Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Toward the end of the war, they were sending men home on the point system. So many points for so much service. I had more than enough points to go home and had my things packed and ready to go. But I had to have a replacement before I could leave. We were anchored in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, I think it was September 13, 1945. I was standing watch in the boiler room for a boy who wanted to go to a movie on the tank deck. I never did tell you my ship was an LST (landing ship tank). It had a huge area below the top deck, about 30 feet wide and about 3/4 the length of the ship. Here we carried bulldozers, road graders, trucks, and anything they could get on. It had huge water tight doors that swung open, allowing a steel ramp that was hinged at one end to be let down for entering and exiting the tank deck. It was sometime around midnight, I heard shooting and men running. I thought we must be being attacked by a bunch of Jap planes. This was not supposed to happen as this area had been secured for sometime. We had a nuisance radar that came over at 3 AM every night, but we never paid any attention to him and he wasn't due yet. When one is standing watch they are not to leave their post for anything unless relieved by another responsible person. In case of emergency or General Quarters, the man I relieved was to go to his post and I was to go to the main engine room.

My relief didn't show up and I went to the top of the ladder connecting the boiler room to the main deck. Just as I reached the top an officer yelled at me, "Get those men inside!"

What had happened was the radio men on every ship in the harbor had heard over their radios that the Japs had asked for peace and could not keep it to themselves. As soon as the word got out the gunners headed for their guns and started shooting almost straight up. Of course, the whole crew headed for top side and were in danger of being hit by a spent shell. It was a wild and pretty sight. The sky was filled with tracers of different colors. I've never seen a 4Th of July celebration that equaled it. This stopped the bomber runs and I missed the 29's coming in low on their flight pattern to land a short distance inland...

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