From California to Saipan - World War II
Mr. H. Brady, Headquarters Co., 79th Seabees

    I will begin with my navy training. It started at Great Lakes, Ill. We were training for duty aboard ships. My company was to go to New Orleans, La. for Air Craft training. We were to go to New Orleans, La. in abut 3 weeks when my orders were changed to go to Camp Parks, Calif. for training to become a Sea Bee. That was where I was assigned to the 79th NCR Bat. that your father was in. They had just returned from the Aleution Islands. We completed our training in 3 months and was getting our equipment loaded aboard the L.S.T. for duty in the Pacific where, we did not know. We boarded our ships. I was on a troup transport. I remember the afternoon our ship received their orders to head out to sea. There was a very heavy storm along the California coast. When we were going under the Golden Gate Bridge, the ocean became very rough. There was very large waves. We dropped the Harbor Pilot off on a very small boat and we headed out to sea. The waves were now breaking over the bow.  Most of the men had become sea sick. I was one of a few that did not get sea sick. It was terrible for the next three days.

   The next port we entered was Pearl Harbor. We were not allowed to go ashore, but unloaded mail bags and loaded more aboard. This was the first time we saw what a war zone looked like and lots of the devastation had been cleared up.  But there was plenty that would only be healed by time.   We were there about a week. We were going out to sea in a big convoy. We were on a zig-zag course westward.

   We arrived what I remember in the Marshalls. I think it was Kwajalien. We anchored in a large bay with many other ships. We unloaded all mail bags and picked up many. We also took on fresh water, ship fuel, food. This island was so devastated from the battle fought there.  It was so terrible. It looked like the destruction just happened the night before we arrrived. We sailed out of the bay just before sunset and joined with another big convoy. We were on our way to Saipan. This we did not know. The weather was very nice on the last leg of our journey and nights we would sleep out on the steel decks with just our blanket and pillow. We knew we were entering into the zone where each day was a precious gift to the living and so many would die many miles from the town and small country villages they lived in. Names of towns like Hershey, Pennsylvania, or Hay, Washinton or Walla Walla, Washington. We arrived on Saipan. The dreams of war had now become a reality.

14 December 1997



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