George Fortune volunteered for service in the United States Navy, signing up in February 1942, on leaving college at the age of twenty 22. He attended Midshipman School at Furnald Hall, Columbia University, New York City, for 3 months and 2 weeks trial and training. Furnald Hall was one of 3 halls at the University used by the US Navy.

"After our 6 weeks exams we took all day cruises out in the ocean learning aboard ship,
computing range and deflection on a big 16# inch gun?"

“We marched a lot and I couldn’t stop laughing once while marching and had to spend three hours doing drills with a rifle” On a Saturday we marched to the Columbia-Marine game and next week went to the Princeton-Navy Game. We performed at half time… all of us supposedly to do an about face and only half of us did it!! It was complete chaos and we were totally embarrassed by the laughter of the crowd”.

"We attended church every Sunday and students got to stay weekends with people on invitation. People would invite the guys to their homes, have tea dances, arrange excursions, and take us places."

"1943-through 45 I was befriended by Joe Bond who lived outside of New York City and loved the Navy!! We drove in Joe's Cadillac near Valley Forge near Philadelphia, and went to Hotel Marlborough, Blenheim, Atlantic City, N. J."

Three "cousins" of navy-marine background at Florence's (Joe’s sister) at farm near Lataska, Pennsylvania.


George graduated in the top 15% out of a thousand students and was allowed to choose his posting to Section Base on Treasure Island which was close by the world famous San Francisco bridge and to his home in Menlo Park, CA.

For 6 months he learned ship handling including 3 months at sea on Errol Flynn's sailboat "Zaca"….700 miles off shore. The new ensigns aboard did everything the crew did including ship handling and climbing up the rigging to the top.!


1943 Miami
With sea skills behind him he was posted to Miami on a very hot July 4th, and where en route he was taken to a hospital in Chicago for a fever check-up. (Mumps)

"By July 5 1943 I found himself in Miami at the Subchaser Training Center, and after 3 month's practice in radio work and ship handling I reported to the Gunfire Support Craft Group in Boston, Maine, for training in the use of various guns."

"During Thanksgiving week of 1943 (late November) we sailed to Scotland on the Queen Elizabeth. Because of her high cruising speed of around 33 mph (53kph) she traveled alone usually carrying 20,000 soldiers and sailors. We were able to travel all over the ship especially the con and engine room and visit with the Captain!! The US Naval officers, including me, stood watch at night to guard against any stray light….(blackout). The food was great and we ate in the high class dining room! However lots of men couldn't get their "sea-legs" and got sick below deck!!”


On arrival in Scotland in 1943 he was stationed at the Roseneath Castle on the Firth of Clyde near Glasgow. Roseneath was commissioned on 4/15/42 and named HMS Louisburg. However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor and direct American involvement in the war, plans for the base were changed. It was paid off on 3/8/42 by the RN and handed over to US control as an amphibious training centre. It was used during preparations for the landings in French North Africa in November 1942. By 1943, following the success of the North Africa landings, Roseneath returned once more to British control as HMS Roseneath. However, sections of the base were retained by the US Navy for a 'Seabee' maintenance force and berthing/supply facilities for the depot ship USS Beaver and the boats of US Navy Submarine Squadron 50.

“At Roseneath Castle in Scotland we lived in Quonset huts, each hut holding 20 to 24 men. The officers were in one and the crews were in others. We slept on cots with blankets and sheets. We were comfortable and clean, not too noisy, though somewhat damp. We had curfew hours and ate in a mess hall on the grounds, officers and crew were separated”.

Ship Commander in charge of George's training.

"Our food at the base was very basic and very English, with only cabbage, potatoes, and brussel sprouts for vegetables, mutton for meat, no milk except canned, and dessert rarely. Pretty grim! It was so sparse and military there, even the toilet paper had " government issue" stamped on each sheet!"

The crew pretty much stayed on base, while the officers with permission, could go out sight seeing, sometimes taking a crew member with them.
“To help break the monotony at times, I resorted to taking a couple of my crew in a borrowed LCVP (a small boat with a ramp at the bow which carried a vehicle or personnel) to cruise around the river Clyde."

George recalls taking "small boat trips from our base at Roseneath Castle to our big ships bumming anything that we could beg, borrow or beg louder for. The best was an ice cream maker that we later used to great effect in the heat of North Africa at Bizerte! We let other rocket craft use our freezer if they gave us some ice cream in return. It was in use constantly! I still have a table cloth that was given to me by a US tanker crew in Scotland."

The LCTR 439 and D Day

While waiting for the delivery of 12 new LCT(R)s George remembers "With Elmer's (my captain’s ) permission and the cooperation of the rest of the captains, I organized a training program for the deck crews of all 12 ships. Subjects included ship and line handling procedures for leaving and entering port, docking, the Command structure, daily watches, helmsman duties, signals and general seamanship. The specialized nature of the work of the Engine room personnel excluded them from the training. All available officers helped with the training which was undertaken in a positive atmosphere and good spirits. Everyone learned a lot and we all had a good time."

~ Preparations for D-Day ~
The waiting was over when in March of 1944 the skipper, Elmer Mahlin, George and the crew picked up British rocket ship LCT(R) 439 at Troon in the River Clyde estuary on the west coast of southern Scotland. Although not known at the time there was only to be around 10 weeks to prepare the craft and crew for the D Day landings on June 6th 1944. The 500 mile journey to the south coast of England provided an excellent opportunity to break in the new 18 man crew. No problems were experienced with the craft.

“We lived on board while berthed at Roseneath Castle, we regarded our ship as a work place (duty) and our home, which we were very proud of.

Aboard the LCTR the officers slept in bunks above the engine room and mess room and the crew slept in hammocks foreward of the mess room. A cook served substantial, healthy food aboard the ship, much the same as on land.

George also attended the Radar School at Hayling Island in Southern England for a week to learn the British Blind bombing techniques and stayed overnight in London and twice experienced the German bombing of the city.

Elmer Mahlin was a competent man, very well liked by the crew. At Roseneath the oldest men in time and service each took their ships to the River Dart, Southern England. Elmer took command of the remaining 6 ships left at until it was our turn to leave.”

We broke in the new 18 man crew and had not trouble at all on the trip south. We stayed at the Isle of Mann one night".

The Commanding officer of the LCTR 439 was Lieutenant (jg) Elmer H.Mahlin with ensign George F. Fortune second in command.

Elmer Mahlin the skipper is pictured at left.

"By spring of 1944 we were berthed about a mile in on the River Dart, with the commanding officers quarters and offices in the Agatha Christie home above us. We were only a mile from Dartmouth and the home of the British Naval Base. One day after maneuvers and practicing, at low tide we went aground on a inlet connected to the sand bar that Tennyson wrote about in his poem “Crossing the bar” (from Southhampton to the Isle of Wight) and damaged the screws. We notified our base and they sent replacement screws and our men put them back on. We sure had some wild times."

Not all the preparations for the invasion passed without incident as George explains, "The PC (Personnel Carrier) I hit in the fog on our way back to the river Dart back from loading 2896 x 5 inch by 4 feet rockets in Portsmouth, had a new officer whose ship was to have been stationed at the off the Utah beach at Normandy on D Day. He had the watch leading our convoy of about 10 or 12 small craft like us, where we were last in line, and he got in our line. All of a sudden he showed up right out of the fog. The fog was very thick and one of our crew was manning the sound powered telephone on the bow to give us some extra warning of approaching craft. On sight of the PC he instinctively jumped down an open hatch (and broke his leg) . I was on the con and I hollered at him to 'get the hell out of there!' just before we hit. I still remember the crew trying to get the life rafts into the water because they thought we were sinking. The skipper and I hollered at them to get back to their stations. Our bow being horizontal cut through the PC's bow like knife through soft butter. Our bow came to a halt at their 3" 50 gun having cut through their chain locker on the way.

Our bow door broke loose and hung down. Two or three of our crew dived down to run a line through the eye bolt at the end of the door to crank it up! However, it proved to be too cold to work effectively so we proceeded slowly back to Dartmouth alone for repairs. My radar training at Hayling Island in Southern England using the English Blind Bombing technique, certainly helped to bring us safely back to the river Dart in near zero visibility. The fog was a blessing because it protected us from U boat patrols!

When we arrived in the Dart River a Free French tug met us. Despite the comedy of them yelling to us in French, and us yelling back in English we made it through. Good old Elmer Mahlin, our skipper, had brought us safely to anchor.......he got us everywhere we were supposed to go and we did our job!"

"The new PC that replaced the one I hit at the Normandy invasion at Utah Beach, hit a mine and turned turtle. Some of their crew were sitting on the bottom side floating and waving at us. When we got back to our base on the river Dart, we got a message from the PC that I hit thanking us for making a mess out of their bow and chain locker and saving their lives....that they were not supposed to have hit us!"

Crew of LCT(R) 439.
Officers 2nd row right George Fortune with left arm on hip and Elmer Mahlin].

The day before D Day

“Boy what a nightmare that was trying to follow the ship ahead. The helmsman was not able to see the ship ahead to steer on because of the tall blast shield - it was up to the officer on the con to tell the helmsman what course to follow”.

"There were high seas and storm the day before the invasion, so we had to come back. We were finally able to tie up to a buoy somewhere off southern England."

June 6, 1944 D Day
as written to his family...
"On D-Day, I watched planes fall from the sky like exploding fireworks, ships around me turned turtle, blown up by torpedoes, and wave after wave of Allied planes flying over and bombing at the Utah beach landing."

photo on way to Normany

As executive officer George pulled the firing levers on the 439s first salvo of 1448 rockets which took about 3 minutes. They roared over the heads of the troops in the small landing craft en route to the beaches. The rockets landed on the beaches to ensure the German troops were eliminated when the Allied troops arrived shortly afterwards, on time and on target. The crew wore their anti-gas outfits and life jackets for a week without taking them off! They found out later that they hit their target and on time!!

“There was some drama on board our 439 as Elmer couldn't get into the little cabin they built for the skippers to protect them from the rocket flames. He got his head and front of his body in but his life jacket and gas protecting clothing that we all had to wear was too bulky for him to close the door. Unfortunately his backside clothing was burnt and scorched. As soon as I fired Elmer said 'Left Full Rudder' and we ran into an LCT, midship, which we just dented, so we backed off and went and anchored. Then a British LCT came drifting by with the incoming tide, sheared off our anchor cables and set us adrift without anchors. Fortunately we had the damaged screws which has been replaced and which were still on board (after running aground at the "Crossing the Bar") and we used these as anchors. Within hours we were hit again and the damaged screws which were acting as anchors were cut off again. We hooked up bow to bow (about 10-20 feet apart) with another LCTR and stayed there until it was time to leave."

After the initial salvo , the 439 reloaded and remained in the area of the beaches ready for further action for 7 days. During this time enemy planes came over at dusk to bomb our ships but the anti-aircraft gunners were too much for them... the first time gunnerseven fired at the Allied planes because they were so nervous!

“We went back to the River Dart and waited for new orders."

1944 Bizerte, S France

Bizerte, Algiers then Naples.
"" In June of 1944 after the invasion, 9 of our rocket ship flotilla went to Bizerte in Algiers, and then on to Naples, Italy. In July we were heading south to the Southern France invasion where we stopped a day and night in Naples for fuel and provisions. The entrance to the harbor was full of sunken ships which had been damaged by the Germans to keep the Allies from using them and that harbor. We managed to go around them safely! . We stopped at the edge of Africa after making the longest ocean trip for the LSTR’s, We delayed for 2 days then on to Algeria. We were there for about 2 weeks before going to Naples.

"We were off the coast of southern France between Marseilles and Monte Carlo, the beach area where all the rich and famous go. As we were approaching the coast, a wing of American heavy bombers passed over on their way to the initial bombardment and we watched in horror as one opened up his bombbay doors and let go a whole string of bombs. Boy, were we praying that they would miss us, and they did--WHEW !!!!!

The 9 LCTR's were lined up in a row ready to fire our rockets on the beach barricades when the navy sent in a small fleet of radio controlled LCVP's loaded with explosive to blow up the enemy underwater defensive obstacles such as hedgehogs. Those clever Germans intercepted our signals and turned them around and headed them back to the destroyers and cruiser sitting there looking so ominous looking! Our big ships could not depress their guns low enough to sink the small boats so some PCs came in and blew up the "hijacked" LCVPs.

We were ordered to turn and steer East and parallel the coast until we could reach an alternate landing area. . At this time the LCTR’’s suffered our only casualty in battle. Syers was a motormac and was under strict orders to stay below until the all clear was sounded. He was writing to his folks and no doubt felt compelled to go up on deck to see what was happening. The Germans started firing their dreaded 88s and bracketed us twice with the exploding shells throwing water spouts up on our deck. Elmer was on the con and I was checking the crews, radar, and signalmen. Someone hollered 'Man Down!' As medical officer, I examined Syers but he was dead. You can imagine how I felt about our young engineer!! We took him to a nearby hospital ship that was with the invasion fleet and said a prayer as we transferred him. Although a difficult and unwelcome task Elmer wrote a letter to Syers' parents. He was a good skipper, always did what was right! Those 88s were wicked and extremely accurate. It was a weird feeling watching those spouts of water leap up with each explosion, so near yet just far enough thanks be to GOD!!!!

"After the landings in southern France we anchored in the then safe surroundings of Ajaccio Bay. We swam there and visited Napoleon's home. Then we went back to Naples to the harbor at Bizerte in Tunisia."

"The USLCT(R) was our workplace and our home for 4-5 months since we lived on board at all times - even when berthed. We loved our ship and worked well together as a family. Our crew was exceptional. We had very few occasions of trouble with the crew, particularly at the times of action at Normandy and Southern France. They never got sick, never complained, and always did what we told them to do.”

“We loved our ship and worked well together as a family. We left the ship all at the same time in great anticipation of what was next."

“ Leaving her for the last time was an exciting experience but tinged with sadness since it was the start of a process that would see our "band of brothers" dispersed to the four winds.”

"We returned to New York in September aboard the Army troop ship General Meigs and ran into a terrible storm with over 50 foot waves. This didn't bother the men at all as the sailors were all crowded around gambling and having a good time."
On October 4th 1944 all the LCTRs were returned to the Royal Navy.

They were not sailed back to England as expected for transfer back to the Royal Navy instead they were transferred to the British base at Messina and all US Navy personnel repatriated.

More information on CombinedOps and Normandy invasion:

many thanks to the writing and editing of Geoff Slee in charge of the Com Ops

US NAVY LANDING CRAFT TANK (ROCKET) by Lt Commander Carr. His account concentrates on US Landing Craft Tank (Rocket) operations in Normandy and Southern France in the summer of 1944

National D-Day Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana
Article from: Sea Classics
Article date: January 1, 2000
Author: Panaggio, Leonard J

The National D-Day Museum is planning an opening this coming summer, according to Kenneth Hoffman, Director of Education. The museum, currently preparing exhibits and accepting World War II memorabilia, is located at 923 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130.

Of particular interest is the museum's acceptance of the logs and records of LCT(R) 439 from Stu Mahlin of Cincinnati, Ohio, whose father, Elmer Mahlin, commanded the vessel outfitted with rockets for close-in support of landing troops. Mahlin was firing his rockets off Utah Beach on D-Day at 0635.

The craft was decommissioned off Sicily on 1 October 1944, and Mahlin took all the craft's paperwork with him including every order he received during the way. This valuable material included the original log of LCT(R) 439, the US log starting 22 April 1944, when Mahlin accepted the craft from its British commander, along with the American officer's diary, orders, sea charts, snapshots and sea chest. Of particular interest is the American flag that flew from LCT(R) 439 on D-Day.

Also included in the collection are Mahlin's sidearm and records pertaining to his service as Commanding Officer of the Naval Reserve Training Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. What has been received comprises the most complete record of one sailor's service during World War II.

1944 Little Creek...LSMR 408

1944 after Normandy and southern France
George came home for 3 weeks after both invasions "It was good to see Mother and Dad and all the cousins and friends!"

George beside the plane he and Herb Petty flew in

“My cousin Herb took me for a spin in his plane, did all kinds of stunts, including a loop....wow!! It had no brakes so he just spun in 2 or 3 circles at the end of the landing field. What a thrilling end of the flight!!!"

1944 Little Creek, Virginia

In October of 1944, George was assigned to Commanding Officers Training at the Little Creek Amphibian training base that was about 20 miles from the Norfolk Naval Base Virginia. The officers and crews were assigned to quarters alongside the parade grounds. Every Saturday we marched 12 crews around the parade grounds with a big marching band and saluted the commanding officer as we passed by.

"Our day began with all officers and crews saying the Pledge of Allegiance, then off to our areas of duty. I was assigned my officers and crew. The 12 ship captains had their classes, and the rest of the officers to their specialties. The same for the crew. We took many side trips to learn about fire fighting, (actual ship fires), ship handling at sea and visits to the big naval base about 20 miles away.”

“We stayed in a dormitory for officers and we usually ate together. We developed a good comradery with all the other captains and crews. We visited the Naval Base at Norfolk and studied our lessons and saw movies. They had planned recreation for the crew and they had an officers club for us. My salary was $300 a month of which I sent home $100 to Mother and Dad. ”

Harry Rechtin, George and Bob Van Vleck who was the skipper of the LSMR 407

"In February 1945, I went to pick up my rocket ship in Charleston, SC. A new style, 202 feet long with 2000 horsepower, with twice the firepower of a battleship with the initial throw of over a hundred 5' rockets per minute. There were 20 rocket mounts, 2 twin 40s, and four twin 20s plus 2 defilade firing mortors. A 5” 38 cannon in a rotating steel unit enclosure for the gun crew, the loading crew were below. War is not fun and games!!”
“ My ship was put into commission in Feb 12, 1945 making trial runs in the Chesapeake for about a month until we passed all tests by a board of review. They were very stringent about response time to general quarters, fire drills, damage control, radio and visual signaling, ship and small boat handling, plus ships status for combat (firing guns and rockets). I sure learned a lot!!"

launching committee of the LSMR's 407 and 408 February 12, 1945


George F. Fortune Captain of LSMR 408 rocket ship USNR, making his speech at the launching ceremony.

John Anderson (Supply and Assistant Gunnery), Charles Ruth (Engineering),
William Reynolds (1st Lieutenant),
bottom row: O Clayton Hebert (Executive Officer), George Fortune (Commanding Officer),
Al Onofrio (Gunnery).
US Navy photo

“I had 133 men in my crew and 7 officers, Gunnery officer (Al Onofrio) was with George in his old rocket group at Normandy and Southern France as well as the chief bosun mate, plus the quarter master, Charles Ewald.”

Bob Findley, (not shown in group photo) was the 7th officer who came on board
3 months later. A very likable competent man, his dad was head of Safeway stores.

“We had 2 young black men on board who did our cooking and laundry. They also served our meals. My second in command Clayt Hebert assigned the daily jobs.”
“Before going to the San Diego base, 11 more ship’s captains and I had to prepare the officers and men with ship handling and every other duty aboard ship.”

"We went through the Panama Canal to San Diego two ships at a time, the LSMR 407 and 408. The LSMR 407 in the lead because her captain (Van Vleck) was senior officer in time and service. We did get to spend a day in Panama City at the Panama Canal Base for refilling the tanks, and taking on more food.”

“The following is one bit of excitement happened while going through the canal to San Diego. Every four hours we changed officers and helmsmen in directing the ships progress.”

While we were going through the Panama Canal I was relaxed and watching our ship travel, when I noticed the officer in command of the ship was talking with his replacement at changing time, also the 2 helmsmen, were chatting away. Our ship was heading for the shore!!!! I jumped up and hollered out ‘straighten the ships course or we will run aground’. They changed course immediately and sheepishly apologized. I have never seen 2 officers and helmsmen so embarrassed before or since.”

“Somewhere near the south of Mexico at noon mess one half of the rew got deathly ill from bad food. Not me thank goodness. Fortunately we had a man who gave all the sick men some kind of medicine that brought them all back to normal by the next day

officer section of big photo..
Reynolds, Ruth, Fortune, Anderson (behind Hebert's arm), Hebert, Onofrio
double click on photos to enlarge
then click again to see faces

LSMR 408 ( Landing Ship Medium (Rocket): Official Naval site for LSMR's

John Anderson had his own ship previous to being on the 408, and was very trustworthy.

William Reynolds wanted to be a pilot.

Chuck Ruth was an outstanding engineer
and did a first class job on our ship

Clayt Hebert had his own LCT at Normandy
and was a tremendous help in running our ship!!


1945 to San Diego

"We went through the Panama Canal to San Diego two ships at a time, the LSMR 407 and 408. The LSMR 407 in the lead because her captain (Van Vleck) was senior officer in time and service. We did get to spend a day in Panama City at the Panama Canal Base for refilling the tanks, and taking on more food.”

“The following is one bit of excitement happened while going through the canal to San Diego. Every four hours we changed officers and helmsmen in directing the ships progress.”

While we were going through the Panama Canal I was relaxed and watching our ship travel, when I noticed the officer in command of the ship was talking with his replacement at changing time, also the 2 helmsmen, were chatting away. Our ship was heading for the shore!!!! I jumped up and hollered out ‘straighten the ships course or we will run aground’. They changed course immediately and sheepishly apologized. I have never seen 2 officers and helmsmen so embarrassed before or since.”

“Somewhere near the south of Mexico at noon mess one half of the rew got deathly ill from bad food. Not me thank goodness. Fortunately we had a medic aboard who gave all the sick men some kind of medicine that brought them all back to normal by the next day.

“In San Diego we practiced a several weeks with the other 11 rocket ships and loaded rockets and ammunition at Seal Beach, below Long Beach. We stayed overnight at Long Beach and had trouble getting into the Long Beach harbor. This is where I met up on the beach with Frank Bumb, my old high school and college close friend and Dell’s sister, Elva, and their 2 little boys. We all had lunch at the beach, then I took them aboard where we had dinner. We were at San Diego for at least 2 months.”

“One day we were out on maneuvers and we stopped at one of the islands off San Diego for a picnic and swimming and pistol practice at targets on the beach for the crew. We spent the whole day there. The crew and officers loved it.”

1945 Hawaii
photo of Hank
“I met my cousin Hank Norberg who was stationed at the Army base in Hawaii, so I picked him up and took him to the ship for dinner and the evening. A wonderful feeling to see him. He was one of my best friends. He played football for Stanford and with the 49’ers!!”

George, ? and Daisy & Van Van Vleck. Captain LSMR 407,
and other officer of another LSMR
In Hilo, Hawaii
"I met an officer at a bar in Hilo Hawaii who was part of the group of Navy SB2C Dive bombers. (Helldivers) The officer asked me if I would like to go up with him and photograph 4 other planes, so the fliers would have pictures to send home, and I said sure. So on September 11, 1945 the 4 planes took off...I was flying with the SB2C pilot and taking the photos. After the photo session was over, the pilot asked me if I would like to take a dive, and of course I said yes. We went up about 8000 feet and began the overhead dive with me screaming all the way down!! Wow."

“Our commanding officer Captain Macklin wanted us to go to Hawaii. Two days before we were to leave, the A bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (Aug 1945). We were supposed to go to the Island of Enewetok and it was cancelled 1 hour before leaving.

We did go to Hawaii and we spent some time in Hilo on the big island of Hawaii, before leaving for Maui where we had a meeting of the Commander Macklin with the officers of our 12 ships.”

In order for him to become an Admiral he had to have been in action !!! I don’t know if he made it, I hope so….I never heard from him after the day I left the Navy.”

While going around the Hawaiian Islands we practiced passing oil, water, food, and personnel from ship to ship. We also had fire arms practice complete with an airplane flying over us dragging a target in the air for us to fire our 5” 38’s at it. We practiced firing rocket and cannon as well as smoke at the islands edge on the island of Kaholaui, close by, with no vegetation.

We stayed in Hawaii two weeks until we came home to San Diego harbor.

John "Andy" Anderson had his own ship during Normandy

Scott and Thompson

“We were ordered to return our rockets to Seattle, and in November all of the 12 ships were on the way at night. Another ship got in our line, the officer on our con called me and I rushed up and guided our ship out of harm’s way. We let out big sighs when it had passed.”

“When we arrived at Seattle and when ready, I told the anchoring crew to let go the anchor. They did and it didn’t stop!!! We lost the anchor completely, and I hollered for the anchoring crew to get out of the way of the end of the metal chains, which might have swept around and killed some of the crew!! We lowered a line with a heavy weight on the end for anchor, and then ordered a replacement anchor for the next day.”

‘Everyone had a chance to go ashore by rotation. All of our 12 ships wanted to stay there past the holiday, but the big navy ships wanted us out of there, because they didn’t want to share the limelight on this special day....Veterans day.”

“We were there at least 2 weeks but left before Veterans day, still all loaded with our rockets.”
Chuck Ruth ready for a storm

Al Onofrio
threw the longest pass in professional football
the month before his navy duty

Rich, SC 1st class (barber)

John Anderson, Charles Ruth and George

“We had an outstanding crew. Three of the crew of the old 439 had proved they were ready for the next step in their career. I am very grateful for all they had done to make things go better on our ship. The existing men who were given raises had proved by their capabilities the right to wear their hats and raises!!

Besides playing cards and exercising aboard the guys really loved the punching bags.

on the "con" Bill Mitchell, George and Joe,
from my old college fraternity.
August 25, 1945

picture to left..Chuck with his mustache

Before ending his service George was promoted to Lieutenant.

“After coming back from Seattle, Washington, in October I was put in charge of 5 ships, ships which carried about 5000 5" rockets each per ship, of all types, some with miniature radar heads loaded with shrapnel. For 6 months I was in command of 35 officers and 665 men in the crews. It was my responsibility to take the 5 out for maneuvers, practice landings and bombardment, day and night. We also had a 5' 38 cannon in a turret controlled from plot or the con as anti-aircraft protection and specific point intercidence. Plus two 4.2 mm mortars for defilade firing. We were in one week to reload our ammunition and clean up our ship and get ready for the coming two weeks.”

My Dad died on April 1, 1946 and I flew home for the funeral. I drove all the way down to San Diego with my mother without stopping, and back again. When I got home for good I went to see my Mother’s doctor because of chest pains. After a complete physical he said that he could not find anything wrong with me. He asked me how long I had been out to sea at San Diego. I said 6 months…and he said that was what my trouble was..no driving for such a long time caused the pain!!!”

They had a big going away party on board the LSMR 408 and George turned the ship over to the new commanding officer, said goodbye to everyone and took the next few days to sign papers, pick up a check, have a physical and say "sayonara" to the service. My mother really enjoyed meeting all the officers and crew.

He stayed on as inactive duty for about 10 years.

We still correspond with Betty, wife of Chuck Ruth, to this day.

George’s friendship with Elmer Mahlin from the LCTR 439 lasted Elmer’s lifetime, as did that with Charles Ewald and Al Onofrio who was on another LCTR, both at Normandy and Southern France, and all the other officers on the LSMR 408. This was a lifetime friendship. It was an amazing experience that bonded them all together…..almost like brothers.”

Awards. citations and campaign ribbons
Precedence of awards is from left to right
American Campaign Medal---World War II Victory Medal.