I H99 Enrtuga
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KOREA ' JAPAN ' PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
DECEMBER I950 DECEMBER I95l
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God bless thzs shzp and all tts gallant crew
May the lrght of Thx sptrzt guwle them through
Dangerous waters enemy shot and shell
Protect them with Thy power keep them sa e and well
Through wars clark maelstrom hold ast therr hand
Return them to therr own folk to therr own land
MRS KATHRYN L DROUGHT
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USS TCRTUGA LSD-Z6
USS TORTUGA LSD-Z6
The USS TORTUGA QLSD-265 is named for the Dry Tortugas Islands, a group
of ten coral ke-ys located sixty miles west of Key West, Florida. F'ort Jefferson,
planned as the key to American defense in the Gulf of Mexico, was completed on
the-se islands in 1861, and held by the Union Forces during the Civil War. The TO'R-
TUGA is the first ship in the United States Navy to bear this name.
The LSD is the largest of the amphibious family of ships developed during
World War II. It is designed to transport and disembark smaller landing craft and
troops in an invasion, but it is not designed to be beached. Instead, the landing craft
are carried in a large welledeck amidships, which can be flooded to a depth permitting
the landing craft to depart under their own power. More recently the LSD has been
found to be an excellent repair and logistic facility for landing craft in areas where
no dry-docks or machinery and hull repair installations are available.
LSD's saw service in both the European and Asiatic theaters of World War II
as members of amphibiou-s invasion forces, and gave an excellent performance of the
duties for which they were designed. In the years since the war, and especially dur-
ing the Korean conflict, LSD's have proven themselves highly versatile and useful on
a variety of assignments.
The USS TORTUGA was launched at the Boston Navy Yard on January 20,
1945, and was ,employed in occupation duties throughout the Pacific until decommis-
sioning on August 18, 1947. She was recommissioned for Korean war duty on Sep-
tember 15, 1950.
The word "tortuga" means "turtle" in the Spanish language. Hence we have
adopted a turtle as our ship's mascot, and have asked him to tell our story.
THE U. S. S. TORTUGA CRUISE BOOK
The Staffs: LTJG Robert V. Sedwick, CH. MACH. Charles W. Tappy, Howard
D. Caudill, SA, Robert L. Ogan, BTG2, Charles J. Scardina, SN, Crawford E. Hyde,
SN, Charles J. Murrell, MM2, John W.. Zylstra, MML3.
The. Artists: Charles J. Scardina, SN, Richard P. Smith, SA.
The Photographers: CH. MACH. Charles W. Tappy, LTJG Norman F. Daly,
LTJG Robert V. Sedwick, CHPCLK John R. Davis, Jr., Joseph R. Griffith, MML1,
Rene J. Bilan, RD2, Frank A. Tuttle, END3, Bryan T. Hines, FN, Willard E.
Drought, FPG1, Anthony V. A. Nicosia, MML3, Nick Karas, MML2, Robert L. Ogan,
BTG2, Ramon Rodriguez, END3, Charles J. Scardina, SN, Grant T. -Sherman, BMK3,
grawfogdNE.. Hyde, SN, George P. Amburgery, RD3, John W. Zylstra, MML3 , Wayne
Our Publisher and ex-shipmate: Dean B. Acker.
COMMANDER K. s. SHOOK W CQIYIMANDER E. W. HERMANSON
Commanding Oificezj -- 15 September 1950 - 22 August 1951 Assumed Command 22 August 1951
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER H. deP. TELLER
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"So this is an LSD, I said to myself.
Well, what do you know! A fellow told
me they ballasted down like a dry-dock
and still could make sixteen knots with
the laundry secured, so I didn't know
what to expect. Anyway, we all stood
up in our blues while the Admiral gave
us a pat on the back and the commis-
sioning pennant was run up, and then
beat it into dungarees on the double to
get her into shape to sail. Mothball
fleet, they said. Why the moths had
even set up a quarterdeck watch to
pipe us aboard!
The guys kept coming in from every-
where . . . from other stations, from
civilian life, and there were even a
couple we felt sure had crawled up from
under Pier 3. A good bunch, though!
Nobody too happy about leaving home
and the little woman, but you got the
feeling they'd all be behind you if you
ever really needed help. Sure, the
"feather merchants" growled at the ones
who couldn't forget the good old days
on the USS NOGO in '35, but that's
the Navy for you. You can't change it,
and maybe you wouldn't want to.
The Commissioning Ceremony
I guess we loaded just about everything the
Navy had that would fit in our well deck during those
first few months . . . and if you think the boys on
the wingwalls weren't just a little dubious when that
first LSU came toward them at about five knots
you're sadly mistaken. Sure, I griped at the training
exercises. Who didn't? But we got the feel of the
1 - -
The first LSU --- as it actually was
By Christmas somebody in PhibPac operations'
took a big black pin out of a drawer, stuck it on a
chart, and decided it was time the mighty "T" put
out to sea. Wesaid goodbye to the States on Decem-
ber 29th, with Vice Admiral Kiland paying us a
special visit to wish us well on our journey west.
Here we go . next stop . . . Pearl!
tNew Year's Eve was pretty quiet last year. I
had the mid-watch, myselfj. I
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The first LSU --- as we thought it would be
Sick? You've never seen so much misery
in one small space in your life as on our second
trip to Bremerton to pick up LSU's. As a matter
of fact, it was just about the roughest weather
we encountered on our whole cruise. By the
time we 'got back, though, our "SA's" had be-
come "SALT'S," and a couple of them rolled
so much as they walked down Broadway that
it looked as if the Grant Hotel were underway!
, Outward Bound! I
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This was a break, and I don't mean
ybe!' The fleet wasn't in . . . it was out,
way out . . . and we had the place all to our-
selves. The Royal Hawaiian . . . the beach at
Waikiki . . . aaaaaaaah, this is the. life!
And here's a stopper for you! While we
were tied up at the dock in Pearl our ship's
A 1. '-1' - wheel disappeared! No kidding . '. 3 and you
can bet lt d1n't Just walk away, either. The
Q ' divers went down to the bottom to have a
t look . . . but even they couldn't find it. Now
1 somebody knows the full story here. Pm not
saying who it was . . . as a matter of fact I
X don't even know . . . but 'for my money he'd
yg, 'ik -. Q better keep quiet about lt for a long, long
x JK . ,Xu time. So it meant .another week 1n Pearl?
1 std! i , So you can feel mighty lonely all by your-
'N self at the end of that long green table.
5' I ,,, g Yes, Hawaii's a wonderful place. I'd like
to go back there sometime. Want to come
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C5 The Naval Station
I didn't mind crossing the Pacific much.
Kind of hot during the day, but it helped
a lot to watch those passengers sweating
away as they slapped on paint below decks.
Passengers are swell people to have around,
you know, particularly for those dirty jobs
everybody has been letting go for just one
Someone asked the Navigator how he
found Eniwetok. "Why I just came up on
deck one morning and there it was," he
said. Just a little pile of sand with three
tree-s and no girls . . . remind me not to
put in for shore duty there. We only stayed
in Eniwetok overnight, and then steamed
off again through the balmy . seas and
beautiful moonlit nights of the tropics.
Hey, wait! It's getting cold as he .....
awfully cold! You say you see snow on
those hills, son? Why, boy, that's Japan
you're looking at . . . Sasebo, to be exact.
Japan's ex-No. 2 Naval base, now very
busy working for Uncle Sam. Well, we got
here, didn't we? Now what?
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We certainly didn't see much of Japan
this trip! Just a couple of days in Sasebo,
and then -off for Korea. A routine run to
Pusan, we thought, but a midnight change
of orders sent us north to Inchon . . . then
still in enemy hands. This was it at last!
The front! -
So what happened? To tell you the truth,
not very much. With a number of Ameri-
can and British warships and transport-s
we anchored in the cold gray dawn a few
miles off Inchon and made what they call
in the books an "amphibious feint." No,
nobody passed out . . . We were supposed
to fool them into expecting an assault here
and thus deploying their troops away from
the main point of attack inland.
So we made smoke . . . we put boats in
the water . . . we made more smoke . . .
we took boats out of the water . . . we
turned our lights on and off . . .and we
made more smoke. ROK troops came in
the next day and took Inchon, and no-
body has ever told us whether or not we
fooled the Communists.
We had 'some pretty fancy company,
too, I might add. The Big Mo . . . in all
her glory. Sure she fired! No .... the wind
was blowing the wrong way and I can't
to this day tell you what a 16-inch gun
s-ounds like when it goes off. Why didn't
we fire too? Well, you know how it is, we
didn't want to show up our big brother.
There was a busy month ahead of us after
we left Inchon. The Navy found plenty of work
for the old "T", and we all got a kickfout of a
little concrete action after all the months of train-
ing. Our first stop was at Pusan for further orders
and, a quick look at Korea's major port. It wasn't
much to see, I'm afraid. Refugees all over the
place, and such miserably filthy living conditi-ons
everywhere that I think we all began to appreciate
the old home town a great deal more.
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The Army and the Navy were already repre-
sented at Inchon, so to even up the score the Tor-
tuga made another trip down south to Mesan for
a load of Marines and their LVT's. Maybe they
look a little strange, these armored tractors, but
they're very handy in any brand-new beachhead.
Page Fourteen Y
We left Pusan with a sigh of relief that
we weren't to be station-ed there perman-
ently, and made a quick trip to nearby'
Ulsan to pick up an Army Engineer out-
fit and their landing craft for delivery to
Inchon. Here they are, over on the left.
The Marines Land
Swing her around LCM's alongside
And it was cold, bitterly cold, all the time.
Sure, we thought we had it rough, but not a man
aboard won't admit that the guys we dumped on
the beach had it rougher. When it comes to things
I'd rather not do, spending a winter in Korea is
at the top of the list.
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Now here's some good news! We're going to
get a good look at Japan at last! Yokosuka in
March . . . let's go!!
Some guys have got it made! Who? Why the
ones on occupation duty, who else? Maybe they
don't give things away free in the shops any
more, but a serviceman in Japan is really living,
anyway! All the best facilities of the nation are
reserved for the occupation forces, and Uncle
seems to have gone out of his way to make
things easy and pleasant for you. Private cars
on trains, -service clubs better than most in the
States, and plenty to see and do all the time.
It's funny . . . the Japanese people themselves
seem to think Americans are the greatest there
is. You can walk down a street in Japan at mid-
night without a worry in the world, and I cer-
tainly couldn't say that for the Philippines. Of
course, let's not kid ourselves . . . the Japanese
are making many a buck off all of u-s. You 'can
almost feel the prices in the souvenir shops ris-
ing whenever a carrier or battleship comes into
port But why worry? The merchandise is still
dirt cheap if you keep your eyes open and learn
how to haggle A
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Jams Our Welcoming committee . .
and lots of laughs!
The Navy Yard
You don't see many signs of war in Japan
any more . . . most of the skeleton buildings
are new ones going up. Tokyo is a bustling,
modern city. . . mostly. It's a little tattered,
torn, and run down at the heels even a few
blocks away from GHQ in the Dai Ichi Build-
ing, but the streets are crowded with shops
and people, nobody 'seems to be going hun-
gry, and I guess everything's OK. There are
taxis, taxis,- taxis everywhere. All shapes and
sizes . . . and none of the drivers quite under-
stand English. By the way, I wonder if I'll
ever get used to driving on the right hand
side of the road again after all these months
of just the opposite in Japan.
Dai Ichi Building--General Headquarters
. Supreme .-Allied Command ,
A Country .Shrine
Former f-Summer Home of the Japanese
C Crown Prince
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There's a lot of beauty in Japan . . . particularly
the religious shrines. Every village has at least a
couple of them, and the Shintos and Buddhas seem
to run a contest as to who can build the more beau-
tiful structures., I guess I looked at more carved
wood, laquer, and pagoda roofs than I'll ever see
again. Maybe you wouldn't want them in your
back yard, but for a sight-seeing tour you can't
This trip to Yokosuka produced the first
case of camera madness . . . and within
two weeks the disease had spread
through the ship like a fire out of con-
trol. The symptoms are easy to recog-
nize . . . a fixed stare, and an un-
quenchable craving for more and more
expensive cameras, more and more ac-
cessories, and bigger and bigger bags
to carry them all in. Finally the victim
ends up buying a pack mule, loading it
with 300 pounds of filters, and heading
off into the wild blue slopes of Fuji-
yama to die by throwing himself over
a cliff trying desperately to get "that
perfect angle shot."
And the countryside is quite lovely, too
once you get away from the port towns and the
big industrial areas. On the left is some of the
tall timber in the mountainous country around
Nikko, north of Tokyo.
You know, we get pretty spoiled in America . . . especially when it comes to taking machines for granted. Oh,
they've got machines in Japan, too . . . but the average man doesn't have them in his house to help out the wife
on wash day, or anything like that. Most of the people in Japan are really poor, and therefore most of the work
is done by a pair of arms well lubricated with elbow grease. Japan has automobiles, too, but not in every ga-
rage as we do. Most Japanese must get along with rickshaws, nondescript little wagons, and ox-carts: They
drive you crazy on the highways. Oh, there's money in Japan, and a lot of brains too, but Mr. and Mrs. Public
don't get the benefits of eitherthe way we do at home. There have always been two big problems in Japan . . .
too many people, and too little freedom. I guess we've been lucky.
Shopping in Kamakura
Yokosuka is a very busy place right now. As the chief repair and recreation headquarters for the United States
Fleet operating in Korean waters, its shops keep humming day and night and 1ts streets are crowded with sallors
enjoying a chance to get off the ship and get that wonderful feel of pavements under their feet, again. In no
time at all everybody knew at least a few words of Japanese, and loved to show them off. I wasn t the only one
who-se jaw dropped the first time I heard a boatswain's mate using Japanese words to work'h1s gang on, deck.
When I asked him about it at chow that day, he told me they understood it better than English. And we d only
been out here a few months already!
if Back for replenishment . . . Then Off again!
One of the most popular spots in the
area was the little city of Kamakura
. L . just a ten-minute hop away from
the Yokosuka RTO by train. There was
"then-Buddha" . . . a ,towering monster
cast in bronze 500 years ago . . . and
the famous shrine on top of -a hill that
always seemed a mile high. At cherry
blossom time this shrine was the site
-of what seemed to be a big municipal
picnic . . . with Japanese families spread-
ing their lunches all over the grounds,
going boating, playing games, and gen-
erally behaving like the local Sunday
School on its -annual outing. One ex-
ception to that, though . . . .I'm afraid
some of the Japanese men brought
along a little more saki than was ab-
solutely necessary to wash down' the
rice. After a few glasses of saki the
Japanese love to start 'singing . . . but
I'm afraid the Oriental versions of
"Show Me the Way to Go Home" just
doesn't quite hit the spot 'with these
'The Shrine at Kamakura N 1kk0 Shrine
The Carpenter kept wondering why the.sh1p kept sinking lower and lower in the water while we were in Yoko
suka . . . until somebody got the bright idea of weighing the souvenirs coming aboard Let s see it averaged
100 pounds per man per day . . . times 300 men oh Just ask the mailman He carried It all over to the post
office, anyway. Watch out, America . . theres going to be a boom 1n secondhand oriental curio stores next
Now that the Peace Treaty has
been 'signed and the American oc-
cupation of Japan is coming to an
end, I think everyone hopes that
the Japanese people will remem-
ber the lessons we've tried to
teach them, and stay on the right
side of the fence with us. We
found -out that once you get
across the 'language barrier the
Japanese people are a great deal
like us. They certainly can't get
through the years ahead without
our help, and without them on our
side we're going to have a pretty
rough time of it in the Orient. So
1et's hope bygones will be bygones
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If you rode the train about three-quarters
of an hour after leaving 'Yokosuka you'd
arrive in Yokohama, a big commercial sea-
port and one, of the U. S. Army's main
headquarters in Japan. A very modern
city . . . clean . . . and famous for its serv-
ice clubs and the Hthieves' market" just
across from the PX. This was the place
to come just at closing time to swap yen
and arguments with the proprietors who
were trying to make just one last sale be-
fore closing up.
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A last glimpse of old Fugi
And of course the girls came clown to see us off
Oh, Oh! Look what just arrived in the radio shack!
Inchon again . . . and no overnight trip, either.
What was that word just passed? A11 hands re-
port for stores working party? Oh, my aching
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One or two of the boys were here
just at the end of the last war,
and acording to them Inchon was
quite a big manufacturing and re-
This place has really taken a beating! We
couldn't fgo ashorefwhen we were here be-
fore, and it certainly didn't look this bad
from the ship! I heard. somebody in Fleet
Activities saying that Naval bombardment
before retaking Inchon last February when
we were up here did all the damage. Glad
I was on the other side of the Missouri!
I don't believe there are more than a dozen
houses in the main part of the city that
haven't been hit at least once . . . and
most of them are either leveled off com-
pletely or have only the bare, burned-out
walls left standing.
uw: 1-VDN II I TY -KoREA
'-Mizz-, .. W -'f if- 1
sort center when Japan ocupied -ffi ff-.,
all Korea. You can still see the -6-1 ,
smoke-stacks rising a b o v e the ho 0, 5 sf
city and the 'shells of the fac- Q-9. . L .
. , - Q-Ng A ., , A -Amt
tories, but it lo ok s to me as it-13,55 ai e f
though it will be many, many E -ff: I w wf? GAME'-K
- lm .vu .15 AY ' 'A' ' "l"'1""1 '
years before this town gets back , - K QL 1- '
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Inner Harbor, Inchon
A lot of Korean civilians have come back
to Inchon already, although I can't see
what they think they've come back to.
Most of them have to'bed down in little
huts made out of rusty corrugated iron
roofing and fallen bricks . . . and they'd
all be starving to death if it weren't for
the food the Army gives out. The kids fol-
low you everywhere . . . poor little devils.
They beg . . . they steal . . . and they drive
you crazy trying to sell you a shoe-shine
for a few cigarettes. Like all kids, they're
cute . . . but I wish somebody would give
them a bath!
Page Twenty-F our
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I hopped a. jeep ride over, to the far side
.Of Inchon one day,. and took a look at
the old Japanese submarine pens there.
From the size of the shops and the
building ways,. they must have had a
very big operation. One sub is still on
the ways . . . a cargo and personnel job
. . . and it looks as though one push
would send it down into the mud. No
soap, though, the launching wheels are
rustedftight to the rails. Four more
subs lie in a rusting heap at the bottom
of one of the mooring slots . . . com-
pletely uncovered at low tide. The Jap-
anese Rising Sun is still visible -on the
conning tower of one of them . . . even
the high tide does'n't quite cover it.
Pretty quiet around there . . . I guess
the place is dead.
Come to think of it, I didn't ever tell you why we came to Inchon in the first place, and what we're doing here.
Well, it's this way. Inchon harbor is one of the nastiest I've seen. The tide rises and falls thirty feet twice a
day, and moves at a speed of four knots. At low tide even an LST can't make it into the inner harbor. Up
until recently steamers could tie up safely in a tidal basin in the inner harbor . . . but our troops blew the
locks of the tidalbasin up when they evacuated Inchon in December. As it is now the troop and supply ships
must anchor in the outer harbor and have their cargoes brought into the beach by landing craft of all sizes. So
what happens to landing craft when they're continually run up on the beach to land their cargo? They get beat
up, that's what. And what's an LSD good for besides amphibious landings? Repairing landing craft . . . get it?
We had our well deck full of LCM's and LSU's needing repairs all the time, and some of the boys had to work
around the clock seven days a week to keep them operating. We did it, though . . . kept the tanks, food ammuni-
tion, and troops rolling in smoothly to the beach and up to the front . . . and left every one of those landing
craft in better shape than we had found it. Not much fun to the job, and no write-ups in Stars and Stripes, either,
but that doesn't lessen its importance nor our pride in getting it done right!
A Day's Work
s - ' '
We repaifed buoy
We found that baseball was about the
best way to spend, an afternoon ashore . . .
that, and a little beer-drinking now and
then. There was a pretty good ball diamond
at one end of town, and we took on all
comers. The Korean children, of course,
came down to watch . . . and take us for
everything they could. Nobody minded
their carting away the empty beer cans. to
make pots and pans, ash trays, and Heaven
knows what all, but when their grubby lit-
tle fingers started going after cameras,
wallets, shirts, and gloves we'd have to
hold a general house-cleaning and .run the
little imps far enough away to leave us
alone. Keeping our gear safe and off the
local black market proved to be a game
and LCM s
. . and LSU,s
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s Not Casey . . . but Dawson at thehbat
They' got the Wallefs - ' - and left him only the empty beer cans
The Communist offensive last May made it
look for awhile as if Inchon were going to get
a little warm for comfort. A number of trans-
ports and cargo ships came up to stand by in
case of need, while the ELDORADO arrived
to mastermind the operation. The Koreans
started leavinig town by the junk-load, and
for a week or two we didn't know what to
expect. The TOLEDO anchored in the north-
ern end of the harbor and started heaving
8-inch shells into the enemy lines north of
Seoul, but in a few days the offensive had
been broken and the danger was past.
We'll also remember May as inspection month at Inchon. While the ELDORADO was there just about every
Navy ship in the harbor got a thorough going-over. They called it an administrative inspection . . . and getting
ready for one of these means taking care of all the filing that has been piling up for the last six months and
catching up on reports, schedules, organization charts, orders, memorandums, etc., etc., until you wonder
whether you are 'living in a ship or a newspaper office. The great day finally arrived . . . and with it a
pouring rain. There we were . . . lined up in dress whites for Admiral's-inspection, with the rain soaking us to
the skin and the TOLEDO firing at the enemy just a mile away. What a picture! Oh, well . . .
Still and all, it's not so bad being in a port like Inchon. . . for a while, anyway. There may not be much night
life, but the free and easy atmosphere when you get ashore is OK. You know, it's surprising how well they're
all pretty well up toward the front and more or less in the same situation. You don't find many inter-service
squabbles among the beer drinkers at the EM Club in Inchon. The 'next guy who comes in may be soldier,
sailor, marine, British, Australian, Belgian, or anything at all. So what? Buy him a beer!
. - 1, he 141 , . 11111 11111 1111 1 -
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Whzle the young folks Through the ruins and fhe Old folks .ffglsf
wander . . of their city . . . X esif and Wait
'-aside--'M 1 ' "
While most of us had been saving
our money at Inchon, it seemed that
our anchor had been doing a little col-
lecting on its own. So much, and to tell
you the truth the Navy frowns on this
sort of thing, that we couldn't pull the
darn thing up when we tried the first
time. We dragged anchor a little bit
one afternoon, and that was when we
got the bad news. Now what does a
ship's crew do when they find anchor
chain is twisted and they can't pull the
anchor up? Well . . . they don't let any
grass grow under their feet until they
can. Oh, yes, we finally did it . . . but
just take a look at the anchor when it
did come out of the water. BOSN Shel-
ley had to go over the side with a blow
torch and cut the cable, line, and mis-
cellaneous scrap iron away. We thought
for a while that we might have to steam
around and around in circles until the
anchor chain got untwisted, but fortun-
ately that wasn't necessary . . . and a
good thing, too. If that had happened
you could have heard the laughter from
other Navy ships all the way to Tokyo.
We just didn't deserve such troubles . . .
after all, we'd only been minding our
Our two months at Inchon went by
faster than most of us had expected,
and there we were in early June strain-
ing our eyes for the WHETSTONE' and
thinking longingly of going back to
Japan. "Well," we thought as we final-
ly got underway and watched Inchon
fade away into the Korean haze, "that's
the last we'll see of that place." Ha!
But I'm getting ahead of myself, so
1et's get on to Japan in June and I'll
tell you about a strange and wonderful
Far East custom . . . R 8z R! Americans
take to it like ducks to water . . . and
after I tell you about it I think you'll
Hammond, Bilan, and part of the ROK Army
just look at it!
The USS TOLEDO on guard'
SEOUL, THE CAPITAL OF KOREA, IUST 25 MILES NORTH OF INCHON
LET'S TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT IT
The capitol is burned out . . . and 116
'LY ' G r .
1' Q1 'X
afe 6 Us are
The S keg
The railroad station is still standing ' . 4 . and some of the shrines
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, I7 up
-The-:tanks rumble . . . through the ruined city . . . ,but the little girls still smlle
One of the many reasons why none of us felt sorry
for the poor boys on Ocupation duty in Japan was
the network of rest hotels found all over the islands.
Japan's finest tourist hotels have been turned over
to the Armed Forces exclusively for their use in
enjoying a little R 8x R . . . Rest and Recreation,
if you want to call it that.
Exhausted as we were from the grueling days at
Inchon, we jumped on this bandwagon as soon as
we hit Yokosuka again '. . . and everybody came
back asking for more. No wonder . . . for-8.50 a day
it made Ri1ey's life look monotonous. Like Hank
says, "We never had it so good!"
Most of these R 8x R Hotels are located well away
from Japan's main cities, in beautiful mountain or
seashore country, and the Shore Patrol somehow
manages to forget all about them. You get up in
the morning when and if you please . . . and from
then on the day is yours to ,sight-see, swim in hotel
pools, play games, fish, loaf, drink, or loaf. The Jap-
anese hellp in the hotels gives you such good service
that before long you're too lazy even to scratch a
match for yourself . . . and there's no tipping! Dun-
garees without hats are the uniform of the day, and
who's to' worry about keeping a shine on the shoes?
Ah, so . . . could I use a large dose of this!
While some of us were off on R 8z R, the others
still on board enjoyed watching Japanese laborers
swarming over the well deck like ants and disappear-
ing into our ballast tanks for a majorcleaning and
repainting job. The general sentiment was, 'Tm
glad it's them and not me!" . . . for this job is just
about one of the dirtiest the Navy has to offer. fAll
right, I know about B Division cleaning the boilerslj.
Q .Qs in
,, s , f'
Q ' tiff We
mR6INH R 4. R
In July the Navy decided that perhaps we were suf-
ficiently recovered to go back to work for a little
while, so we joined forces with a number of trans-
ports and LST's for the first Hachinohe operation.
This was quite a thing! First we had to run up to
Hachinohe from Yokosuka, about a 500-mile trip,
to pick up an Army regimental combat team and
its equipment. On the way up, steaming in forma-
tion, the Commodore decided it was high time for
a little tactical maneuvering. Now don't forget that
these were the first 'fleet maneuvers we'd ever had
. . . and the cussing started when the first signal
hoist hit the air. Oh, it's not so tough to get in
column and stay there, but when those Emergency
Turns 'start coming at you one after another you
feel like you're driving in LA traffic, and fourteen
knots seems like the speed of a jet. Even with all
this it's not so bad in the daytime . . . but just wait
until they spring those night zig-zag plans! Quiet
. . . dark . . . no moon . . . and all at once you look
at the clock and swing 50 degrees to the left, only
hoping the other ships are doing the same thing, too.
They tell me one of the OOD's almost fell off the
bridge trying to see if the SKAGIT was turning
the same way we were . . . and a helmsman who
swung right on a left rudder order was left hanging
at the starboard yardarm for three whole days.
Well, we're here, aren't we? So I guess you know
luck was with us.
'-Loadedofor bear . . .
'and 'ready to go!
Tallring it over
Transferring Cargo Underway
Z V I
Swells like these made the
,operations tough at times
and the LSU's took a beating, too!
After loading the troops and vehicles in
Hachinohe we made our actual landing
back down near Yokosuka at Sagami Wan.
And we gave them the works, too! Put
the smoke boats over and fired up the
smoke generators on the wingwalls back
aft . . . starting a nice hot fire in a 40mm
gun mount in the process. No damage . . .
and after we'd put our cargo of LSU's to
work unloading troops from the trans-
ports we declared holiday routine, bal-
lasted down, and all hands went for a
swim. That's one thing good about an
LSD . . . it doesn't take long to get rid
of your cargo. Why, those guys on the
transports were working all night . . . and
here we were enjoying a swim in our own
private pool. Not bad, huh?
We put the second Hachinohe operation
under our belts easily, and then came
back to Yokosuka once more for some
really interestingf news. Yes boys, it's
true! We're going to get a look at
something else out here besides Korea
,-., ,and Japan. They want us to run some
LSU's down to Subic Bay . . . so let's
'castoff and get going!
Page A T hirty-Four
Back to Yokosuka again for another short yard
period before the second amphibious operation
. . . and a little more R Kz R. The weather kicked
up one night . . . our mooring shackle parted
from the buoy . . . and we had a really tense
moment or two drifting slowly down on the
AJAX with the tide . . . out of control. .Nick
Gonzales got a commendatory mast for letting
go the anchor in time to stop us, and also eafrned
himself a place in the "famous last words" de-
partment by insisting when he relieved the bow
watch just before the incident that "that thing
will never break!" Maybe you think Lady Luck
wasn't on our side a time or two this trip!
we J lil
y D ' , 'L
YEAH Somew LISSEM TO 04.0 SER DADDY ,,
mo vouu mme cmec :one You KNOW W--
We'll just make a quick stop in Sasebo to pick up the "U's", and then . . . whatis that? Pusan! What are we
going there for? Nobody knows? Well I'll be ..... !!! v
And here we are at Pusan, and still nobody knows nothin'! Friday . . . Saturday . . . there go those three days
we had saved up for visiting in Manila. Saturday night. . . and you say the orders just came in? Good, 1et's go!
What? They're cancelled a-gain! Ahhhhhhhh . . .
To make a long story short, we finally left on Sunday morning, went back to Sasebo for the "U's", and set our
course for the Philippines on Monday. Me gripe? Naw, I like Pusan!
o- s A .
I are running along between Luzon and Formosa, and I don't
think there's a breath of air stirring anywhere! Everybody's
grabbing one last chance to get a tan, and usually winding up
the color of those beets we had for lunch yesterday.
The night before we arrived in Subic Bay everybody decided
This is like coming out here . . . hotter than blazes! Here we
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Everybody got liberty who could possibly
be spared, and we all started out to 'see as
much as we could in the short time we had.
First the Naval Station itself . . . a beau-
tiful little place that seems to combine a
maximum of efficiency with a maximum
of comfort and good times for all hands.
No wonder Mr. Tappy's been raving about
the place all this time. In Subic they've
even given the quonset huts a modern' de-
sign, and no effort has been spared to pro-
vide everything the personnel there might
need to make life more pleasant.
it would be a good idea to sleep outside, and under a full' moon
the 5-inch gun deck looked like either Coney Island or a pan
of worms, I'm not sure which. Oh, it was coo1er,. alright, but
we found out that even the softest deck plate gets pretty
hard by six o'clock in the morning. Theyjust don't seem to
have much give to them.
Subic Bay is beautiful on a bright summer morning . . . even
the Naval Station looks more like a city suburb than anything
else. Yet you can't forget that this harbor saw some pretty
rough days not too long ago. The rusting landing craft still
hung up on the beaches and the big freighter aground just
off the inner harbor are mute reminders.
Let's go take a look at this place!
Now that we've bought out the ship's
store and taken pictures of the main gate
of the old Spanish Naval Station . . . built
over 100 years ago . . . let's go on into
the town, they call itf'Olongapo, and look
for some bright lights.
Well, where's the town? You mean this
is it here? Why you don't even see more
than a couple of souvenir stores! Wonder
what these people live on? And why do
they build their houses on stilts? Oh, when
it rains the town is covered with several
feet of water, is it? Great place only
I'm not a duck!
Jeeps seem to, have taken the Philippines
by -storm, Converted jobs, that is ....
neither quite 'car nor jeep, but very handy
for taixifservice. Still, where can you take
a taxi except back to the Naval Station?
They tell me the woods around here are'
full-eof Huks, and Marine sentries won't
let you go more than a few miles out of
town along the main road to Manila.
Living in the Philippines right now is
like living in an armed camp. You don't
notice it right off the bat, but this place
is a tinderboxl So we liberated these people
from Japanese rule . . . try telling that to
a Huk and see where it gets you. All they
can see is that big red -hammer and sickle.
The United States has big problems out
here . . . and no f-ooling!
Wish we could have spent a few more
days in the Philippines . and .at least
had a glimpse -of Manila. Anyway, we
won't soon forget the hospitality of every-
one at the Naval Station. The Base Com-
manding Officer had the Chief's Club
-opened especially for us in the afternoon,
and even the Shore Patrol and MAA's
seemed more like big brothers sometimes
than anything else. Sorry-we have. to go
so soon . . . maybe we'll see you all again
Except. for having to make 9, little
emergency turn of our own to avoid be-
ing run. d-own by a whale, and turning
Mr. Wh1tman's hair white by running over
an unchartered 5-fathom mark in the mid-
dle ofthe night, the trip back to Sasebo
was a' quiet one. What"s in store for us
now? Well, wou1dn't you know it!
Main Gate of the old Spanish Naval Station
Yes, it rains here now and then
S ' Native Sons
Xz1ElC?ME BAC-A. r
INCH OM, pf 'O
fn' :Q i f f f e
Haven't we seen this place somewhere before? That
ain't Point Loma over there, brother, that's dear old
Wolmi Do . . . and this is Inchon again. Yes, son, I know
we were here for two months in the spring, but just
settle-yourself for a long winter's nap . . . because we're
going to have a repeat performance!
They've cleaned up the city a little, I see, but that's
about the onlyrchange. Oh, the front seem-s quite a bit
farther away than it did before, probably because things
have been stagnant for so lonfg while the peace talks
go on and on. But the harbor's still busy, and they still
keep punching holes in the landing craft. The EM Club
is still here, too, considerably improved by some wall
murals contributed by local Korean artists, and a vote
of thanks is due the Enlisted Recreation Committee and
all the CPO's for their efforts in keeping the club run-
ning smoothly. i
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Fleet Actxvztzes and Port Command T
There was one more addition to the
local scene this time, too. We called him
"bed-check Charlie," and a few less
flattering things with substantially the
same meaning. He would usually arrive
overhead in his flying washing machine
either at 8 p. m., midnight, or 2 a. m.
Flash Red! Flash Red! General Quart-
ers! H-ow can a guy get any sleep this
way! And the worst of it was, we never
even saw him! The AA batteries on
shore would start what looked like a
Fourth of July celebration sometimes,
but from talking with a couple of GI's
in the outfit my guess is that some-
body got trigger-happy, let go with a
shot or two, and then the rest all.f1red
at his tracers. The worst part of lt was
that they'd fire right over our heads
sometimes. Wonder what they would
have thought if we'd fired back?
U4 mint. moi N fr
I've t-old you about the little children you
see everywhere in Korea.'The ones that have
the toughest time, of course, are the orphans
. . . and the TORTUGA tried to do what it
could to help them out. This time, as in the
spring, all hands dug down into wallets and
sea bags to come up with the money and
clothing so desperately needed by the orphan-
ages. Made you feel kind of good . . . to be
able to help these poor little fellows out, if
only for a short time. We even took some of
our cartoon movie shorts over and gave them
a showing one Sunday aftennoon. They loved
it . . . and I'l1 bet these were the first they
had ever seen!
n training ' ' ' Wahdered throu
W 6 kept O gb t0Wn
and helped ,Out anfews kids .
zike this one.
The first big draft of dis-
chargees left us in October
. . . here they are over on
the right. Sorry to see them
go, but it's a funny thing. . .
they were all smiles when
they waved goodbye to us!
No doubt a lot of the gang
will be joining them soon,
and in six months you won't
even see anyone you know
We left Inchon . . .
still in ruins . . . and Sfill af Wai'
That about wraps it up, I guess . . . the TOR-
TUGA's Far East Cruise. Maybe the part we played
in the war wasn't glamorous, and maybe We didn't
win any citations, but we did our part, and more!
One thing about the TORTUGA . . . she never fell
down on any assignment given her, and she always
found a way to get the job done, no matter how
tough ,it was. We've got a lot of memories of the
good times and the bad . . . and a lot of friends.
That's the most important thing, I think.
If there's anything left to say, it's this. We
left a lot of guys .still in Korea. They want to come
home, too . . . but they're not going to be chased
home! Let's get behind them and give them what
they need to come home 'soon . . . and with their
flags flying! That's the way we do things in this
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"Winter didn't catch up with us until the very
end of our stay, and we played baseball well after
the World Series had ended. Everybody's thoughts
were pretty far away from Inchon, though, for
the big day wasn't far away. After almost twelve
months, we were going home at last! When our
orders to sail finally arrived late one night they
came as a surprise to everyone, for we had one
more mission to perform before we could g-o home.
Back to Sasebo -on the double for more LSU's,
and then up the East coast of Korea this time to
the tiny port of Chumunjin right on the 38th paral-
lel. Our circuit -of Korea was completed now. We
left the "U's" behind us, and set our course for
Yokosuka . . . another short overhaul . . . and some
last-minute Christmas shopping. November 20th . . .
and Japan is fading away astern. So long, Tokyo
Bay! San Diego, here we come! It's going to b'e a
Merry Christmas this year!!"
MEET SOME OF THE GANG
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Page Forty- Two
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MEs5ENQER-1vE MN MY
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The old swimming hole --- Inchon
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Page F orty-F ive
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First Row fl. to 121: LTJG T. C. Bush, LT R. R. Denny, LT A. W. Westmont, LCDR H. de P. Teller, CDR E.
W. Hermansong LT M. Y. Evans, LT C. Searlesg LT P. H. Whitman, LTJG N. F. Daly. Second Row fl. to r.J:
CHPCLK J. R. Davis, Jr.g.LTJG F. E. Phillippsg ELEC M. A. Brnderg CARP, K. E. Houghton, BOSN C. A.
Shelley, ENS L. V. Nash LTJG R. V. Sedwickg ENS W.Wrightg C'HMACH C. W. Tappy.
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CHIEF PETTY ,OFFICERS
First Row fl. to r.J: Harris, J. M., BTC, James, R. L. MMC, Zealor, W. M., MMC, Walker, M. I., BMC, Hauge,
R. B., ENC, Brown, W. D., GMC, Bryson, C. D., MMC, Second Row Cl. to r.'l: Blake, R. T., MMC, Craig, C.,
FPC, Reinhardt, T.I,J., BMC, .Weldon, F. E., HMC, Snoddy, J. R., CSC: Hartman, K. H., RMC,
Page F arty-Six
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I FIRST DIVISION
First Row fl. to r.J: Sherman, G. T., Hansen, H. E., Gray, P. W., 'Hocker, G. E., Short, J. D., Robinson, R. R.,
Gray, C. R., CSloanaker, C. R., Gonzales, N. T., Panrell, C. L., Goodro, D. J. Second Row Cl. to r.J: Schlarman,
E. J., McCabe, W. L., Dawson, S. S., Hart, B. A., Holleran, J. T., Brown, W. D., ENS Wright, Thomas, F. O.,
Potter, J. H., Wil-son, M. W., Rediger, C. E. Third Row fl. to 125: Gefre, A. G., Fox, R. F., Scardina, C. J, Gon-
zales, D., Garcia, J. A., Lipinski, H. A., McLemore, J. W., Harvey, W. T., Jackson, R. C., Hammer, M. G.,
Richardson, L. J., Johnston, V. D.
SECOND DIVISION '
First Row il. to r.J : King, A. S., Martino, E. P., Threadgill, P. L., Roe, B. R., Fools, W. J. Second Row fl. to r.J :
Tidwell, H. W., Miller, J. E., Thomason, H. L., ENS Nash, Walker, M. I., Panter, D. L., Hartwick, B. A.,
Evans, T. M. Third Row fl. to r.J: Gates, M. A., Spencer, R. D., Walla, J. F., Horn, L. C., Clark, T., Goodro,
C. D., Stewart, R. L., Roberts, J. H., Smith, R. P.
Page F orty-Seven
. ,,Q,,,.,. V ., M - E
First Row fl. to r.J: Strand, E. J., Williams, C. J., Stanford, R. C., Garland, J. T., Klement, L. A., Rodriguez,
R. Second Row fl. to r.J: Zylstra, J. W., Danieri, R. F., James, R. L., CHMACH Tappy Hauge, R. B., Tanner,
J. D., Forney, J. D. Third Row fl. to r.J: Partridge, H, Tuttle, F. A., Vendt, L. E., Finley, J. D., German, W.
D., Fowler, D., Towell, H. R.
B DIVISION I .
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more, J., Abrams, C. W., Findley, P. E., Jones, K. F., Clifton, D. H., Wright, R. H., Farley, R. J., Carlin. C. A.,
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Page F orty-Nine
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