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"The Wartime Journal" of Richard Scovil, PCS-1455


History of PCS-1455
Dec. 1, 1944 to Oct. 29, 1945

Dec. 1, 1944 - Arrived aboard my new home, PCS-1455 Docked in Waipio [Hawaii].

Dec. 3, 1944 - We went to Waianae for test runs, more or less dry runs. I sure loved my sack all week.

Dec. 9, 1944 - We are back at Pearl Harbor.

Dec. 25, 1944 - My first Christmas away from home. We exchanged some gifts and had some Punch that had quite a kick to it. We added Torpedo Juice and Home Brew and it got us pretty loaded. Mr. Robbins sold us a quart of Schnelys Black Label.

Jan. 1, 1945 - New Years Eve was fun. I got pretty high on the quart from Mr. Robbins. That was the best I have ever felt on Liquor.

Jan. 18, 1945 - Mr. Robbins transferred off ship and Mr. Ehrenreich took over our team.

Jan. 19, 1945 - Mr. Robbins threw a farewell party. I had the watch or I would have been as Stinko as all the rest. The lucky so and so in now getting a 30 leave.

Jan. 21, 1945 - We left Pearl Harbor for an Unknown Destination. This will be my second cruise to the Battle Front.Feb. 3 1945 - Arrived at Eniwetok, Marshall Islands. We heard quite a bit about the place but its my first time here. I see no difference than any other atoll, lots of small low islands with palm trees.

Feb. 10, 1945 - We arrived at Saipan in the Marianas and saw what was left of a Jap sugar mill that the Marines had a hell of a time taking. SuperForts [B-29] fly to and from Japan all day now.

Feb. 15, 1945 We left Saipan for our first operation of this cruise. We were never told where we were heading but we all knew. I know that my guess was correctÖ..

Feb. 19, 1945 - Iwo JimaÖ A volcanic Rock just 750 miles from Japan. This is the closest we have been to the Land of the Rising Sun. The Third and Forth Marine Divisions made their landings about 0830 hrs after massive shelling and bombing of the island. The poor guys really had a tough time getting a beachhead because of the murderous crossfire from Suribachi on the left and the broken cave lands on the right. We couldnít knock them out with Naval Guns or Bombs. The Marines had to do it themselves, one Jap at a time.

We are the closest ship to the shore that is not actually landing on the beach. The General wasnít kidding when he said we would be in close. It was foggy and raining when we went in but we still got a good view of what was happening on the beach. We looked out of place with the Battle Wagons and Cruisers and Destroyers firing away at the beach. Damn those big guns make a hell of a racket when they fire right over your head. I donít see how anybody could live through that bombardment but those little yellow bastards did. The boys found that out when they hit the beach.

We have mortar shells hitting water all around the ship as the Japs are firing on us too. This is my fourth invasion but itís the first time the fighting has been up close and personal. This is the toughest invasion we have faced in the Pacific so far. The Marines who come out of this alive will really have something to brag about to their Grandkids. This damn Island is nothing but rock and ash. The japs seem to have caves everywhere. The first Broadcast of the Invasion was made by a Correspondent named Bud Foster and Technician Frugy. Mr. Frugy used to live in Montclair and graduated from Montclair High School in 1922. Some of his teachers were still there when I was back in school in 1944. We had a long talk about the old Home Town.

Feb. 21, 1945 - The War Correspondent came back aboard tonight after spending time on the beach. He told us what the guys on the beach were going through. He said the boys were taking a hell of a licking from hidden artillery and mortar fire. He said that there are bodies all over the place and they arenít Japs! There have been very few Japs found at this point. They say this is the toughest fight in Marine Corp history. Our boys are really taking it out there. The boats full of wounded stop by us and ask directions. This gives us a look at whatís really happening on the beach.

We have had several Air Raid Alerts but have yet to see any Jap planes. We are getting word that the carriers are under attack but I am not positive. We know our planes have met the enemy because we listened in on the radio traffic from plane to plane as they fought it out.

The Battle ashore must be turning for the better because our LSTís [Landing Ship Tank] are all heading into the beaches. They donít go in to the beach until things are damn safe. Itís a good sign. I would like to know the casualty report to date but probably wont unless General Hart comes aboard again today. The weather here is terrible. We havenít seen the sun since we arrived on station 4 days ago. Its damp and its cold and the rain comes and goes. Iíd hate to be one of the boys on the beach in this damn weather.

Feb. 23, 1945 - ďOLD GLORYĒ was just raised on the summit of Mt. Suribachi by RCT 28 [Regimental Combat Team] at 1035 hrs! Thereís a morale booster.

It stopped raining last night and the wind started to blow. It feels pretty cold but the thermometer says 60 degrees. The sea is very choppy so itís no fun on deck. Most guys are spending some time in their racks, which is as good a place as any. The second hospital ship arrived today and God knows how many of our guys it picked up. Since weíve been the Generals taxi, we have little else to do the last few days. I donít know if he is on the beach now but he hasnít been onboard ship

Feb. 24, 1945 - We refueled and went out on the Ping Line so life goes on as usual with sea watches, chow, and sack time.

Feb. 26, 1945 - We left Iwo Jima behind us and are heading to Saipan. I donít care if I ever see Iwo Jima again.

Mar. 2, 1945 - Arrived Saipan but headed right out to Leyte, P.I.

Mar. 9, 1945 - We arrived at Leyte and dropped the hook. This is my second anniversary in the Navy. Oh Happy Day.

Mar. 14, 1945 - Went on liberty on the Island of Samar. The Philippine people live right where we landed. The village was a short walk and we took a look around. The people are very friendly and speak English pretty well. Some of us stopped to talk to a school teacher. The little kids run around wearing nothing but a shirt which looks funny at first. The houses are made of bamboo and thatch but were much nicer before the war.

The Japs have moved the people around a lot while they occupied the islands. Pigs and chickens run everywhere and it smells like a barnyard. I even saw one kid riding a water buffalo. I think that was the first time I ever saw one. The Japs didnít bother the people here as much as those who live in the larger towns and cities. They did make it hard for the people to get food and supplies and they taught Japanese in the schools. They had almost no clothes when we first arrived. They came out to the ships and traded sea shells, and bolos for mattress covers and food. A mattress cover is worth $7.00 on the beach. They make very nice dresses out of them. I have seen several Singer sewing machines in the village. This surprised me but they really know how to use them. They will pay $50.00 for one on Leyte. Our guys are starting to build roads and help the people rebuild. I am glad I came ashore.

Mar. 20, 1945 - We went into dry dock. I had an experience I donít care to repeat anytime soon, scraping the hull of the ship. It took us most of the night and boy am I tired. My shoulder feels like the first day of baseball season.

Mar. 25, 1945 - Left the Leyte/Samar anchorage for the Ryukyu Islands and our next operation. The 77th Division will be with us for the first time since we left them. The sea is terribly rough so a lot of the guys are sick. Even if you donít vomit and can eat something you still feel doped because we are bouncing around so much. I swear I will be glad to get off this cork.

Mar. 30, 1945 - We had a little excitement today. The sea is very rough and ďSkipperĒ the ships mascot fell off the forecastle. We had to stop and back the ship from a speed of 9.5 knots. We had a hard time getting her aboard in the rough seas. She never liked the water and I imagine she likes it even less now. She was lucky the Captain saw her go over the side or I doubt we could have stopped in time. The Captain was the only one with the authority to actually stop the ship and he will likely be called for it.

Apr. 1, 1945 - It is Easter Sunday and April Fools Day, but for us it is D-Day on Okinawa! This is the biggest invasion in the Pacific and may even be bigger than the invasion at Normandy. The sky is black from a morning of gunfire on an otherwise beautiful day. The sea is like a mill pond, so glassy we donít even roll. So far there has only been one Jap plane overhead and he was shot to pieces. I suppose tonight we will be under continuous air raid warning. So far we hear the resistance is light and the troops are moving in rapidly. We can see two radio towers in Naha, down the coast a couple miles. For once we are a control vessel but we arenít half as busy as we thought we would be.

At seven minutes after seven we had our first air raid. Two Jap planes came over. One was shot down but one crash dived into a transport. We were told that there wasnít much damage done to the ship. We had our first casualties of any operation I have been on. A twenty millimeter tracer shell hit a hatch cover and exploded. The dog and four of our crewmen were injured. There are no serious wounds but the guys will be hurting and one of the guys will have some foot problems for quite a while. Most of the wounds were in the legs. If we have any more G.Q. tonight, I hope itís before the eight to twelve watch is over.

Apr. 2, 1945 - The Transports and KAís [Attack Cargo Ship] were unloading most of the day. The boys who were hit with shrapnel went to see a doctor today. One of the guys had to stay but we expect him back in a week or so. We are losing men slowly but surely. We lost another guy to an appendectomy. Heading out to sea at night we saw a P.A. [Attach Transport] that took a bad hit in the no. 2 hold. She had a nasty hole in her.

Apr. 3, 1945 - Unloading continued all day. We stood out to sea a ways so the Japs wonít have so many targets.

Apr. 6, 1945 - I am very happy to say that I saw my first Jap plane shot down up close today. I am sorry to say that I also saw one of our own planes shot down by our own Fleet. He was the only plane around and it was broad daylight but some trigger happy jerk started firing away at him. The rest of the ships seemed to follow suit. He wiggled his wings to say ďHey, I am one of the good guysĒ and then he dove for the island. He was hit on the way down and tried to make a forced landing. He was going very low and very slow so if he found a place to put down, maybe he made it. We couldnít see what happened after he went down. We then shot down a total of six Japs but lost one of our own in the deal. A suicide plane (Kamikaze) hit a Destroyer and they had to abandon ship. Other Cans [Destroyer's] were trying to fight the fires so it could be towed in. It was the same Can that rigged the breeches buoy with us to transfer a radar tech. An Ammo ship was also burning with no survivors in sight. Several other ships have been hit as well but I donít know how serious. I havenít heard any word on how things are going on Okinawa.

Apr. 7, 1945 - We left Okinawa for Kerama Retto for logistics and possible transit to Pearl Harbor. The DD-528 [USS Mullany] is still afloat. We saw an LST take a hit, burn, and go to the bottom today.

Apr. 8, 1945 - We left Karama Retto to pick up LSTís to escort them to Leyte. It doesnít look like we will be heading to Pearl for a while yet.

Apr. 13, 1945 - Tokyo Time. Flags are lowered to half mast due to the death of President Roosevelt. We are all wondering just how things will go with the war now that he is dead. Itís too bad that he couldnít have lived to see the end of the war. This may prolong this damned war.

Apr. 15, 1945 - I have been to the Philippines several times but this is the first time I got to go ashore at Leyte. I went to the Capital of Leyte and was right in the Provincial Governors Office. I sure would hate to be stationed here in Tacloban. Itís dirty and it stinks something fierce. The sewage is all in the gutters and it doesnít run off.

Apr. 27, 1945 - We left Leyte for a return to Okinawa with a convoy of LSTís.

May 1, 1945 - The D.E. [Destroyer Escort] sighted a floating mine and nailed it with 40mm fire. It really made a Geyser when it blew. Iím real glad we didnít run into it some dark night. There wouldnít be anything left of us
but splinters.

May 1, 1945 - We arrived back at Okinawa after a quiet trip from Leyte. We passed one of the inhabited Kerama Islands this morning. I wish I had a camera because the way they live is very interesting. Their houses are right off the beach and they have terraces going up the side of the mountain so they can farm the land.

May 4, 1945 - Saw another Jap shot down today. He made a beautiful dive, hit the water and exploded in flames. Then a beautiful smoke ring floated up towards heaven but it dispersed before it got there.

We lost two Cans and one YMS [Auxiliary Motor Minesweeper]. One Destroyer rolled over and went down after it was hit by three suicide planes. This was in the outer screen where we are headed for Ping Line Duty. Itís been really hot out there since D-Day so no one is looking forward to this. The casualties are going aboard Mercy [AH-8] from an LCS [Landing Craft Support Ship] . The Cruiser Birmingham [CL-62] was towed in by a tug. She was down at the head and they were pumping water out of her at about the No.1 turret. The LCSís are knocking down Jap planes fast. One got six and another got 4 Ĺ .

We have shot a lot of planes down but it is costing us plenty to do it. The latest report is that we have lost over 5,000 Navy men in the Ryukyus. I am not sure if that is casualties or dead but I hope it is mostly casualties.

May 7, 1945 - We left Okinawa again and are headed for Ulithi with a mixed convoy of LSTís, LSMís, AKís, AFís, and APD-15 [USS Kilty] is the Screen Commander. We knocked another piece off the port side of the Forecastle delivering Guard Mail.

May 8, 1945 - V.E. Day Proclaimed in Europe! We heard most of the Big Shots speak in England. Now half of it is finished. Letís get the rest of it finished so we can all go home and celebrate.

May 13, 1945 - Arrived Ulithi Island. The place sure has changed since the first time I was here. It was more or less untouched then but now it has an Air Strip, Quonset Huts, and tents all over the island. The swimming here is wonderful. Its been so long since Iíve been that the swimming really bushes me.

May 15, 1945 - Went on a Beer Party on Mog Mog Island. Itís the same island we anchored off when we occupied Ulithi. The Nativeís houses are still there but the Natives are gone. I suppose they went to another island because there are so many of them around. The whole island is Navy Recreation now. I drank two beers and played volleyball. That was swell but waiting for a boat to take us back the ship got very tiring after an hour. We saw the bloody results of some fights that were going on every so often. Three cans of beer sure knocks the hell out of some guys. My two didnít phase me and I havenít done much of any drinking.

May 24, 1945 - A Destroyer came in today with no Bridge and no No.1 Stack. She had taken a Kamakazi hit. The count we got was 10 Officers and 68 Enlisted dead. She was the Hazelwood DD-531. That really shows us what a suicide plane can do. The Japs made a pretty good score on this one. One jap and his plane for 78 Americans and months of repairs. No wonder they are using suicide planes.

May 25, 1945 - Left Ulithi with a convoy of Tugs and Tows. We are Screen Commander.

May 26, 1945 - We sank a Net Bouy so it wouldnít be mistaken for a Mine. It took three magazines of ammo to sink it.

June 1, 1945 - Arrived at Leyte-Samar from Ulithi after a very slow and uneventful transit. We are supposed to get a general overhaul here.

June 2, 1945 Ė August 5, 1945 - Journal Pages are missing.

Aug. 7, 1945 - We left Subic Bay, Luzon for Tayabas Bay, Luzon. We reported in and dropped hook. We are here for maneuvers with the First Cavalry Division.

Aug. 13, 1945 - Went on Liberty Party to Lucena, capital of the province and the third largest city on Luzon. Our main objective was to see the J.A.S.C.O. It was located about 5 miles outside Lucena. We spent an hour in a LCVP, then we had to hike through the jungle for an hour to get to the railroad tracks. No trains run but the Natives push hand cars into town for 1 peso per man. When a car comes the other way you have to pick up your car and let the other one pass. This took us another 2 hours. When we arrived at a bombed out bridge we had to hire a raft to get us across. The raft was overloaded so it tipped over and dropped us all in a filthy Philippine river. We then started walking into town and the street actually had sidewalks. We met up with Donlevey and a couple guys in a jeep. They got us rides out to the company. They have a nice area and very good chow for a change. They were surprised to see us and all were still the same bunch of good guys. Some of the older guys were gone and Charlie Briggs was now the First Sgt.

Aug. 15, 1945 - President Truman announced today that the War with Japan is over! Our maneuvers are cancelled and we got orders to return to Subic Bay immediately. Three men havenít gotten back from liberty. The have been over the hill for twenty four hours now. Will they be surprised when they find the fleet gone.

Aug. 16, 1945 - Arrived Subic Bay. The three missing men returned aboard but havenít been in to see the Old Man yet.

Aug. 27, 1945 - Got underway at 1130 hrs. headed to Manila. Arrived Manila at 1800 hrs. Saw Eldorado [AGC-11] and Corregidor [CVE-58]on the way in. Liberty tonight but I donít rate until tomorrow.

Aug. 28,1945 - Made my first liberty in Manila today. I left the ship at 0930 hrs. and took a long walk through the town. Itís a really beaten up place. The buildings that are standing have bullet and shrapnel holes all over. There are scrap piles all over the place. I didnít get to see the better known places because we were to meet the rest of the liberty section at the Four Acres Bar. We spent six hours there and had plenty to drink. I held mine a lot better than I expected, and a lot better than a lot of the others expected me to. MacAurther can keep the Philippines if he wants them, I sure donít!

Sep. 1,1945 - We left manila for Subic Bay at 1000 hrs and arrived at Subic at 1700 hrs. We reported to Com Des Div 102. We are taking on fuel and provisions to be ready to sail in the morning. Maybe we are going some place else at last.

Sep. 3,1945 - Left Subic Bay P.I. with LCIís [Landing Craft Infantry], SCís [wooden Submarine Chaser], PCís [steel Submarine Chaser], and a Destroyer. We are bound for Okinawa again.

Sep. 7,1945 - We arrived in Buckner Bay, Okinawa and reported to the escort pool.

Sep. 16,1945 - We got a Typhoon warning and lashed down for a blow. The winds started this morning. All the big ships got underway and headed out to sea. We stayed at Anchor until our chain snapped so we headed to Sea. We rode into the wind at about three knots until we were far enough from shore, the we changed coarse to ride with the storm. We road out the storm and it finally calmed down some. I think the ship really surprised everyone. She rolled hard and stood on her tail and did whatever the storm wanted her to do and she still held together. Some of the boys thought it would have been better to beach her and try our luck in the surf. I think the Captain did the only thing he could do to get the men and the ship through safely. Others werenít as lucky. Two SCís and two LCIís went down, all hands abandoning ship. We will have to wait till we get back to port to get the details.

Sep. 23,1945 - We left Buckner Bay Okinawa for Jinson, Korea. We saw the famous Third Fleet on the way out. They were here for a short stay before heading back to the states to celebrate Navy Day next month.

Sep. 26,1945 - The weather is cold and rainy as we head thru a big Jap mine field. We got thru without a mishap. DE-584 [USS Charles J. Kimmel] destroyed five mines before evening chow and the SC-1020 destroyed one mine. I saw a couple of them blow and I wouldnít want us to hit one. If we ever do there wont be anything left but splinters.

Sep. 27,1945 - A beautiful night on the 0400 Ė 0800 watch, but cold as the devil on the bridge. Lots of rocky islands around. We will arrive at Jinson Korea later this morning. While entering the harbor, we passed about six Jap navy ships going out with the American Ensign flying over the Jap ensign. There were enogh American Navy men aboard to keep the jap sailors in line. There were a couple Destroyers and Destroyer escorts.

They were a poor excuse for Cans and D.E.ís. They had six or eight twentyís and a pair of three or five inchers on each. They sure donít compare with our Can and D.E.s. I never expected to see any of the Jap Navy because most of it is on the bottom of the Sea. These ships must have been in hiding here in Korea which would be easy to do because of all the small mountainous islands. From what I can see of Korea so far is a lot of mountains and it all looks very bleak. The wind seems to blow continuously and it is very cold until the sun is well up and heating things up a bit. The current in the harbor is the strongest I have seen of any place we have been. I would hate to have to swim against it. We have heard several stories about liberty here but we will have to wait and see for ourselves.

Oct. 1.1945 - Got underway at 0600 hrs to relieve DE-362 [USS Rolf] as Harbor Control and Pilot ship.

Oct. 5,1945 - I got Liberty on a small rocky island near our station here in Korea. There is a small village built on the side of one of the hills but we werenít allowed to visit. We went for a beer, a hamburger, and a ball game on the beach. When the tide is out there is a very nice beach to play on. There is a huge tidal change here so first base is continually going underwater. We got some good exercise playing ball, and I did some swimming. As soon as we hit the beach, half the village turned out to watch us. They were of all sizes and ages. The men and boys were friendly enough and tried to trade you the shirt off your back but the girls would run if you tried to take a picture of them. They looked a lot like Japs but they are Korean.

Oct. 7,1945 - We piloted a converted Jap Hospital ship into harbor today. We got up close so we could take a good look at it. There were a few soldiers on deck, very young looking guys and some sad looking nurses. I took three pictures of it so I should have prints of it some day.

Oct. 10, 1945 - We saw a bunch of Jap Prisoners being shipped back to Japan. They got home faster than we will.

Oct. 11, 1945 - We got a new assignment, mail vessel. We collect all the mail for the Anchorage, take it to the mail ship, and bring back the new incoming mail. I finally got Liberty in Jinson, Korea today. I spent four hours roaming through the shops. They have lots of junk to sell but not what I expected. I couldnít tell if the people were all Korean or not. I donít see much of a difference. All the men seem to have at least one item of Japanese Army clothing on. The women wear different clothing altogether, Costumes that signify their education, social and economic status. Here the women strap their breast down against their bodies. In the states itís just the opposite. America is a wonderful place! The Saki joints are off limits so I stayed away.

Oct. 12, 1945 - There is a big fire in the tidal basin tonight. We saw the fire and then we heard a big explosion. Two LCTís [Tank Landing Craft] burned and the fire spread to warehouses along the basin. We heard there were some light casualties. Maybe some Japs left over after all.

Oct. 14, 1945 - We are relieved of Mail Ship Duty with new orders to steam for Shanghai, China.

Oct. 17, 1945 - We sighted a mine and fired our guns. The thing was hit good and exploded not fifty yards from the ship. I was on the forecastle behind a ready box when she went off. I hit the deck and watched as shrapnel hit the water all around us. Itís a wonder that no one was hurt.

Oct. 18, 1945 - PC-804 detonated another mine this morning. We are now navigating the Yangtze River and will be anchoring at the entrance to the Wangpoo River for the night. Tomorrow we will proceed up the Wangpoo River to the city of Shanghai.

Oct. 19, 1945 - We are now in Shanghai, China. Before we could tie up we were surrounded by little native boats. The Chinese were trying to sell us stuff, and when we did tie up they were already lining the dock. You could buy almost anything you could think of. Section three rated the liberty today and they said it is wonderful. I donít rate liberty until Sunday. After dark, the pimps came trying to sell women. I guess every port has its pimps and hookers.

Oct. 21, 1945 - My first liberty in Shanghai and its really one heck of a place. I have never in all my life seen anything like it and donít expect to see its equal again. The Chinese drive you nuts. They chase you everywhere trying to sell you something, anything from a watch to a woman.

Oct. 29, 1945 - Today I received orders to report to the USS Nashville [CL-43] for further transfer to where the Navy needs me. At 2000 hrs, I leave PCS-1455 for the last time, after nearly one year and a World War aboard
her decks.


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