Monthly Archives: April 2014

Liberty World Wide

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Times Square studio shot0001

Liberty in New York

“Being in New York City was just great at that time. We could ride the subway from Sand Street to Manhattan for about ten cents. We could always get free tickets from the YMCA for the shows in NYC. We saw most of the big bands during that time – Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and many others. At that time it was a great city to have fun in. Also, we had Coney Island, the amusement park. I have gone on a liberty in that city and had only fifty cents and still had a great time.”

-Leo Bostwick, Machinist’s Mate 2/c

Heading into NYC in 1941

“We had three section liberty and I went home every night as I lived in the Bronx. It was an hour and a half trip by street car, subway, and bus. It cost me twelve cents each way (that was a long time ago). I went out the Sands Street gate. It was a notorious street with lots of bars and ladies of the night. They had names like Hungry Helen and Big Bertha and I was scared to linger long there. I was only seventeen.”

-William Taylor, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c

Diamond Head

Liberty in the South Pacific

“After the Philippines operations concluded for us in early 1945, we proceeded to the Pacific Fleet’s new advanced base in Ulithi Lagoon to prepare for our next operations and to enjoy a bit of R and R on the isle of Mog Mog. The native grass huts and buildings were standing; the natives had been evacuated to nearby islands. The SeaBees had constructed picnic and BBQ facilities and ball fields. We were authorized to send over liberty parties with athletic equipment and two cans of beer per man for an afternoon of sunning, swimming, playing ball, eating and drinking. My first experience with liberty parties as an ensign was to be in charge of 50 sailors with all their gear and beer and get them to the beach, a 45 minute boat ride, supervise their recreation…and get them back to the ship on schedule. I was outnumbered 50 to one.”

-Capt. Tracy Wilder, USN (Ret)

“I remember when I went ashore on that island. The boat would dock at an old rickety pier and you walked through a jungle path to get to the recreation area. The warm beer was delicious.”

-Ron Johnson, Seaman 2/c

Officers Club Ulithi

“We anchored back in Ulithi to refuel and replenish stores. While in Ulithi we would have recreation at our favorite resort, Mog Mog. The island was very small with the highest point above sea level of about six feet. The island was covered with coconut palm trees…and divided so that about three-quarters were for the enlisted personnel and the remainder for the officer’s club. We could strip down to our skivvies and swim in the surf…or just lounge around and relax, which most of us did. Time on the island was about four hours.”

-Bill Fleishman, Fireman 1/c

3 friends in Hawaii

Liberty in Hawaii

In Hawaii, “Liberty was from 09:00 to 18:00, daylight liberty unless you had someone there you knew. Honolulu had lots to offer GIs in the way of USO clubs and places to go there was never a charge. I loved to dance and you could dance at the YMCA and the Breakers. Also there was a theater. It reminded me of home as the ceiling was like a sky with stars twinkling and clouds drifting by. There was Waikiki Beach. I loved to swim and had never seen a beach like this with its clear water and surf. I soon was snorkeling and riding the surf. It was really a paradise. The Royal Hawaiian was a special place. It was reserved for the submarine sailors when they returned from tours. We had lots of pictures taken in Honolulu. They had hula girls you could have your picture taken with.”

-William Taylor, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c

“Most of our liberty was in Honolulu and it consisted of sightseeing and drinking. We tried to date some of the local girls but they didn’t seem too interested in sailors. They liked our money but didn’t want to go dancing with us.”

-Jim Masie, Fire Controlman 2/c

Camp Andrews Hawaii

“Camp Andrews was a rest and relaxation camp established for US Navy enlisted at Oahu. Life at camp was very relaxed. We slept, ate, played games and drank beer. There was no reveille on your three days there or bed check. We slept in tents. All we had to do was cross the road and we were on our own little beach.”

-Charles Paty Jr., Radioman 2/c

Divine Services

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First Easter Service First Easter Service program

“When the ship was commissioned, we only had one chaplain, Captain Albert, a Protestant. Later on after the war started, we had two chaplains, one Protestant and one Catholic. The chaplain’s office was located inside the library and the library’s head (bathroom) served double duty as the confessional for Catholics. When we had a Catholic priest, he held mass nightly in the warrant officers’ mess. Some people started up Bible study groups. The chaplain was in charge of morale and personal welfare. The chaplain also helped with the (ship’s) paper and library.”

-Paul Wieser, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c

“Religious service was usually held in the mess compartment aft on the starboard side. It was held on Sundays and special occasions. The attendance of the service was dependent on what we were headed for. If action was immanent, the attendance would go up. If not, only those who attended service regularly would be there. The chaplains were always there to help you. It was a tense time in our lives. They would comfort us and tell us everything would be all right and to just trust in God, which we did. Being a Catholic, I could go to confession and communion whenever I wanted and the chaplain was always there, for me and for the rest of the crew.”

-Jim Masie, Firecontrolman 1/c

Presentation of Ship's Bible April 1941 from Hustvedt to Albert

“We had some fantastic officers on board. The man that comes to my mind first of all was a Lutheran chaplain named Everett Wuebbens. He was a man who got along with everybody on the ship. He didn’t force his religion on you except at chapel on Sunday, and you didn’t have to go there unless you wanted to. I happened to like him so much. I don’t believe I ever missed a service. When he was detached from the ship I liked him so much and thought he was so good that I wrote to the chief of chaplains and suggested him as the chaplain for the Naval Academy.”

-Commander Joe Stryker, Executive Officer

“They had the organ down where they held the services. Before the service, (one of the ship’s band members) was playing light classical numbers. I would always run down early, because he was such an excellent organist, to enjoy the music before the church service.

At that time, the senior chaplain was a Lutheran minister and the assistant chaplain was Catholic. He had been a boxer prior to the time that he had gone into the priesthood. He was a honey and when it came time and we had problems, he was Johnnie on the spot. Although I am not Catholic, I admired and loved the man. He was just great.”

-Lieutenant Stansel DeFoe

Divine service on deck

Midshipman Abram D. Harrel onboard the Ship-of-the-Line North Carolina, April 8, 1838:

“At 10 am inspected the crew at quarters, performed divine service. There is something particularly sublime in witnessing the performance of religious devotions at sea. How very effecting to see, these tempest tossed sons of the ocean obeying the summons of the bell and assembling at the altar, doffing their tar-paulins and beginning in solemn manners to chant their simple songs to that God who is the protector of the poor mariner. How the invocation of the poor sailor to the father of the distressed goes to the heart. The consciousness of our insignificance, excited by the voice of infinity; our songs, resounding to a distance over the silent waves.”

Anniversary of Commission

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We Celebrate A Birthday

“The good ship USS North Carolina celebrated her first birthday anniversary in a most enjoyable manner with a big party on 9 April 1942. The day dawned bright and fair, with sufficient snap in the air to add zest to the Field Day events, which got underway promptly at 1000. It was like an eight ring circus, and Little Willie was a bit dizzy trying to take in all the eight events at once.

The afternoon jamboree completed the day’s festivities and as the curtain fell the entire ship’s company expressed in words or actions their thanks to all, who, through their untiring efforts, made the occasion possible. Thus, was another link forged in our chain of important events. When our baptismal fire is upon us, we feel certain that by such displayed unity of action our anchor of father in our purpose will find all tried and true.

-Tarheel, April 11, 1942

A Look Back to Commission Day of the USS North Carolina on April 9, 1941

We were in the New York shipyard, getting the ship ready to go to war. The people in the shipyard had the same feeling that I have and that I still have about the wonderful ship the NORTH CAROLINA. Every man on that crew in Brooklyn worked just as hard as they could to make it a going concern; and it had to be because it was known that the Japanese were building up their fleet and that we were not quite as superior to the fleet of the Japanese at that time. It was only until we got some real power in our naval shipyard and…the NORTH CAROLINA was in the vanguard of this fight.

My wife and I were invited to the commissioning ceremonies in New York City. It was a really electric and satisfying result. The ovation that ended the celebration in New York when the ship was commissioned was a tribute to a bunch of hard working people that our shipyards were. Our sailors and men were ready to go out and do what ever had to be done to win this war. And they did it. They really did it.”

-Commander Alfred Ward, USN

An excerpt from News Parade, 1941 coverage of the Commission ceremony. The clip features Capt. Olaf Hustvedt assuming command of BB55 and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox giving an inspirational speech to the nation.