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"The Unofficial Log of George W. Freshwater SoM2c, PCS-1455

February 1944 - 1946


The UNOFFICIAL Log of the U.S.S. P.C.S. 1455

This log is subject to errors caused by:
1. Nearly 45 years of time.
2. Just plain loss of memory.
3. Youthful imagination.
4. Unintentional fabrication.
5. Too many mid watches.
6. Excessive sack time.
7. Planned omissions.

All log entrys have been made in Jan. 1988 by :

George W. Freshwater SoM2c
Starboard Liberty Section Forward Sleeping Area
U.S.S. P.C.S. 1455

FEB. 1944 : This ship was commissioned into the U.S. Navy at Tacoma, Washington. She was built by The Mojean - Ericson Shipbuilding Corporation. Her full compliment of officers and enlisted men was 4 and 65 respectively. We did not have our full compliment of enlisted men at the time of commissioning. Officers were; Lt. Com. Mann, Lt. Carter Cort, Lt. David Shotwell, and Lt. Ralph Fisher. Our sister ship , was being built right along side of us. She was to be the PCS 1461. She was not completed at the time of our commissioning. We first got under way in Puget Sound, where we took on a full load of all kinds of ammunition at a remote location in the Sound. We left the Puget Sound area for a trip down the West Coast to the Small Craft Training Center at San Pedro, CA. En route the new ship and her green crew went through a very severe storm for about 3 days. Most every one was very seasick. The crew and ship was baptized by Old King Neptune in "first class" style.

MAR. 1944 : We completed our shake down cruise requirements out of San Pedro. Gunnery practice, ASW runs, and numerous drills were an every day event Liberty was pretty good in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego. Several new crew men came aboard at San Pedro and San Diego. Now we had our full compliment of enlisted men.

LATE APRIL 1944 : The 1455 says good bye to the USA. We leave San Diego with a convoy of LCI's and LST's bound for Pearl Harbor. It took nearly 14 days to make Pearl with the convoy. Our slow convoy speed, plus our zig zag course, made for a long time at sea. Again most every one was seasick the first two days out. Then we became "old salts."

MAY 1944 : We enjoyed about 3 wonderful weeks in beautiful Hawaii. Waikiki Beach was "cluttered" by only two 1930 vintage hotels. The rest was sand, surf, palms and green lawns. We all knew down deep that this was a fun time before a more serious time.

LATE MAY 1944 : The 1455 leaves Pearl Harbor with a convoy of about 50 LCI's, LST's and miscellaneous transport ships. Our job is to provide an ASW screen around the convoy at our assigned location. We maintain our position in this screen by means of surface radar. Our sister ship the PCS 1461 is also in this convoy.

EARLY JUNE 1944 ; We arrive with the convoy in good shape at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. This is the main staging area for the invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands. Once we leave Eniwetok the crew is told our destination. Many heavy fleet units are anchored at Eniwetok Atoll, including the heavy cruiser USS INDIANAPOLIS. THE 1455 leaves with our reformed convoy for the Saipan Operation. This trip will take about 7 days. The ship and crew are about to see the first guns fired in anger at the enemy.

JUNE 15, 1944 : D Day Saipan. The 1455 is on the line of departure off of Saipan. She is the "traffic cop" for Red Beach 2 ? Heavy fleet units and Naval Air has softened up many areas. This process continues, in all its fury, during embarkation of troops and equipment. Col. Carlson, of Carlson's Raiders is aboard the evening of June 15th. We maintain our station here off of the beach for the better part of 7 days. Special lookouts are posted at night both fore and aft for Jap swimmers who might try and board us while the crew is sleeping. Our sister ship, the PCS 1461 is hit by mortar fire in the Tanapay Harbor area. One officer is killed and 27 crewmen wounded. The Marines ashore have their hands full against the Imperial Japanese Marines assigned to defend the island. Our marines are reinforced by a full US Army division. The Guam invasion is postponed for several weeks because of the intense resistance encounter on Saipan. The United States move into Saipan was important enough to bring out the Jap Fleet in full force from Truk in the Caroline Islands. Their objective was to break up the invasion forces at Saipan. Thank God, the U.S. Navy Task Force 58, intercepted them in the Philippine Sea, bringing on what every Navy man has called," The Mariana's Turkey Shoot." The cream of Japanese Naval Aviation vanished the afternoon of June 19, 1944. Saipan was secured on July 10, 1944.

LATE JUNE TO MID JULY 1944 : The 1455 is on ASV7 patrol off of Saipan. We patrol through many dead Japanese civilian bodies floating on the surface These were the men, women and children suicides who jumped off of Marpi Point rather than surrender to our troops.

JULY 23, 1944 : D Day Tinian. The ship took part in the invasion of this island. This operation involved a fake invasion on one side, with the real thing taking place on the other side. The 55 was in the real thing. This operation was much lower scale than that of Saipan. Tinian was secured in 9 days in a very smooth operation. Of course we all remember the days of the booming of the "Long Toms" on Saipan, as they worked over select targets on Tinian.

AUG. AND SEPT. 1944 : The 1455 is on routine ASW patrol duty off of Saipan and Tinian. The days and weeks seem endless. Fighting boredom was the major challenge. On occasion we even received mail on patrol location via a boson's sling from another ship, usually an SC. On Saipan, work was going on around the clock, as The Seabees constructed a new air base to accommodate the soon to arrive Super Fortresses, the B 29's.

OCT. 1944 : The 1455 is ordered back to Pearl Harbor. Civilization at last ! Some of the crew have not stepped on solid ground in almost 5 months, since leaving Pearl in May of 1944. We returned back to Pearl alone, as I remember. We stopped at tiny Johnston Island to take on fuel and water.- We all marveled at the navigational expertise of the skipper and the quartermasters. They got a perfect landfall on Johnston Island after a last minute
course change.

NOV. AND DEC. 1944 : The crew enjoyed a well earned liberty in beautiful Hawaii, and R and R at Camp Andrews north of Pearl. We missed the action involved in the invasion of the Philippine Islands and the naval battle in the Leyte Gulf. Reading about it in the newspapers was plenty close enough. Pearl Harbor is plugged tight with ships of all kinds. We all know the 1455 will have a part in escorting these vessels before too much longer .

MID JAN. 1945 : We leave the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands and clear Barber 's Point with a large convoy of LCI's, LST's and various types of transports. Again about 50 ships was in our charge. Our immediate destination with this convoy is none other than old familiar Saipan. Here the convoy joins up with heavier fleet units, including many destroyers and several light cruisers. After a few days of getting everything organized, the course is set almost due north for a hunk of lava in The Bonin Islands called Iwo Jima.

FEB. 19, 1945 : D Day Iwo Jima. This invasion finds the PCS 1455 again at the line of departure, ready to do her job as "traffic cop" for the men and materials going onto the beaches. Resistance by the Japanese was fierce. Their accuracy with the mortar was almost uncanny. The fine volcanic ash added to the problems of moving tanks find other support vehicles to the assistance of the embattled marines. The commanding general of the 3rd Marine Division, Briq. Gen. Hart, was aboard the 1455 for a short while. He wanted to get a closer look at. the beaches, so the 55 closed the range. Some of the crew reported that we drew enemy fire. We opened the range.

FEB. 21, 1945 : About 11:00, while taking on fuel from a tanker in the area of Mt. Suribachi, we observed Marines on the summit reusing the stars and strips. I am riot sure if this was the original raising of the colors, or the reenactment for the press photographers. We observed this through field glasses from the pilot house.

LATE FEB. 1945 : The PCS 1455 leaves Iwo Jima with a small convoy of LST's They were riding high in the water. Our destination was Saipan.

EARLY MAR. 1945 : We are en route from Saipan to Leyte where a huge convoy is being assembled. Many of the crew visited Tacloban the capital of Leyte.

LAST WEEK OF MAR. 1945 : The 1455 is a small.l part of a huge convoy of over 70 ships headed north from Leyte to Okinawa. Many of our heavy 7th Fleet units are all over the place. These include the older battleships like the USS TENNESSEE, and heavy and light cruisers. DD's are everywhere around the convoy.

APRIL 1, 1945 : D Day Okinawa. Easter Sunday. The faithful 1455 is in her usual position at the line of departure. The prelanding bombardment was awesome. Battleships are in our area using their 16" rifles. Special equipped LCI rocket, ships are laying down a solid curtain of fire. Little resistance is encountered by our landing troops. The Jap commander decided to defend the lower half of the island. This is the part with Naha the capital. The suicide plane is used all out in the operation. Air raids are occurring every night. Bogeys are coming in from nearly every point of the compass. A huge display of anti-air craft fire. Four men on board are wounded when a. 20mm shell lands on deck. They received the Purple Heart. The DD's on the radar picket line are catching hell from the Jap suicide planes.

MID APRIL 1945 : The 1455 is en route from Okinawa to Leyte. We are escorting a convoy of empty LST's and other misc. transports. On the way to Leyte, we hear of the death of President Roosevelt. All flags go to half mast.

EARLY MAY 1945 : From Leyte back to Okinawa. Escorting another convoy of loaded LST's back to the fierce combat that is now going on at Okinawa.

LATE MAY 1945 : The 1455 steams from Okinawa to the Palau Islands. Its time for a little R and R. We are due for a rest stop at Ulithi, the fleet recreation area. Mog Mog Island, some times called Beer Can Island, is where we get a chance to stretch our legs on dry ground. The crew helped the island maintain its nick name.

EARLY JUNE 1945 : Palau back to Leyte. Here we pick up another small convoy of loaded LST's.

LATE JUNE 1945 : Leyte back to Okinawa with this convoy of loaded LST's.

EARLY JULY 1945 : The 1455 moves from Okinawa back to Saipan. She pulls more routine patrol duty off of Saipan for most of July 45. The B 29 's are now in full operation out of the new airfields that have been built on Saipan and Tinian. To relieve the boredom of the endless days of patrol, we look forward to counting the number of B 29 's up for each morning's operation, and then counting the number that returned that evening. Some times the numbers did not match.

JULY 25, 1945 : The 1455 makes this trip all by herself; Saipan to Subic Bay in the Philippines. We take basically the same course that the USS INDIANAPOLIS will take 5 days later. However she is sunk on July 30th by a Japanese submarine. QUESTION : Did we see the USS INDIANAPOLIS at anchor in Tanapay Harbor before we left Saipan?

AUG. 1945 : The 1455 is in Subic Bay for minor repairs to our port bow which was damaged during a refueling at. sea operation. We visit Manila Bay, Manila, and Corregidor. During this time we are also on rehearsals off of Batongus Provence for what we fear will be the invasion of Japan. It is here that we learn e.bout the dropping of the atomic bomb and the surrender of the Japanese .

SEPT . 4, 1945 : We leave Subic Bay en route to Okinawa. The 1455 arrives at Buckner Bay, on the east side of Okinawa on Sept. 7, 1945.

SEPT. 16, 1945 : TYPHOON AT OKINAWA ! The 1455 and her crew are in mortal danger! The following is an extract from the diary of A. L. Fuller SN2c telling of the ships experience in the typhoon at Okinawa Sept. 16, 1945 : "We were anchored all night but had a regular steaming watch on duty. At daybreak the anchor chain was let out to 75 fathoms and it seemed to be holding solidly. We had been using only 45 fathoms normally. The wind is rising gradually this morning to 40 knots and is still increasing, coming from the north west . About 1 P.M. the heavier fleet units commenced getting underway to head seaward and ride out the storm. The water here in the bay is now in a turmoil with the wind driving huge waves upon the beach. Our ship is rolling and pitching heavily. The rain driven by the force of the wind is beating down like sharp hailstones. Already the harbor radio has reported the recovery of a body near Naha . As the weather becomes worse we start our main engines in the event the anchor chain breaks, in which case we will then attempt to ride out the storm. By now everyone realizing the danger of the situation, has equipped himself with a life jacket. Shortly after 2 P. M. the anchor chain did break at the 60 fathom mark and .luckily with our engines running we were not washed aground. We got. underway slowly and made our way to the harbor exit, which was now becoming crowded with many large ships heading seaward. Our crew is surprised the captain is taking the ship out as the small craft were ordered by our unit commander to remain in Buckner Bay. Against the heavy seas we pounded ahead slowly clearing the dangerous reefs to gain the open sea which is now mountains of water. A group of LCI's which had followed us out, have turned and headed back into the bay, deciding against the open sea. We rolled, turned, and tossed like a cork. Ships a short distance from us would, disappear from sight, only to come into view again towering high above us. An estimate as to the height of the waves was sixty feet from basin to crest. The wind reached 70 knots with gust up to 100 knots. Our captain sought to get some distance out from the island of Okinawa and then turn and run before the wind, clearing the southern tip of the island. About 10 miles off shore on our beam we waited for a safe chance, then quickly wheeled and put the storm on our stern. Rolling heavily, the clinometer at one time indicated and angle of 56 degrees. About 9 A.M. the following day the storm had subsided and we felt much better as we turned and headed back against a much calmer sea. We had put 110 miles between ourselves and Okinawa. Steaming steadily we finally reached Buckner Bay about 9:30 A.M. on the morning of the 18th."

LATE SEPT. 1945 : We leave Okinawa en route to Jemilpo, Korea (This is now called Inchon). We draw escort duty for a small odd assortment of ships. Anything to get out of Okinawa before another typhoon hits. We had to negotiate several mine fields on this trip, very careful to stay in the swept channels. We sank several, floating mines with 20mm gunfire. We had a short liberty at Jemulpo. Not much to see. There were a lot of Jap navy ships in the harbor but they were under U.S. Navy control. We stay here only a few days until we receive new orders to proceed to Shanghai, China.

EARLY OCT. 1945 : The U.S.S. P.C.S. 1455 arrives in Shanghai, China. She has drawn duty as harbor entrance control ship on The Yangtze River. Two weeks out on the river and two weeks in port at Shanghai . Our 40mm gun tub is replaced with a sleeping compartment for river pilots that will be working with us at the month of the river. Japan is evacuating her army out of China, and of course the Yangtze is the main highway out. Very interesting work. Shanghai is very modern and cosmopolitan and is a huge "melting pot" of many different kinds of people.

NOV. DEC. 1945 : Pilot duty continues on the Yangtze. Many of the original, commissioning crew are now being transferred off back to the States. New replacements are taking their place fresh out of the States.

JAN. FEB. 1946 : Pilot duty continues on the Yangtze. The author of this unofficial log is the last "plank owner" to leave the ship at Shanghai, China on Feb. 16, 1946.

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