WWII Memoirs – 1945 – Home By Christmas

Finally we were at sea. Eight months ago, on the run to Okinawa the weather was mild and sunny, and we watched the flying fish glide in harmony with the ocean swells. But we were at war, and we were traveling in a convoy, with sub-chasers and destroyers darting everywhere. On one occasion they dropped depth charges, but be never learned the results. However, we arrived at our destination safely.

Now, on the way home the danger of torpedoes was gone, but so was the nice weather. I didn’t realize that the North Pacific could be so violent. But it was December.

I had seen terrifying scenes of ocean storms in the movies, but that’s not like being in a storm while sitting on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and watching the raging ocean just yards away. In one instance I was looking up at mountainous waves higher than the carrier, and in the next instance I was looking back into valley. And all the while, everything was moving, the ocean, the horizon and the carrier. Vivid memories of that awesome display of power, and a feeling of dread for the immensity of the ocean under those wild conditions, remain with me for ever.

I couldn’t imagine a small fishing boat surviving under those harsh conditions.

As we moved into southern latitudes, we left the storm behind. It was mid-December when we sighted good old U.S.A. The weather was made to order as we entered Los Angeles harbor. We remained one day and one night during which time a lot of happy G.I.s disembarked; and then we were moving up the coast to San Fransisco. A repeat of the L.A. Schedule, and we were off on our final leg—to Seattle, or more precisely, to Ft. Lewis, where my “military journey had begun nearly three years ago.

Behind me were Franklin Tech, Honolulu, Colorado Springs, Will Rogers Field, Hawaii, Kipapa Field, Kualoa Field, Okinawa, Yontan Field and dozens of incidents and places that made it all “memorable.” I was “processed” in two days, and received my honorable discharge on the morning of December 24, 1945, just in time in the day to catch the bus to Portland. That was the end of my “war years,” and I was free at last! But I had no regrets about my years in the service.

I arrived home on Christmas Eve, December 24,1945 and surprised every one.

My Mother and Dad were there, as was brother Clarence and his wife, Vernice. They were married when he returned from the service, several months ago. Jimmie, their first child was “on the way.”

It was good to be home. A feeling of contentment prevailed. I had just completed a significant period of my life, and I felt a sense of accomplishment, personal growth, and SURVIVAL.

We had a lot of “catching up” to do, and we talked and talked and toasted into the night.

It was a very, very Merry Christmas!