Sincerest thanks to Mr. D. Moriarity, 79th Seabee veteran, for sharing a part of his memories of World War II - from the 74th Seabee Battalion to the 79th NCB to a hospital ship and the homecoming,
     I entered the 74th Seabee Battalion in December of 1942 and did my boot camp training at Camp Bradford in Norfolk, Virginia.  It was formed by recruits from the enlisted men, who were from the middle states, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. They were changed into the Fourth Special which became a battalion of "Stevedores".  They were to unload ships and were moved to Guadalcanal.  I was left in that Reserve encampment for several weeks.  I vaguely remember we were there for six weeks.  We were in tents and did more "boot camp" training.  I was told that the reason I didn't go with them was that my training as a Plumber-Pipefitter would not be effectively used in a stevedore Battalion.  I felt deserted.
      Then a detachment of us were transferred into the 79th Seabee Battalion and, while in the Seventy-Ninth, I completed my first tour of duty in Alaska with the 79th  and returned to the West Coast where we encountered many of our first Seabee friends at Camp Parks, on the West Coast. They had also just returned from their first tour of duty as Stevedores from Guadalcanal.
      My second and third tours continued on with the 79th Seabees on Saipan and Okinawa, but I had left Okinawa before the typhoon of October 9, 1945 hit.  I was transferred to the hospital ship USS SANCTUARY (AH-17) to become a part of the hospital ship's crew.  I became responsible for the Ship Fitters Crew.  The news of the typhoon on Okinawa was broadcast over the ship's speaker system, when we were a few days out to sea.  Immediately scuttlebutt ran rampant through the ship that we were going to return to take care of the wounded.   Truthfully, we felt sorry for them; however, it was a common reaction as I sensed it that we keep going toward home, not that those sentiments had any effect on the ship's Captain and/or Commander to continue on our course toward San Francisco.
Homenavy2.jpg (9204 bytes) It was a fantastic trip home and into the San Francisco Bay.  What a triumphant ride that was under the Golden Gate and Bridge.  Every man free and available standing on the top deck in our Dress Blues, at attention around the perimeter of the ship's common deck with tears of joy that we were returning stateside, as you have seen in pictures of ships coming into port. 

All traffic was stopped on the Bridge and we, the crew, unashamedly stood at attention with tears of joy in our eyes.  The Hospital Ship was surrounded by small craft with people cheering us as heroes, some of them had a small orchestra on their top deck playing something or other and the sound of the music was lost in the hub dub of it all. You no doubt know that a Hospital Ship is the glamour vessel of the wartime fleet.
       What a pleasure to have these thoughts at this early hour in the morning sitting at this desk in the comfort of my home.  I have written with pleasure all of the above

79th Seabee veteran,
D. Moriarity



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