The YMS-196 was sent to Panama and then was towed across the Pacific to New Caledonia. The home base for the ship was at Suva, Fiji where it left March of 1944 and went to Guadalcanal. It was at Guadalcanal only a short time and went to and operated out of Munda, New Georgia in the Solomon's. It did mostly patrol and escort duties. The ship then went to Manus, in the Admiralty Islands were I was assigned to the ship on March 5th, 1945 and we left the next day for Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea and arrived the 8th of March. In Hollandia we went into dry dock. In dry dock everybody has work to do, even the officers, and a person can just as well see the captain chipping paint as the lowest seaman. On the 10th of March we left for and arrived in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, Philippines on the 22nd of March.
About a week after we arrived in Leyte several of us went on "work party" in Tacloban. I say it was a work party as the captain had orders not to have any liberty. We went after the mail and while we were gone the ship left us to go on a patrolling job and left half of the crew stranded. He tried to find us before the ship sailed, but that was useless so he left an officer on shore with us. We stayed wherever we could and ate where any military base would feed and put us up. We would hear that the ship was someplace and go there to try to find it. We even went to other islands to try to find our ship. Finally, after about a week the ship came back. The crew that was left on the ship had to stand double duty.
I don't know when our ship was assigned to the Australian ship HMAS Warrego, but we reported directly to this ship, which was a frigate. The YMS-196 was under the command of the Australian Navy for a large part of its duty. We started surveying harbors and etc.. We surveyed San Pedro Bay, then we started to survey Guiane Harbor on the 9th of April. We surveyed until the 11th of May.
To survey, we had to drag a couple of paravanes behind us that were tied together with a cable. These paravanes would tend to pull down and out with a couple of torpedoes like floats to keep them at a certain depth and a cable to keep them at a certain distance apart and to snag anything between them. This is the same procedure that is used in minesweeping. So wherever we went, we knew the water was as least this depth or the cable would break. We also recorded the depth by the depth sonar. We went back and forth in the harbor. We could not get off course more than 1/2 degree or the run had to be made again.
Then we started for Corregador where we were to install a light on the top of a light house that was already there. We arrived the 14th and put up the light the next day. While we were installing the light one of the men looked at his .45 pistol and didn't see a bullet in the chamber and pulled the trigger. The bullet went around the inside of the building bouncing off the walls. Only a small piece of it hit a person in the arm. This must have been a really nice place before the war. In the ruins were swimming pools, tennis courts, ball parks, gardens, golf courses, etc. All the building were cement. It even had cement sidewalks and roads. It had a railroad and of course the whole island was tunnels. Now it was in ruins and dead Japanese troops. Our crew was able to explore the tunnels of the island. There was still some fighting going on the island and every once in a while we could hear gunfire. The next day we went to a island next to Corregador to put up a light but there were still Japanese on the island and they started shooting at the landing party. The landing party was pinned down for awhile, but was able to get away without anyone getting shot. We didn't put up the light house there, but went to a nearby island to put the light up. This island smelled of death, there were Japanese bodies everywhere. It took us several weeks to get the smell out of our clothing. We ware called back to the ship because a PC [Submarine Chaser] came in contact with a sub and we helped them look for it. The PC at one time said the sub was right under us, but we never did make contact with it.
On the 16th of May we went to Manila and went ashore. When we first went to Manila we were able to dock at the Manila Hotel but after awhile they stopped us from docking there and we had to dock further away. Manila was all in ruins. It was at one time a modem city. A few days later we left Manila and went to some island to repair the light house and the natives invited us ashore to a dance they had there. I believe the town was San Jacinto but the dance wasn't much to talk about. We also put a light in a light house on a very small island that I believe was close to Legaspi, Luzon and the Mayon volcano was in full view. The light house [keeper] did not have any means to get to the light except by an old rope that hung down from the top. We all tried to climb the rope, but no one could make it. Finally an old Filipino man came by and he climbed the rope and took another rope up with him that had knots tried in it to help us climb it. We finally got the light installed and the old man climbed the rope again and took down the new one. We gave the new rope to him for his help.
Then we left for Tacloban via of the narrow water way between Samar and Leyte. I believe it is called the San Juanico Straits. This was so narrow in places that a person could jump to shore on either side. On May 21 we arrived in Leyte and went into dry dock at Guiuan, Samar where we had new radar installed and left June 9h. At Guiuan we received our food supplies. Food and water were two things that were hard to get on our ship. The navy gave our ration of food in lots. Since our ship was so small, one lot of food was about a years supply and we had only a regular size refrigerator and a chest type freezer. This would only hold enough food for about two weeks, so we would have fresh food for about two weeks and then the rest of the time canned food. In Guiuan we got a lot of turkeys and chicken so the cook cooked the turkeys as fast as he could and we had all the turkey that we wanted for awhile. The only thing the cook asked was that we finish one before starting the another. When we left Guiuan we had some real rough water and everyone got a little sea sick and nobody wanted to eat. One time we traded fresh food to a merchant marine ship for fresh water. When we went to use the water we found out that they had given us salt water which ruined the water that we already had. I believe that our water tanks held 500 gallons and that was used also for the engines. The only ones that could take a fresh water shower were the engine crew.
We then left for Morotai. At Morotai every night the skies were darkened by millions of bats leaving the island. They would return in the morning. I believe they were fox bats.
We stayed in Morotai until around the 23rd of June where we started for Palikpapan, Borneo. We arrived on the 26th of June. On the way we sighted a mine and after quite a bit firing, we sank it. Well, the first day at Palikpapan we had quite a bit of excitement. We had just missed an air attack which was the night before. We were refueled and had our degassing checked, when the action started. We were called upon rescue the crew and sink a YMS that had just hit a mine. By the time we got there the survivors were picked up so we put 63, three inch shells into the bow that was still floating. We were talking to the YMS-38 which was just ahead of us when it hit a mine about 200 yards off our port bow. There was nothing left of it to sink as it was blown in pieces. Then a mine went off between them and us. It might have been for us. I couldn't see how anyone could survived it but one by one we could see the survivors, We picked up the survivors and two of the dead. Some of them had broken arms, legs, hips, backs, and some had their legs off, but most of them on a whole were in pretty good shape. (No one was allowed below deck when minesweeping, this kept the casualties down and insured that no one would be trapped below deck. Only the engine crew were allowed to make brief trips to check the engines). Our wherry came back with the first load of survivors and then James Rowland (I believe) and I took it out to pick up the remainder of them. While we were picking them up the ship got orders to get out of the area because it was really lousy with mines. In fact a Captain or Admiral said, "If and when we get out to give us a "well done." But the ship leaving us there, left us in a bad way. We had five survivors with us. Several of them hurt bad and we were drifting into shore because of the strong current. If it wasn't for the cruisers and destroyers keeping the Japanese from the shore we could have been machine gunned as we were only about a thousand yards off the beach when a VP [LCVP - Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel] picked us up. The VP tied our wherry on the back but it was soon swapped with water so because we were still too close to shore we had to cut the rope. That left us without a wherry and a means of going anyplace off the ship. We took the five survivors to the USS Columbia [CL 56]. I saw a fellow there that I knew who was one of the survivors of the YMS 38. The two of us were taken to a ship where the VP came from. We stayed on that ship for a couple of days until our ship picked us up. We were treated well as most of the crew believed we were the survivors. While we were on that ship the YMS-196 started to mine sweeping. Mine sweeping was done in the same manner as surveying. The ship had to pass over the mine and the cable between the paravanes would cut the cable and the mine would float to the surface. Then the ship following would fire on it to either sink it or blow it up. There were other ways to mine sweep, but we did not use them. One was that we would drag heavy electrical cable behind us that we sent a electric current through. This set up a magnetic field that was to set off the mine. Another means we had was a big "hammer" on the bow of the ship that let down into the water and this "hammer" would create sound waves that was supposed to set off a mine. In sweeping mines one ship would follow the ship ahead of it off to one side. We would follow the route that another ship would give us. On one run our ship was getting pretty close to shore, so we asked when we should turn. The lead ship had forgotten us and told us to turn. The ship behind us took our place and the shore batteries opened fire on it. When our big ships in the harbor located where the firing was coming from they opened fire on the batteries. Another time when the lead ship forgot to turn us and the ship behind took our place, they hit a mine and sunk. We heard that this was the heaviest mine field in the war and I believe it, as almost everywhere you looked you could see a ship hitting a mine. We swept mines working twenty hours a day and then standing a two hour watch and eating one meal.
Balikpapan was rich in oil. I believe that it was one of the biggest fields in Asia. And the oil was a very good quality. They said that it was so pure that you could put it right on a ship without refinery. While we were there, they set the oil on fire. I believe one reason to set it on fire so the invasion would not be in danger of the oil being released while going on shore and set on fire as to stop the invading men with oil and fire. The fires were so bright that a person could read by the fire light in the harbor.
One day while sweeping we came upon a minesweeper that had the stern blown completely off. I believe that it was the YMS-47.
Then on the first of July came "D" day. After that we surveyed the harbor. A few days after, another minesweeper blew up and we went over to see what we could do for them, but it was already being done. While surveying the harbor we had to put buoys in certain locations that had to be an accurate locations. Later on we had heard that a mine was located right where we put a buoy. For this whole operation our ship received the "Presidential Unit Citation."
The invasion of Borneo was an Australian operation and since we were still under the Australian command, they asked us if we wanted to go ashore at Palikpapan, so about a week after "D" day our ship moored along side a new dock that was still being built.. We were the first ship to go along side of it. We got liberty with the fighting still going just a few miles away. Around the twentieth we left for Monotai and then to Guiuan Harbor in the Philippines. We went to the USS Cebu [ARG 6] to get repairs. We surveyed Guiuan Harbor and then left to go back to Manila via of the waterway between Samar and Leyte, San Juanico Straits. While going up through this inland water way a ship signaled if we heard that the war was over. That night we lifted our black-out and turned on all of our running lights. The next day we found out that the war was not over, but in a few days it was over. We then went on to Manila. We then surveyed Manila Bay and put up light houses. Several times the Australians asked us to come to Australia with them, but then our navy stepped in and said "no." They got to go back to Australia every six months.
We had some pretty good duty in Manila. The commander in charge of our operation loaned us a speed boat that we could use. We made a board that we tied behind the boat and went around like on water skis. When we didn't have the speed boat we got use of a LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) that was really fast. Also we were able to go aboard some of the Japanese ships that were sunk in the harbor. The harbor was full of them.
From Manila we went into dry dock at Subic Bay. There we picked up another wherry. Also they took off the "hammer" which gave us a top speed of about twelve knots instead of the eleven we had before. They also removed the power steering from the helm which made the ship a lot harder to steer. And then back to Manila.
Our ship had several mascots. One was a cat called "Spickitch". Then we had a dog that turned into an alcoholic and we had to get rid of him. We had a monkey that would swing from anyplace. He would eat every match that he could find. Then one night he came up missing. I guess that he missed a rope and went overboard. Then once we had a Filipino fox that was a cute little thing that would fit in the palm of your hand. The shortest time that we had a pet was a water buffalo. One man brought it aboard one night and the next day when the skipper saw him, we got rid of it right away. I think that we also had a fighting cock that we finally ate, and it was really tough.
The ship survived several typhoons. One in Manila Harbor where we dragged anchor, but did not go on shore. The next morning there were several ships that were on shore.
When I left the ship in April of 1946 they were talking about giving the YMS to the Philippine Navy.
This is the history of the YMS-196 as far as I know and what I can remember after over fifty years. I did not keep a record while on this ship, but I did write a letter right after the war ended and it had some dates in the letter. I had heard that during the war three out of four mine sweeper were sunk. I received a letter from Cliff Worland that gave me some history before I got on the ship.
Addendum by John Dever
A junction box leading to more cables was brought up. No mines were retrieved and in late April, YMS-196 and YMS-68 were ordered to Subic Bay to be readied for decommissioning and assignment to the Philippine Government prior to their Independence in July. Most of the crew was put into a surplus pool, returned to the States and discharged by July 1946.
Bachelor, Stanley LeRoy, 608-58-33, MoMM1c, 07/20/?? to 11/16/45
Barlow, Hubert Oulif, 644-48-89, PhM1c, ?? to ??
Beedle, Jay LeRoy, 386-57-23, SC1c, 11/16/45 to 12/04/66
Bick, Gorden Allen, 224-57-92, F2c, 12/18/45 to ??
Bird, Joseph L., 878-02-11, PhM2c, 11/20/45 to 01/19/46
Bischoff, William, 338-62-07, F2c, 12/18/45 to ??
Boyer, Robert Francis, 859-44-84, MoMM3c, ?? to 11/22/45
Carpeter, William Barnard, 626-14-23, MoMM2c, 01/20/45 to 09/11/45
Clay, John Arthur, 274-67-07, St3c, to 01/10/45
Cole, Walter Lee, 845-86-02, AO, ?? to 01/26/45
Cowan, Calvin Owen, 306-87-53, F1c, 01/27/46 to ??
Critchfield, Frank E., 756-40-73, S1c, 02/11/46 to ??
Crocker, Fred Monroe, 938-67-09, S1c, ?? to 01/06/45
Cunningham, James Henry, 938-67-06, S1c, 11/07/45 to ??
Cutler, Glen Pratt, 382-89-36, S1c, ?? to ??
D'Agoation, Bernard Carmont, 907-99-56, F2c, 01/14/45 to 01/26/45
Davies, Calvin Orren, 306-87-12, QM3c, 11/19/44 to ??
Davis, Charles Mack, 717-09-39, StM2c, 12/18/45 to ??
Dawson, Chester Norman, 958-94-55, S1c, ?? to 01/26/45
Dear, James Harold, 939-51-09, Y3c, 11/10/44 to ??
Dehen, Alexander Edward, 314-03-55, S1c, 11/10/44 to ??
DeLeon, Moises Zeueda, 967-77-43, S2c, ?? to 01/26/45
Delongchamp, Joseph Louis, 306-87-28, S1c, 05/24/45 to ??
Demi, Stewart (n), 935-39-19, S1c, ?? to 01/01/45
Dever, John (n), 252-75-86, S1c, 10/4/45 to ??
Dkmaso, Frank, 705-34-03, MoMM1c, 06/03/45 to 09/29/45
Dodge, David Elmer, 800-11-76, MoMM2c, 07/26/45 to 09/29/45
Edic, John Fall, 600-66-39, MoMM2c, 06/23/45 to ??
Ennis, Charles William, 651-83-07, MoMM2c, 09/17/45 to ??
Erbe, Lester Stephen, 716-09-45, S2c, 01/03/46 to ??
Essig, William, 717-08-60, S2c, 12/18/45 to ??
Farley, Martin Anseim, 706-66-48, MoMM2c, 05/24/45 to ??
Fonce, Carmen J., 286-49-61, F2c, 11/20/45 to ??
Gamble, William "Archie" Radioman
Giddings, Sylvester Nehum, 883-76-78, RT3c, 07/26/45 to 11/24/45
Hanrahan, James Edward, 909-36-26, S1c/RdM, ?? to ??
Howard, Veron Henry, 861-86-10, St3c, 01/28/45 to 11/24/45
Hudson, Willis, 903-14-20, MoMM2c, 08/28/45 to ??
Hyath, Ralph LeRoy, 753-39-19, S1c, 01/28/45 to ??
Johnson, Erick Walter, 225-19-73, MoMM1c, 01/28/45 to 06/23/45
Kegley, Gerald L., 360-55-77, QM2c, 09/11/45 to ??
Keley, Garald Kenneth, 569-55-77, QM2c, ?? to ??
Kikikika, Fred Andrew, 943-24-53, EM2c, 12/18/45 to ??
Klubock, Morse Herbert, 803-72-06, ETM2c, 06/03/45 to ??
Kuchieski, Joseph A., 825-78-81, S1c, 11/07/45 to ??
Kuczynski, John J., 945-41-56, S1c, 11/07/45 to ??
Laymon, Hubert Cecil, 955-46-75, S1c, 11/24/45 to ??
Medlen, Arthur Robert, 876-36-58, EM2c, 08/17/45 to 01/19/46
Means, John, 252-70-38, S1c, 10/04/45 to ??
Melzer, Charles L. Jr., 753-99-90, MoMM3c, 11/07/45 to 8/11/46
Mezger, Walter E., 280-15-71, F2c, 11/07/45 to ??
Miller, Hulon (?R) David, 656-35-79, MoMM1c, 09/17/45 to 11/07/45
Nelson, Kenneth Dale, 876-92-56, MoMM2c, 12/18/45 to ??
Netzeband, Kenneth Edward, 410-21-49, MoMM3c, 08/17/45 to 01/19/46
Nolley, Ernest R., 243-97-17, PhM1c, ?? to 11/24/45
Owen, Harry H., 357-96-03, PhM3c, 02/09/46 to ??
Paras, Manuel Mike, 829-05-09, SM3c, 11/17/45 to 01/19/46
Pawlak, Walter F., 947-21-02, S2c, 11/17/45 to 02/14/45
Peterson, James Freeman, 360-46-79, EM1c, 06/03/45 to ??
Pingree, Wallace Boyle, 660-55-40, SC1c, ?? to 05/24/45
Pipski, John (n), 951-26-86, S1c, 11/16/45 to ??
Planz, Edwin Charles, 853-23-38, SoM2c, ?? to 11/08/45
Podolski, Theodore H., 947-21-19, S2c, 11/16/45 to 02/14/46
Ponce, Garzen James, 286-49-63, F1c, 11/10/45 to ??
Ray, Donald A., 393-31-16, GM2c, 11/09/45 to ??
Robe, John H. Jr., 658-01-12, CMoMM, ?? to 05/23/45
Romcroft, Robert Lee, 223-82-18, MoMM1c, ?? to 05/23/45
Rowland, James Everett, 377-68-08, SM2c, ?? to 11/24/45
Say, Arthur Richard, 554-84-43, SoM2c, 03/05/45 to ??
Schroeler, Gordon H., 350-55-62, MoMM2c, 11/10/45 to ??
Schulz, Joseph Walter, 852-96-38, MM3c, 11/16/45 to ??
Solberg, John W., 728-14-09, S2c, 11/16/45 to ??
South, Hubert Earl, 845-96-13, F1c, ?? to 09/11/45
Sprissler, George W., 853-72-75, MoMM3c, ?? to 09/11/45
Stachowiak, Richard J., 961-17-76, EM2c, 11/27/45 to 11/30/45
Steffey, Fred Arthur Jr., 357-56-57, EM3c, 12/06/45 to ??
Stenger, Jack "R", 764-23-00, S1c, 02/11/46 to ??
Stephens, Hershel (n), 641-71-64, Cox, ?? to 09/11/45
Taylor, Barton Clark, 859-26-03, MoMM3c, ?? to 11/30/45
Tercero, Edward (n), 616-87-07, MoMM3c 07/26/45 to ??
Van Every, Walter H. Jr., 805-72-70, RM3c/EM3c, 12/28/45 to 02/22/46
Walcome, Elmer Reynold, 870-40-75, BM2c, ?? to 01/20/45
Walker, James Edmond, 759-11-70, Sc3c, ?? to 11/17/45
Walorol, Charles Francis, 862-68-48, EM3c, ?? to 06/23/45
Warmuth, George Henry Leo, 343-54-21, 01/27/45 to 05/23/45
White, Donald Robert, 343-02-61, S1c, 10/27/44 to 02/14/46
Worland, Lewis Clifton, 293-18-00, Y2c, ?? to ??
Wren, Jason F., 582-27-72, S1c, ?? to 03/01/46
Note: This list is complied from several muster rolls in 1945/1946. It was very hard to read, so it may be inaccurate. Since this list is taken from several lists dated at different times it is just a figure.
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