cloudless. Two days at sea we celebrated Christmas, with the usual singing, presents, and of course, eating. On the twenty-sixth we crossed the International Dateline, and for a few hours it was Christmas once more.
At Pearl Harbor we made our first "civilized" liberties in seven months. We stayed for two days, so that everyone had a chance to go ashore. After some civilian chow and sun baths on Waikiki Beach, we were read, for the last leg of our journey home.
The thirty-first saw us underway for San Pedro, California. On this same day, our commanding officer received an appointment to .the rank of lieutenant commander. Though our new year was not celebrated in the traditional way, many of us had already made up for it in the Hawaiian's and were pretty well satisfied anyway.
On the sixth of January, the United States of America came up over the horizon, and to the tune of a Navy Band we were welcomed home at Port Hueneme, where the passengers disembarked and started for their separate places of discharge. Here we had our first taste of fresh milk in many months.
Later that day, we went on down to San Pedro, and were soon ashore .. . our first liberty in the United States since Charleston, seven months before. Fortunately our entry into Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Pasadena had no noticeable effect on these fair cities. But that wasn't because we didn't try. We were hilariously happy to be home, and we celebrated the fact to varying degree. We went everywhere, saw everything, and left behind us a trail of hard-earned sea pay. The time went all too quickly, and before we knew it, we had been drydocked, our screws and rudder repaired, and the bottom sand blasted and painted. Just before we were ready to go, Mr. O'Donnell left for civilian life, and Lieutenant (jg) Katz became our new executive officer.
January twenty-fifth we left drydock, and after an afternoon of sea trials to determine the extent of repairs, we were on our way to the east coast by way of the Panama Canal. After a calm, eight day trip, we reached Balboa on February first and went on through the canal. On the Atlantic side we
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