Stories Submitted by Bangust Sailors
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    A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE BANGUST

    H. E. "Hank" Davis

    At the beginning of my second week at the OGU Terminal Island the MAA (Master at Arms) in charge of working parties noticed that Fire control was similar to Fireman and assigned me as fireman (engineman) on a fifty foot motor launch which made three or four round trips daily from Terminal Island to the Fleet (Liberty) Landing in Long Beach. After about 3 or 4 days of learning to respond to the Coxswain's bell orders, I got up nerve enough to tell the MAA that I was not a Fireman but a Firecontrolman. He agreed that I was misassigned and immediately relieved me as engineman, then just as quickly reassigned me as Coxswain of the same fifty footer. (This was probably the day that I first learned to keep my mouth shut except in dire emergencies.) However, by then I'd been across the harbor a few times and figured I knew the way so decided to shut up and drive the boat. Besides it was better than taking a chance arguing with the MAA, who I was sure by then, held my entire naval future in his hands.

    Things went very well because in the daytime I just pointed the boat at landmarks and drove. At night I pointed it at the familiar lights and drove. Not bad for a kid that didn't even have a drivers license let alone a car. I began to wonder how long it would be before they put me in charge of a Battleship. Let's see - I've been in the Navy only six months for a fifty footer - so that works out to one year for a hundred footer. A Battleship is about eight hundred feet long, so it looks like I'll have to re-enlist to get a Battleship.

    One night while returning from Long Beach with a full load of half loaded sailors, I noticed that I could not see my Terminal Island destination lights very well. As I was trying to figure what was wrong, they disappeared completely. As I watched, my own bow light, not 50 feet away, almost disappeared, leading to the conclusion that we were in a very thick fog bank - something I had never even thought about. We idled way back and the bowhook, the real engineman and I had a guessing game conference to determine which end was up or north or east or anywhere. As we idled along one of the passengers, obviously an old salt, yelled "Just use your compass." I yelled back, "What compass?" This instantly sobered up several of my passengers. The old salt (he might have been 24) came to the back of the boat and showed me this box-like thing. When we raised the lid on the box we saw this lighted compass which had been there all the time but with its lid closed. Okay, we have a compass but you have to know where you are, to figure your heading to get you where you want to go. As we were idling along on some heading, I heard (I could still hear in those days) what sounded like surf crashing. Before I had time to get even more scared, we broke out of the fog bank and found that we were just entering the ship channel through the Los Angeles Harbor breakwater, and were in fact on a heading for open sea. The sound was waves crashing on the end of the breakwater about 50 yards off to our right.

    Fortunately, between the Boy Scouts, some high school pre-induction courses and boot camp, I realized the general direction to Terminal Island was northwest. So we turned hard left away from the end of the breakwater and came around to a northwest heading. We stayed on that heading at very low speed through some more thick fog. Fortunately we broke out of the fog in time to correct our heading only slightly for the Prison docks. (I'm sure this was the day the little angel who always rides on my shoulder arrived.)

    The next day and for several thereafter, I watched that compass like a hawk memorizing every leg of the trip between San Pedro and Long Beach. When I finally got comfortable enough to look around, I looked up one trip to see USS BANGUST in bold letters across the stern of a ship in San Pedro. I reported it to my MAA and two days later was unlashing my hammock on the mighty "B", where I slept until we offloaded the last of the yard workmen who rode with us from San Pedro, through San Francisco to Pearl Harbor.



    The following is a post-war Bangust adventure written by Charles G. Vonderau December 9, 1980


    MEXICAN CAMPAIGN - 1945

    Mexican Campaign
    "Special" Campaign Ribbon


    You say, "Never heard of it." That's entirely possible, for the entire operation took place during a 48-hour period of time. The USS Bangust DE739, the only Destroyer Escort to participate, the only Navy ship of any type to qualify for the "special" campaign ribbon.

    Having just returned from Pacific War duty against the Japanese, she and her crew did their bit and were now headed for the Philadelphia Navy Yard via the Panama Canal with eventual assignment to "reserve" status at Green Cove Springs, Florida.

    From November 1943, the "Mighty B" had served as flagship of Escort Division 32. Commander of the Division was on board the flagship with an occasional transfer to another ship in the division, but only on rare occasions.

    So when all six DE's of CortDiv 32 left Long Beach, California Navy Yard on November 6, 1945, it was a strange feeling to have the Division Commander on board the WATERMAN DE740. Underway and strung out in a line following the WATERMAN were the WEAVER DE741, HILBERT DE742, LAMONS DE743, KYNE DE744 and bringing up the rear, BANGUST DE739.

    All the ships had left many of their veteran Pacific campaign sailors behind at Long Beach, the men were eligible for immediate discharge from the Navy and were on their way home. Not one realized until perhaps now that they had missed out on additional history the Mighty B was about to make.

    The first day was uneventful, all hands relaxing after a tiring two weeks of liberty in Long Beach. The Division party at the Lakewood Country Club was enough to wear any navy man down. Nothing but cool drinks, professional entertainment and local girls to dance and frolic with. I never thought we'd live through it.

    Early in the evening of the second day, the lead ship picked up something on radar. It was still light enough to see with the naked eye there was the old cruiser DETROIT on her way to the East Coast. Many DE's spent a great deal of time with her as flagship of Task Group 30.8. Her days were numbered; she was an old ship when the war broke out; now was on her way to the scrap yard.

    Later that night another "bogie" appeared on radar. It seemed to be a ship, but without movement, dead in the water. Instead of sending one of the younger "pups" in the division to investigate, the Command sent BANGUST; she was last in line and thus first to go. We charged over to where the target was located, meanwhile our five sister ships sailed on to Panama, not knowing that they would not see the Mighty B for a few days.

    A searchlight streaked out across the water. Forgetting for a moment that the war was over, we expected to see an "enemy" submarine perhaps desperately trying to make it home. But we realized quickly that the war had been over for three months so it couldn't possibly be a sub since all German and Japanese submarines had been accounted for.

    The light showed a ship of some sort, very low to the water and while the waves were small indeed, they were almost washing over the deck. At first it appeared that there was no one aboard. As soon as they were in our light, out they came, ready for anything. The Mighty B. circled once, then again while our ship's Captain reviewed the situation. Having determined that there was no immediate crisis, we waited until daybreak to give us a better understanding and position in the matter.

    At dawn, there she was "lo and behold" a ship flying the Mexican flag. No number appeared on the bow and no name on her stern, thus we had no way to immediately identify her. The next best thing to do was get close enough for visual and voice contact.

    The Executive Officer shouted through the bullhorn, "What ship are you and what is your problem?" No immediate response came over the water between the ships. Again the message was repeated, but no reply. Although we could see the men on deck, they were making no effort to communicate. We realized that no one on board understood English, accounting for the silence. A hurried conference aboard the BANGUST confirmed the fact that the only Spanish-speaking sailor from the Mighty B. was one of those left behind. We were unable to communicate at all.

    Officers were consulted with the final decision made by the Captain. The ship had no power, was dead in the water and needed our help. Gear was available to make a tow.

    Our position was checked, determined to be about 50 miles off the coast of Baja California, or Lower California as we know it. A map was located showing the nearest port, the Mexican Naval Base at Magdalena Bay. Further information brought out the fact, the place was listed as a coaling station for many years, about all we could determine. Good enough for us, we wanted to get these Mexican sailors home safe and sound with their ship and cargo intact.

    A wire line was passed over to the ship after the Mighty B maneuvered into position. In no time at all we were ready. Slowly the BANGUST moved forward and while she advanced the trailing ship never moved, for the line had snapped; we backed down; this time the wire doubled up with the same results. She must be hauling something awfully heavy. Was it gold or some other precious cargo? Why was straw spread over the decks? A closer observation gave us the answer. Chickens and goats were on deck. Many DE's carried dogs, monkeys and other mascots, why not a few goats and chickens? Our main concern was to get underway as soon as possible; we did after doubling up the largest manila line on board. On our way at last doing all of two knots, but a least we were moving.

    Towing the entire day, all through the night, and on the morning of the second day, found ourselves at the entrance to Magdalena Bay. Our Mexican friends were shouting and waving, but we could not understand; we just shouted and waved back to encourage them.

    Navy regulations were consulted, it was determined that to enter a foreign port, all ships personnel should be in proper uniform. The entire crew was required to put on their best whites and be ready at their muster stations. This was done as quickly as possible, standing at ease upon arrival at channel entrance.

    From the blue Pacific water we entered the green water of the bay with hundreds of turtles swimming about. The entire crew ready for any rank of the Mexican Navy that wished to come aboard. The further we advanced into the Bay, we could not help but notice that it was not the usual base at all. In fact, not a single naval ship of any type could be seen.

    On orders from the bridge, our signalman started flashing recognition efforts to the shoreline fast approaching. No signal was returned. We could have lowered our whaleboat and investigated, but it was decided that this was not necessary. Through the binoculars, the shore was scanned. Nothing resembling navy barracks, warehouses or such existed. All we could see was a few locals sitting up against a tree or some type of building, hat pulled down over their eyes, apparently fast asleep, taking a siesta.

    That was enough for us. Immediately the Mighty B was disengaged from the towline. The men on the disabled craft dropped their anchor. We realized now, they earlier had shouted and waved trying to tell us that this was not the place they wanted to go. How were we to know with no communication possible.

    The BANGUST swung around and headed for the opening back into the Pacific. We were anxious to retrace our steps so full speed was called for. The ship started to move quickly; the bow slicing through the calm water as well as turtles all around us.

    What seemed to be an eternity to get in, took only a few minutes to get back out. We didn't bother looking back to see what developed, frankly we cared less.

    Steaming up to the Canal, we rejoined our sister ships. They had time for liberty while we were doing "extra duty", arriving just in time to begin the transition from the Pacific into the Atlantic. Never did find out if they knew where we had been or what had been accomplished. To this day, I've wondered what happened to our Mexican ship and what did they have on board as cargo? Probably fish.

    Oh yes, the "special" campaign ribbon. It was a simple black and white checkerboard affair with a sleeping peasant under a tree. All members of the crew were awarded the ribbon, so if you ever see one, you'll know there goes a sailor who served on board the Mighty B that eventful day.



    The following was received on March 23, 2000 written by Kenneth R. Mintz.


    I regret to announce the death of my Father, Kenneth Moore Mintz, on 6 March, 2000. Motor Machinist's Mate First Class Kenneth M. Mintz served on board the Bangust against the Japanese during WWII. He was proud of his time on this vessel and though he like many of his time and experience talked little of what he had seen and felt, when he could be coaxed he most often spoke of his time on the Bangust.

    For instance, the time when he was tasked along with others to recover cork from the hull of the sunken Japanese submarine using a steel bucket tied to a rope. The bucket was flung into the water in hopes of scooping up some of the cork fragments but it would sink before this could be done. In frustration Dad said that he decided dive in and get the cork by hand. An officer, the Captain as I recall, ordered him to stop. Just then one of the bridge officers hat blew overboard and hit the water once, twice and a shark hit the hat. They had been feeding on the sub crew below. The choppy surface had prevented anyone from seeing them but the officer knew they were there. As a child this was one of my favorite stories from the Bangust. Dad said that his life was saved that day by the Captain.

    My brother, John Mark Mintz, and I, Kenneth Randall Mintz, along with our sister and Mother, Mabel K. Mintz interred his remains at the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery just outside Fayetteville, N.C. where he was born and grew up on the very day of what would have been his 78th birthday on 10 March, 2000, with a small Naval ceremony.

    I would like to hear more of what transpired on the Bangust during this time from anyone who would like to tell me about it. Dad served in the Navy from 27 Jan. 1941 to 6 Nov. 1945 starting in the Atlantic convoys against the Germans on the USS Tourmaline PY20.

    If I or my brother can be of any assistance to the Bangust crew please contact me: Kenneth R. Mintz, 501 Engel Ave., Henderson, NV 89015. phone: 702 567-1938 email kmintz@worldnet.att.net



    The Mystery Of The Missing Peaches
    (submitted November 2000)
    By: Robert R. Lee

    When I went aboard the Bangust, I was a young seventeen year old sailor. The following is a story I remember fondly:

    One day at sea, the P.A. system clicked on..."All hands turn topside to take on stores." Naturally, I went to do my part. After the stores were unloaded aboard, I was on my way back to my work station, which was the laundry, when I heard the P.A. system click on once AGAIN! "ALL hands...UNLOCK your lockers." I unlocked my locker and upon arriving at the laundry, Dick Davis instructed me to look and see where the Captain and Boats were. At that time, they were in the compartment where I slept, getting ready to come into the engineers compartment. We used steam to heat our water. Dick quickly opened the steam valve WIDE OPEN! The Captain and Boats came in and as you can imagine...it was unbelieveably HOT in there. Due to the heat, Davis and I worked in our shorts and shower clogs all the time. A Fifty-five gallon barrell full of soap powder was close by. Boats proceeded to run his arm down into the barrell of soap powder, right up to his armpit, hoping to locate those missing peaches. The washing machine was still running and Davis looked at Boats and said, "Boats, do you want to look in the washing machine?" And Boats replied, "ANYBODY has got more damned sense than to put PEACHES into a washing machine!!!" Not finding the peaches in the barrell of soap, the Captain and Boats continued on their way in search for the missing peaches. After they left, Davis turned the steam off and yelled to me, "Bob...open the chemical warfare hatch!" He stopped the washing machine and began retrieving gallon sized cans of peaches...in heavy syrup, no less!!! Later that night, we opened up those peaches over in the carpenters and ship fitters shop. Tommy Thompson took some 3/8's inch dowel pins and made spears for eating our peaches, in that HEAVY syrup, straight out of the can! We had quite a party...Davis, Thompson, Fiddler, a torpedoman, a pharmacists mate, and myself. We sure were enjoying those peaches when all of a sudden, the hatch flew open! Lo, and behold, who should be standing there but an Ensign. Fiddler announced in a booming voice, "COME IN, SIR!" He then handed the young Ensign a peach on one of the spears! "Go ahead, Sir, have a bite....and then you can't tell on us!" Then young Ensign smiled and asked if there was enough for his Buddy. We replied, "...by all means!"

    Those peaches sure were GOOD...for the short time they lasted!

    Robert R. Lee


    NAVY WORKING PARTY

    H. E. "Hank" Davis
    December 2000

    A Navy Working Party is like an Ad Hoc committee but, without a vote. There is a specific job to be done, in addition to routine duties, and people are assigned to a working party to complete that special job. A working party may consist of any number of people all of whom will normally work under the direction of a petty officer.

    And so it was, one morning in early February 1944, that the U S S Bangust DE739, anchored in Tarawa Lagoon, furnished a working party consisting of ten or twelve sailors to help expedite the unloading of stores to Betio Island. The invasion was over and the island was secure but the Japanese still had many powerful ships and planes within easy striking distance. Japanese reconnaissance flights were routine as were occasional bomb drops. Smoky fires were still burning on the island. Wreckage and debris was everywhere on the island. Cleanup crews still had much work to do. The need to rapidly stock and supply the island against a possible counterattack was obvious even to us lowly sailors in the working party.

    The ship's 26 foot motor whaleboat deposited the working party on a finger pier extending out from "Red Beach" into the lagoon on the the north side of Betio Island. LCT size landing craft were being used to "lighter" stores from deep draft supply ships through the shallow water of Tarawa lagoon to the pier where they were manhandled by working parties. Those who know the battle for Tarawa will recall that the unexpected neap tide and a shallow reef offshore made the amphibious landing by the U S Marines extremely difficult with very high casualties. That same reef prevented deep draft supply ships from unloading directly to the pier.

    Unloading went well despite the heat because we improvised by falling overboard with some regularity. This allowed a quick cool down followed by the evaporative cooling as our clothing dried. When it became unbearable again we clumsily fell back into the lagoon. (Tarawa is only about 50 miles north of the Equator) During one of the unauthorized "swim calls" a Bangust sailor noticed several hundred apparently sealed unlabeled bottles lying on the sand bottom of the lagoon. Probably no deeper than 10 or 15 feet. After ascertaining that the bottles were not booby trapped one was brought to the surface and opened. Wow! - Beer! Offloading the LCTs continued at a rapid pace. Now we were also onloading beer into the Bangust motor whaleboat which managed to make a trip or two back to the ship where the beer was safely stored in a reefer until later that night. We had a beer party aboard the Bangust that night knowing that our beer resupply was safe on the bottom of the lagoon and we were scheduled to help unload more LCTs at the finger pier tomorrow. We had no end of people volunteering for that working party.

    When we arrived at the finger pier next morning we found a loaded LCT waiting to be unloaded at exactly the same place but - Surprise! - not one bottle of beer on the bottom of the lagoon. Needless to say, unloading that day was not nearly as pleasant as the day before. We soon learned from one of the Beachmasters (unloading logistics officers) that the natives had worked late the previous night unloading another LCT after the Bangust working party returned to the ship.

    The explanation - The Japanese had removed all natives from Betio Island to other islands around Tarawa Atoll when they first occupied Betio Island . Natives were brought to Betio only as forced labor and carefully supervised during the day being returned to the other islands at nightfall. They had little or no knowledge of beer or the fact the Japanese had beer on the island After we invaded some U. S. do-gooder decided to improve the local economy by hiring natives to help unload supplies. They were paid to work - not forced to work as before. They were working alongside us unloading the LCT on the day we found the beer. They saw a few sailors drinking from the bottles as we unloaded the LCT and obviously decided the stuff in the bottles was something drinkable. It had to be better than their own rotgut which was made by fermenting cocoanut milk and saliva. After we returned to the Bangust at the end of the work day the natives simply picked up the remainder of the bottles for themselves.

    Damn do-gooders! Actually, its probably just as well that the natives got the remaining bottles. We got away with the first beer party aboard but by the second day too many enlisted men knew about the first party and a second party would surely have not gone unnoticed.

    Postwar update: Tarawa has been renamed Kiribati, and is a principal source of much of the tuna in your tuna sandwiches.

    This part of the story comes much later; ca 1975. The unlabeled bottles found on the lagoon floor had a very distinctive shape. Probably as distinctive as the Coca Cola bottle. Obviously the labels soaked off the bottles from being in the water. We did not know it was Kirin at the time (who cared - it was free beer) but one need only compare the neck of a Kirin bottle with any other beer bottle to see how easy it is to identify. My wife finally convinced me to try Sushi sometime around 1975. When my Sushi order was delivered to the table I ordered a "beer" to go with it. When asked what kind I said I don't know - "just some kind of Japanese beer". When the beer was delivered to the table the hair on the back of my neck stood straight out. I had not seen that bottle for more than 30 years. The neck on that beer bottle was the same as the ones in the lagoon and I learned for the first time that the beer at the Bangust beer party was "Kirin".

    Kiren Beer Bottles

    Circa 1944 (facsimile) and December 2000



    Bangust Boarding Party
    As recalled by William "Bill" Earley in late 2000
    Authenticated from original Bangust Deck Logs.

    On Thursday 09 March 1944, while at anchor in Tarawa Lagoon, the U. S. S. Bangust received a dispatch request from the Executive Officer of a YO and verbal orders from CTU 57.1.1 to form a boarding party and investigate a possible mutiny or rebellion on that YO which was also anchored in Tarawa Lagoon . The order was to investigate and, if necessary, take command and control of the YO.

    As DE is the Navy designation for Destroyer Escort, YO is the navy designation for Yard Oiler. YO's are essentially floating fuel tanks often referred to as fuel barges. They are towed to a harbor or port (yard) where they are anchored and remain as long as necessary to service fleet units requiring fuel. The YO, itself, may be resupplied with fuel from seagoing Fleet Oilers or commercial tankers. Thus, once anchored, they generally do not move on until the war does. This YO(G) carried a primary supply of High Octane Aviation Gasoline used to fuel PT Boats. The (G) suffix indicates Gasoline. It also carried a secondary supply of Diesel fuel. It was a barge, a cement concrete hull with no propulsion machinery. Power for pumps, lights, winches, ground tackle and reefers was provided by engine-generator sets which were essentially the only engines aboard. The crew of 15 handled lines and hoses from customer ships but otherwise had little to do.

    In compliance with the order, Lieutenant Commander C. F. MacNish, Captain of the U. S. S. Bangust, departed Bangust at 1235 09 March 1944 in the ship's 26 foot motor whaleboat with a heavily armed boarding party consisting of 6 or 8 of Bangust's most experienced sailors. Arriving a few minutes later at the YO(G) they boarded unopposed, secured the quarterdeck, and mustered the crew on deck with the exception of the Commanding Officer who had barricaded himself in his quarters. The fifteen man crew was held on deck and individually questioned regarding problems on board.

    This revealed that two miscreants were responsible for the ongoing trouble. A Chief Boatswains Mate who served as Commanding Officer of the YO(G) and a Seaman 1/c. Furthering questioning determined that in addition to an extreme dislike for each other, both always carried sidearms and both were seriously heavy boozers with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of liquor. Not a healthy situation!

    The Seaman 1/c was immediately disarmed and placed in irons by the boarding party. The Chief was ordered out of his quarters , disarmed, and also placed in irons. Both were delivered, in irons, to custody of the Tarawa Port Captain. A Boatswains Mate 1/c from the 15 man crew was designated acting Commanding Officer of the YO(G) and the Boarding Party returned to Bangust and disbanded. A good afternoons work, well and safely handled, by the Captain and crew of the Bangust.

    Most of the information for this brief story was provided by Bangust crewman William Earley who was selected by the Captain to be signalman on the Boarding Party. Bill believes he was selected because he had transferred from the YO(G) to the Bangust just 12 days before the boarding. He knew the YO(G) crew well, and could provide valuable knowledge about them and the YO(G) to the Boarding Party.

    It had left San Pedro, California fully laden in late 1943 being towed directly to Funafuti, in the Ellice Islands* by a commercial Standard Oil Company Tanker. The YO(G) was anchored in Funafuti and remained there for a period of time during which they observed some of the rehearsal for the imminent amphibious invasion of Tarawa.

    Shortly after the invasion of Tarawa the YO(G) was towed from Funafuti to Tarawa, a distance of about 800 miles, where it provided fuel for various post invasion needs.

    * The Ellis Islands became the Nation of Tuvalu (a Constitutional Monarchy) in 1978.

    CTU is Navy for Commander Task Unit.

    Bill Earley is Bangust for the great trumpet player in the ship's band.


    May 2001 H. E. Davis


    COFFEE POT HISTORY
    John E. Bye

    I was assigned to the U.S.S. Bangust in the year 1943. In February of 1944, 1 found myself in the South Pacific escorting all classes of navy ships over the entire Pacific.

    The one thing we all had in common was that we all loved coffee. Standing the 8:00 to 12:00 watch, or the 12:00 to 4:00, was hell without a good cup of coffee. We could not go to the mess deck for coffee! I then thought it would be great to have coffee right on our watch!

    Being a Torpedo Man, my watch was on the 01 deck where the torpedo tubes were located. The 40mm was there also. I looked at the 40mm gun director forward of the gun and that's when the idea came to me. I had found my spot for the coffee pot!

    My next door neighbor and pal from Quincy, Ma. was aboard the U.S.S. Caliente AO53. I received permission to visit him and the whaleboat took me to his ship. His ship carried 5" guns so I asked if I could have two aluminum powder cases. Permission was granted and I took them aboard our ship.

    It took me a week or more to make the pot. All the figuring, the hammering and then stealing the handle from a swab. I got a brown medicine bottle from the pharmacist so the coffee could perk. I found an element somewhere and a square five gallon can. I cut the can in half, turned it upside down, cut a round hole in the bottom the size of the element, attached a four inch collar to the bottom and installed the element. An Electrician 1/C wired it for me. I then secured the bottom of the can to withstand heavy seas. I filled the pot with water and coffee and turned it on. From that day on we had coffee while we stood watch. The Captain said it was the best coffee aboard the ship. I'll always be thankful to the shipmates who helped me with this project.

    This coffee pot made it through two typhoons: Dec 18, 1944, and one in February of 1945. I revere this coffee pot for the many hours of camaraderie and good coffee while on watch which has left me with many great memories.

    This coffee pot retired with me to Quincy, Ma., in 1946. Since then, this coffee pot has been a conversational piece at the reunions I have attended. At our St. Petersburg reunions, coffee was once again served from this historical pot. It now has a permanent home in St. Petersburg, Florida. where I now reside.

    John E. Bye
    Torpedoman 1/C
    USS Bangust DE 739


    From Harold Lapham, April 2003

    Dear Don,

    I am sending you some information about two photographs that I am sending to you via the "U S Mule". One of them was taken when our company was near graduation at Boot Camp, which, incidentally was Company152-43, Regiment 4, Battalion 14 at U.S. Naval Training Center, Farragut Idaho. I remember riding the Southern Pacific railroad train from Oakland to Portland, Oregon with a two hour layover in Portland. The second part of the trip was from Portland on the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad, up the north shore of the Columbia River Canyon to Pasco Washington, where they changed locomotives and serviced the train. It was late at night when we pulled into Spokane. Then, not too much later we reached a railroad depot called ATHOL, which caused a number of comments from any one who was still awake. About a half hour later we pulled into Farragut (about 2 AM. They rousted us out of the cars and I remember slipping on the snow and ice and falling on my butt. Some one yelled welcome to Boot Camp. They took us in big trailers, called cattle cars, pulled by tractors to a two story barracks building and handed us each a new wool blanket. Told everyone to get a good nights sleep because 5:30 would be around pretty fast.

    There was something familiar about the barracks and the next day when I checked my address book I realized it was the address of my West Berkeley buddy Albert Costa who had signed up at the same time as I but had been called before me. He was on his way to Kansas to go to Refrigeration School.

    The other photograph was taken on the steps of another pal I had first met when we moved to San Anselmo in Marin County. Dick Galleher had come up to San Anselmo from Redwood City and we hit it off pretty well. He, Al Costa and myself decided we would join the Navy together, naturally thinking that the Navy would never split us up and that we would go on through the war and be hero's together. Ha! Ha! Any how, When the Bangust arrived in San Francisco Bay and moored at Treasure Island in January of 1944, I got to go home for a 72 hour Pass. Dick’s mother took this picture and sent me a copy. I think we got it when the ship was in Tarawa. Albert Costa, after the navy, eventually moved here to Forestville in Sonoma County and we still get together a lot.

    Use either one or both if you wish.

    Best regards to both of you and I hope to see you one of these days.




    OBITUARIES
    The Register-Guard. The Register - Guard. Eugene, OR. Apr 6, 2005.

    William Fairlee

    ALVADORE - William Morgan Fairlee, longtime resident of Alvadore, died March 31 of age-related causes. He was 81.

    Fairlee was born July 7, 1923, in Schenectady, N.Y., to William and Ethel Morgan Fairlee. He married C. Gailey Langdon on Aug. 28, 1966, in Portland.

    He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He worked as a police officer in New York and California. He was postmaster in Alvadore and owned the Alvadore Store.

    He enjoyed the outdoors and spending time with his family.

    Survivors include his wife; two sons, Jeff of Bellfountain and Les Taylor of West Linn; three daughters, Patrica Fairlee of Santa Barbara, Calif., Lora Tucci of Eugene and Marie Coxen of Silverton; his sister, Mary Blume of Woodland, Calif.; 13 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. His first wife, Eleanor, died Jan. 22, 1964.

    A private family memorial service is planned. Murphy-Musgrove Funeral Home in Junction City is in charge of arrangements.

    Memorial contributions may be made to the Greenhill Humane Society.




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