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.