Tag Archives: heart

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

Mail Call

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post office 1946

Good news!

“First class letter mail sent by members of the U.S. Military or Naval forces on active duty shall be transmitted free of postage anywhere in the U.S. mail service. This includes ordinary letters and post cards, but excludes air mail and packages or parcels. Inscribe letters thus: upper left corner – “John Doe, Seaman second class, U.S. Navy”; upper right corner – “Free.” This privilege does not apply to any matter sent to members of forces by persons not members thereof. Free franking privileges have been granted service men. Now our only excuse for not writing will be consideration for the censors and our inability to spell.”

Tarheel, April 4, 1942

“We received the U.S. Mail aboard today. A total of 52 regulation mail sacks full of 1st class postage. I don’t think, of all the possible reaction a man can go through, that there are many that can compare with the disillusionment and chagrin that comes from not receiving a letter. Especially a letter that has been patiently await for more than two and half months. Yes, it has been that long since we received our last mail, July 4th. I did get one letter from Mother and also one from Rosemary. Both were dated August 7th.”

-Arthur Hahn, Storekeeper 3/c, September 12, 1942

“Nothing could boost the morale as much as mail call. It kept homesickness to a minimum. During the early days of the Pacific war mail was less frequent because of the distance and secret location of a given ship or base. During the second year of the war it was not uncommon to receive ship’s mail two or three or more times each week.”

-Leo Drake, Fire Controlman 1/c

Mail Call

“Early in the war mail was very, very slow. Always sporadic. Usually a whole bunch would arrive at once. The bugler would sound the call and everyone got excited. Since there was usually an awful lot at once mail call would be sounded more than once until all had been distributed. One division member had the duty to fetch the mail and pass it out.”

-Larry Resen, Fire Controlman 1/c

“I had been assigned the mail sentry detail. In other words in the wardroom the officers would open the mail when you’d write a letter home. You would just put it in an envelope and drop it into a box where the officers would glance over it and cut out anything there that may hurt the security of the ship. [He] could mark it out where it could not be readable…then he could put it back into the envelope and mail it to the party. This would be signed over to the seamen who would sign for it and pass it through the machine and seal it up. They’d drop it in a bag and carry it down to the post office. One nice thing about the tankers coming alongside you’d usually know that you were going to have a mail call. Even though at that time I didn’t get much mail I was always glad to get a letter from my grandma or aunt.”

-Ollie Claude Goad, Seaman 1/c

Mail bag delivery

“Lack of consideration by many men in failure to write to parents and close relatives for long periods of time is causing needless work for the Navy Department in handling correspondence from the inquiring parents or relatives. The government and the Navy have both made if as easy as possible to carry on normal correspondence. Parents and other close relatives have the right to occasionally hear from men on board this ship when we are in forward areas. Disciplinary action will be taken in all cases where inquiries are received on board as to the reasons letters have not been received by parents and close relatives and where a good reason is not given for such action.”

-Commander J.W. Stryker, Executive Officer, May 1944

Pearl Harbor

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USS OKLAHOMA Damage

USS OKLAHOMA Damage

“The ship went immediately into war regulations, even though the United States did not declare war until December 8, 1941. Censorship became for the crew something difficult to live with. It was like taking away our freedom; it was something everyone had to abide by. The sound bite was ‘Loose lips sink ships.’”
Leo O. Drake

“The day war was declared, we were in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In fact, I had the duty of sounding that war had been declared. We got the word ‘bogeys’, and we went to General Quarters in the yard. We had ammunition in the mount. We got the word to ‘stand by.’ We heard this many times before in our drills. Our next order would have been ‘commence firing.’ Just then, we got the word to ‘Rest easy,’ the plane was a ‘friendly.’”
Paul A. Wieser

“December 7, 1941, I was at home in Jersey City and planned to take my mother to a New York City movie. The radio had a bulletin about Pearl Harbor, details were sketchy and we proceeded to take the bus to New York. As we exited the movie, it was dark and people came up to me and said “You better get back to your ship sailor.” I took my mother to the bus depot and then returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I remember distinctly my surprise when two guards with rifles accosted me as I walked to the ship. Things had changed.”
Larry Resen

Sheet Music

“December 7, 1941. I had the duty this weekend, and was asleep in my top bunk when the word came. ‘This is not a drill. The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. We are in a state of war.’ We went to General Quarters and started setting up guard posts throughout the ship. I was given a 45-caliber automatic and duty belt and stood watch outside a lower 5-inch handling room. Some patrolled the opening to the Navy Yard in our launches, watching for anything that might float in that was suspicious. I had no idea where Pearl Harbor was, and knew little about the Japanese. I soon learned.

Before Pearl Harbor, the public didn’t have too good an opinion of a sailor; even my girlfriend’s mother didn’t trust me after I joined. But Monday when I headed home, I couldn’t put a nickel in the fare box. I was being treated like a hero, what a difference a war made. My family didn’t expect me, and they were all gathered as if they wouldn’t see me again till the war was over. When I walked in you would have thought I was gone for years: ‘Home the Hero.’“
Bill Taylor

“I had lunch with mom and dad and some friends. I said good-bye and kissed them. I came back to the gate and the Marine at the gate said, “Get back to your ship, Pearl Harbor has been bombed and we are at war.” Running back to the ship, there were guns going up on the buildings and the Brooklyn Navy Yard boats going out into the East River.”
Edwin L. Calder

“I remember the day the war broke out. I had just got off watch at 4 o’clock. I changed my dress blues, got showered and shaved. I was standing on the deck waiting for my buddy and that is when the war broke out. We were all standing in line for inspection and they passed the word that all leave was cancelled.”
Edward Hall

“Received electrifying news of the fact that Japan had bombed the U.S. possession Pearl Harbor! U.S. declared war on Japan (12/8/41). My birthday today and feel very lonely and sort of thrilled because war declared on my birthday.”
Mike Marko