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Page 16 text:
After a brief two-week post-shakedown availability, and final fitting-out, DE633, the
Foreman, on 2 January 1944, was away to the wars, bound for Pearl Harbor and the
then embroiled South Pacific war fronts.
The Foreman's first realization of perils of the war came when on January 7, while
enroute to the Hawaiian Islands, she made sight contact on a surfaced submarine. All
hands manned their battle stations for the first time, and prepared to repel the
suspected craft. The undenlvater craft proved to be of American identity. Already the
ship's crew had discovered the lurking dangers, which could lie beneath apparently
calm Pacific waters.
At first sight of Diamond Head and Waikiki beach, all the dreams of South Pacific
islands were renewed in the minds of the crew and, as the "youngsters" lined the rails,
the veterans smiled indulgently, remembering their first sight of Hawaiian beaches.
The Foreman moored to the DE dock at the great Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, and, if
acute, many of its crew saw reminders of a certain bleak December 7th,
For many days, the Foreman undenivent still more training and shakedown under the
guidance of the Commander, Destroyers, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Operating with
submarines, with heavy surface craft, and with ships her own size, the Foreman was
becoming increasingly adept at her war tasks.
On the lighter side, the crew enjoyed liberties in the city of Honolulu, swam at the beach
of Waikiki, toured the world-famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel, now a submariners' rest and
recreation center, and the equally-famous Aloha Tower. One or two even achieved a
steak dinner at Pi Huy Chung's famous eating establishment in the islands.
Their brief respite over, the ship and its crew were ordered on 20 January to make way
for South Pacific waters and for Funa Futi, in the Ellice Islands.
Enroute, she crossed the Equator, and all hands on 26 January 1944, were duly
On January 28, the Foreman anchored in her first South Pacific Harbor. Before she
was to see American shores again, she was to anchor in many just like it.
On February 3, the crew was given it first sight of the bloody shores of Guadalcanal.
Here, the little ship was assigned its initial war task, and for dreary day upon day, it
sailed back and forth before the bastions of the war-labored island, a barrier against
Shortly thereafter, the new arrival in the South Pacific was undenivay again, to the New
Hebrides Islands, and at Espiritu Santo was assigned her first tender availability with the
Page 15 text:
For months, men were being gathered together from throughout the Naval
establishment, from ships of the Fleets, from training centers, from shore stations, and
some were fresh from civilian life, many wore hash marks and service ribbons, most
were but recently graduated from "boot" camps, yet they were all forming what was
soon to be the crew of the Destroyer Escort 633, and all were pointing to the day she
was to be placed into commission.
From widespread corners they were assembled at two places, Norfolk, Virginia, and
Miami, Florida. A few veteran specialists formed a "nucleus" crew at the building yard at
San Francisco. They were preparing, each and everyone, for their tasks aboard their
new ship, when she would finally take her place in the already mighty and fast-growing
Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy.
As the days of October 1943 began, plans were quickened and the two bodies of men
were moved to the great North barracks of the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo,
California, there to be hold in readiness togo aboard their fighting home.
The morning of 22 October 1943 saw great activity on the dock where the sparkling new
escort was smugly tied-up. Sea-bags came aboard. Stores and provisions, necessary
to the operation of the ship in war waters, and to the health and comfort of her men,
were hoisted to the decks by giant overhead cranks. The "black gang" was giving its
machinery its last tune-up, the "radio gang" was breaking in it receivers and
transmitters, the "deck gang" was swabbing, mopping, stowing, and "squaring-way" for
sea. All hands were busy with many activities of commissioning day. And thru all the
hustle and bustle, preparations were going fonivard for the commissioning ceremony,
the proudest day in the life of any vessel.
At last, on the afternoon of 22 October 1943, all hands were mustered on the fantail,
and Hull 5399 became United States Ship Foreman, Destroyer Escort 633. At long last,
all the months of construction, of planning, of manning came to their focus, and the
warship Foreman was born to her task.
After days of bay trials in the great San Francisco harbor, and loading of ammunition at
the Mare Island yard, the Foreman made her first venture into the Pacific, and though
the coastal waters of the western United States, plied her way to another great Navy
anchorage, San Diego harbor. As had so many other proud navy ships, she rode her
anchor and cut the waters of that harbor thru 5 weeks of shakedown and training.
Following Admiral's inspection by the Commander, Operational Training Command,
U.S. Pacific Fleet, she was declared ready for the duties of her class and type in the
Naval battles of her Pacific waters, even then resounding to the glory of the U.S. Navy.
Already the great battles of Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, and the Shangri-La carrier
strike against Tokyo were history, and the move against the Jap enemy was increasing.
It was the right time for the birth of still another fighting ship to add its strength to that
Page 17 text:
USS Dixie. The men went ashore for the first time in the South Seas at the 'Fleet
Recreation Center on Aore Island, and made their acquaintance with the "Beer Chit", an
item peculiar to the United States Navy in Pacific waters. They were to see these many
22 February marked the opening of the Foreman's real mission in the Pacific war. On
that day, she undertook her first solo escort task, a short trip to Guadalcanal. This
convoy, as all other she escorted, was without loss of or damage to her escorted ship.
The month of March for the most part was spent by the escort on the now famous "milk-
run", between the various Solomon's area and New Hebrides harbors.
lt was while on these escort runs that the Foreman, on March 6, received her first "Flash
Red" alert, the real meaning of which she was to learn later.
On the 25th of March, she was placed in her first invasion convoy, and proceeded to
Emirau Island, in the St. Mathis group, where American forces occupied the tiny coral
Departing Emirau, the Foreman completed minor tasks, and arrived at a new harbor,
Purvis Bay in the Florida Islands.
Crew members still talk of the night they watched motion pictures on the fantail, while at
a distance of thee miles, gun duels raged between Japanese in the hills, and American
forces on the beachheads of Bougainville. Already the crew of DE633 were used to
action without yet firing a shot at the enemy.
Still more harbors knew the cut of the Foreman's bow as she next visited the inlet island
of Tulagi, and ended her April travels in what her crew describes as the "most beautiful
South Seas island of them all," the green and verdant Russells.
In lVlay 1944, the traversing little DE visited Nlanus Island in the Admiralties, Green
Island in the Bismark Archipelago, the Treasury Islands in the north Solomon's group,
and began a new phase of her operations with her arrival at Sudest, Buna Point, in
rough New Guinea.
General lVlacarthur's New Guinea campaign was just at its height, and, as a part of
Admiral Kincaid's Seventh Fleet, the DE 633 was to emerge from the campaign a much
more seasoned vessel.
She made many escort trips along the northern New Guinea coast from Buna to
Hollandia and anchored many times at Cape Cretin, in Humboldt Bay, and at Buna
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