Souvenir Edition pages 2-5
This week's Souvenir Edition of the "WHIRLPOOL" will re-enact some of the experiences which all hands of the USS NATRONA have had during the last six months, Also, since the Souvenir Edition is being sent to all of our former shipmates, we expect to give them the word about the adventures of the Natrona and her crew.
In addition to the regular weekly division articles each department is publishing a column on the news in its department during the last six months.
Construction and Repair Department
By Lt.(JG) Payne
Dear Retired friends:
Supposedly, this is a history of the Construction and Repair Department for a six-month period. After we unwillingly let you people go home for discharge in Manila, we loaded the 25th in Lingayen Gulf and sailed for Nagoya. It took us a month to get there, and the biggest part of that time was spent near Wakayama. There was plenty of liberty and many interesting things to see in a foreign country.
Lt(Jg) Williams crushed his foot between a cleat and the base of one of the Para vane booms and had to be sent back to the States on the USS Hope. Lt. JG Millikan then became our First Lieutenant for a period of about two weeks. Then he was followed by Lt (JG) Payne until he was relieved by a Lt (JG) Beisel sent out by the BuPers to relieve Williams. Lt (JG) Beisel, or "Fertile Fred" as he was more intimately known as, turned out to be one regular guy. He kept the Department going without a hitch.
Lt. Goldman left the ship with all his Marine points and glory bars. He got five points for being in Saipan the first time. So, with no Marine Transportation Officer, Lt (JG) Payne took over as Naval Transportation Officer, and Assistant First Lieutenant.
On our last trip out to Okinawa we loaded 1800 Army enlisted personnel and 95 Officers, all from the Eighth Air Force, who used to fly B-29's. They were about the best bunch we ever had aboard and very few of them had any
medals; therefore the were not big-shots like most of the bird-boys.
We came into Long Beach again, had our availability in the Terminal Island Naval Yard, and shoved off to layout in the stream. During this time, and due to a mechanical failure, we dropped a boat from the top of No. 4 davit where it is two-blocked before starting down the track ways. There were four men in the boat, and none of them were hurt beyond a few bruises. Two of them had to do a little swimming.
Also while we were out in the stream our "R" boat was hit on the starboard quarter by a yard oilier without any running lights. It tore the whole stern out of the boat and the only way they could keep it from sinking was to keep it moving through the water until it was hoisted aboard.
At present Lt (JG) Erickson is the new First Lieutenant with only one day's experience and is having quite a time getting started. We all wish him luck.
Lt (JG) Payne, Lt (JG) Gallaway, and Lt (JG) Churchill are being detached on the 23rd of February for discharge. Lt (JG) Beisel is also leaving at the same time.
Engineering Department Highlights
By Lt (JG) H.C. Ambrosius.
Since we have had little publicity for some time, we shall try to put ourselves in the limelight once again. Do you remember some of those well known faces you used to see, for instance Lt. Commander Schurfield, who left the ship while we were in Pearl Harbor? The imprint of his dynamic personality was keenly felt among the engineers.
Then there was "Pappy" Rizer, our warrant machinist. We used to kid him about being transported back to the ship by the shore patrol one time when he couldn't navigate by himself.
Another fellow from our group was calm and reserved motor Mac from the boat shop- that's right, Chief O'Connell. I can never remember where he was from. I think it was some small place in East Brooklyn. Any day you might hear Dr. Putmann and the Chief in the boat shop arguing as to which one could make the best bracelets and other trinkets.
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Since our return to the States in August the ship has undergone three periods of availability. Availability to an engineer is when yard workmen tear down the plant, scatter the pieces and leave him the job of putting every thing back together, providing he can find any tools.
We have had comparatively few engine room casualties on our cruises, though of course there was the incident of becoming dead in the water our last trip out. Guess who the officer of the watch was! Anyhow, we were in a rough sea and when we had to stop, things really began sliding around the ship. It was at that time that Mr. Lunn was chased around the engine room by a large box of spare parts and several 50 lb~ Freon bottles. The box won the race.
This may sound fantastic but I heard the other day that there are people on the ship who have never been in the engine room. Come down some time and we’ll show you what makes her go.
Medical Department USS Natrona
The trip from San Francisco to Manila was marked by loss of temporary duty corpsmen at Eniwetok. Most of them ended up on duty in Okinawa, and have since been returned to the States on points.
The replacements we carried to the Philippines showed a lower physical standard than troops previously encountered, and kept the sick bay well filled.
At Lingayen Gulf, Drs. MacDonald and McBurney received orders to Pearl Harbor by air. Dr. McBurney is on duty at the hospital at Pearl Harbor. Dr. MacDonald, after a trip to Boston, and a month at home, received orders to the APA 117, a magic carpeter, as senior medical officer. He is probably still in aboard, in Seattle.
Troops taken aboard at Lingayen kept us busy until landed a month later in Nagoya. The replacements who expected to be sometime in Japan kept the sick call census high.
Our return to the States, while erratic, was uneventful. On arrival however most of the old corpsmen left the ship on points. Chief O'Neill went on leave, and for reassignment. Moore, Johnson, Zeigler, Wesson, Phelan, and Jackson went home. The complement consisted of three doctors and nine corpsmen.
Our last trip to Okinawa seemed long, and we were not busy. On our return Dr. Putman was relieved and should now be in Boston or Holyoke, although we have received no word yet. Two more of the original Corpsmen are leaving at the end of the week.
The present complement consists of Dr. Bundy, Dr. Raftery, Soule and Nickols of the original ships company. Bishop of the original Beach Party, Achin and MeClaskey transferred from the temporary duty group and newly arrived Chief Kreider and PHM2c Brown.
Completion of our next trip should see completion of active duty for Drs. Bundy and Raftery, and will probably see inactivation of this department and the ship.
The Supply Department
By Ensign White
The past six months have seen a great many changes in the personnel of the Supply Department. One of the original division members would probably not even recognize the present "S" Division.
Pitts SKlc and Hays CCS were detached when the point system was announced in Richmond. Lt. Smith was detached at Ulithi Sept.l0th and Dell'Acqua a week later. Other storekeepers now amongst the missing are Young and Jackson, Birkeneder, Miller and Grant. Switzer and Pacitto will be eligible 2 April- we'll probably be in the western Pacific about that time.
All the original stewards and cooks are gone with the exception of Raphael, Hughes, Thomas, and Wells. CST Blackman reported aboard a few weeks ago and is in charge of the officer’s galley. The laundry misses Hacking's deft touch, as well as that of Stuller and Reinninger. Russell, Gowen, and Winn have been added. In the galley CST Erhart, Hynes Bkrlc, Smith SClc, Murphy SC2c, and Vance SC2c are now civilians again. Summerville and Bonsignore, of the barber shop, have been replaced by Chapman, SSM (B)3c, as they too, had the required points. McConnell CSK came aboard about a month ago and is now busily getting supplies for our Noumea trip.
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CPC Butler was detached about December 4, and Ens. Land, who was disbursing officer for about six weeks, also has "civvies". Chief pay clerk Graham is still in charge of commissary, while yours truly, having come of age under the point system as of 15 February now has the honor of being a "military necessity" until a relief arrives. The pay office strikers, Partee and Wallengren, are a great comfort. However, they have about 15 and 17 points, respectively.
By Lt (JG) Millikan
Since this is a souvenir edition of the "WHIRLPOOL" We'll try and give you an account of ourselves for the last six months. So many things have happened it will be a bit difficult to include everything that has transpired.
Six months ago this date it was 27 August 1945. We had just returned to the states after having been through the siege at Kerama Retto. The first draft of separates was already ashore and many of them out of the service: since the war was over. In the meantime, we've lost all but two of the original men on the NATRONA. They are Chuck Bailey and Hugh Blevins. At that time the Radar men were attached to our division. Of them, Stevens, Torres (Now a policeman),"Pappy" Randolph, Duggin, Shiek, Pautzke, and De Angeles have all left the ship and I trust are all full-fledged civilians. Holding down that huge compartment on the bridge at the present time are only five of the original twelve. Radar men; Baughn, Campbell, Marquette, Keller and the "tow-head" that goes by the name of Anderson. Davis, the man with the booming voice, left previously in the above mentioned six month period but we'll include him here anyhow!
As for the Quartermasters, CQM Stark was the first to leave the ship. After our lengthy trip to Japan, via the Philippines, Litzenberger, Gregory, and Brown left. As you can tell by the last sentence the bridge area is much quieter than ever before. As for me I would just as soon have all the commotion! CQM "Fat Boy" Moffett took off like a herd of turtles for dear old Port Orchard last December just before we pulled out of San Pedro leaving all sorts of new material to work with. Lt. Bartlett, generally known as "The Boss Man" left us as did Lt. Roscoe Brown, They have both gone to that "glorious reward" of becoming a civilian. W.P. Heidt then became the leading P.O. of the N Division and we took in three new men. Laurich, QM3/c served us well for the short time he was here and we really hated to see him leave.
But then, the same goes for all the men who have left us for a pair of pants with a crease down the front and back, as well as those who went "bye-bye" on shipping-over leaves. When Mr. Bartlett left his assistant Lt (JG) Millikan, took over the Chart Desk with Lt. (JG) R.E. Collins as his assistant.
You should have seen CQM Hayle get aboard last December. He packed his bags, phoned his wife, reported aboard, and was at the helm on the way out of Los Angeles Harbor all in the short space of about an hour and a half. Shortly before he came aboard our division took in two new strikers--Byrnes, who is a big threat to Litz's title of "Chief Ridge Runner", and Waddingham, a died-in-the-wool Pennsylvanian. This morning Heidt left the ship on a dependency discharge. So there you have it – C. Bailey, Blevins, Byrnes, and Waddingham constitute the QM half of the N division. On Our last trip out the signalmen were put with the N division and we have lost some men from there. Solovich-(Cutler) and Beverlin are no longer with us. As you can see we are somewhat short-handed. But, I might add, we can still do the navigating and take care of the visual signals, as well as find our way through a pea-soup fog. You former sailors take note that it wasn't the fault of the Navigation Department that we started for Yokosuka and wound up in Okinawa, then headed for Seattle and dropped the hook in San Pedro. Yes, we can still cross the Pacific without running aground or getting lost. There you have it -- the last six months in a very small nutshell and that should be "Well-enough" for this edition.
The reason Cupid makes so many bad shots is that he is aiming at the heart and looking at the hosiery.
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The Communication Department
By Lt (JG) Herrin
Since V-J Day and the surrender held on board the Missouri, the complexion of the Communication Department, as well as the rest of the Natrona, has changed radically. Personnel changes in the C division are large, leaving few aboard that were aboard the day the ship was commissioned. Lieutenant Rogers, our Communication Officer, left us via the point system for civilian life on Long Island; Ensign Halgren, Signal Officer, deserted us for Reno and all its temptations; Ensign Shellabarger, USN, was fortunate enough to draw shore duty at Bremerton, Washington, his home. Lieutenants (JG) Churchill and Gallaway were recently discharged and Lieutenant Partis, the Radio Officer, stepped up to Executive Officer and also received a spot promotion to Lieutenant Commander. The two remaining officers left in Communication are Lieutenant (JG) Herrin and Ensign Graber.
Of all the chiefs in "C" Division, only a recent arrival in the radio gang, Chief Troupe, is now aboard. Augustus, Richmond, Pihlaja, Long, and Voss all have been transferred or discharged. Others in the radio gang who have gone are: Cramer, Schleicher, Reisch, Robinson, Raupe, Jarolin, Raden, Music, Masters, Rarnes, Dirchx, and the radio techs, Underborn, Eichbauer, and Cadis. Signal gang men leaving were Parry, Solovich, Bemerlin, Dupbe, Biagio, Partridge, Brand, Varner, Chivers, and Dare. Of the yeomen that were aboard, only Beranek, Tipton, Lowry, Smith, and Butkiewics remain. Legerwood went back to Denver, Harrison to Chicago, and Harris to Arizona
The two most popular men aboard, the mailmen Sebastian and Sculpholm are also wearing the duck. Williams, formerly of the radio gang, has assumed the duties of mailmen.
The present radio gang includes McCarl, Calvert, Troupe, Bull, Sternberg, Heinz, Schnelle, Greenberg, Daily, and the new radio tech Marsh. (He’s low on points so is a break for us). The muster of signalmen would read something like this: Cvjanovich, Fair, Herman, Liebsack, and Petley. Of our recently acquired radar gang are Anderson, Baughn, Keller, Marquette, and Campbell.
Some time ago the signalmen were transferred from the "C" Division to the "N" Division, and the radarmen were transferred to the "C" Division. The change was initiated for watch-standing purposes, permitting the signalmen to stand quartermaster watches. __
Contrary to what one would think, peace brought no let down on---communications aboard the Natrona. Since surrender brought a lift in restrictions on transmitting while at sea, we have been sending at least two and often many more messages via radio. With the help of the navigator we send our two weather reports daily while we are underway. These, aside from helping the weatherman, serve as checks on our progress for shore commanders.
In November, the Navy authorized the sending of personal messages over Navy circuits to the other ships and shore bases, and on our last trip this privilege was taken advantage of by over three-hundred persons. Thus the radio operators were kept busy a great deal of the time just sending.
Classified messages have been practically relegated to the annals of the past and a coded message to the Natrona now is indeed an occasion for the coding room. Our lack of practice usually causes a delay in breaking the message while the coding officer checks publications and instructions regarding the decoding processes.
The interest in always reducing points for discharge and regarding promotion still cause main comm. to remain in the eyes of the ship. Our innate ability of getting underway orders and then getting cancellations or diversions has sometimes caused minor repercussions throughout the ship. The last cancellation of orders for the trip to Noumea was received very enthusiastically by all hands except a few shellbacks who had blood in their eyes and almost on their hands. From the present indications it looks as if the Natrona will remain a pollywog, never to be initiated into the mighty realms of Neptune.
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