Ted Bremer-LST 998

I was Electrician's mate aboard LST 998, We carried an LCT on main deck and launched it somewhere in the Pacific. If you have never seen an LCT launched from an LST, The LCT in a wooden skid was secured to the main deck of the LST. To launch, the skid was unsecured and lubricated, the ballast tanks on the port side were flooded and the LST heeled over, and away went the skid and LCT. TV's History Channel never showed a launching, because according to them, LST's didn't even exist in the war. You can see a launching in the movie "Americanization of Emily" starring James Garner. 


I don't remember the number of the LCT, that was a lot of years ago. My best buddy on the LCT I only know as "Sparky". He was the double duty electrician and pecker-checker. We became best friends cause he had the keys to the medical supplies on the LCT (always a good place to get a drink at sea.) The medical supplies included 160 proof alcohol (torpedo juice) used to sterilize instruments. We would mix this with Dole Pineapple juice which we had loaded aboard when in Hawaii. I ate so much Doles pineapple at sea, I still can't look at it today. 

Our crew had stolen an upright piano in Norfolk (or Little Creek), which was sheltered under a tarp under the LCT stern anchor. Sparky had been an entertainer at Atlantic City, played piano and taught me guitar. We went ashore in Iloilo on the island of PANAY in the Phillipines, and Sparky's piano playing got us an afternoon's free drinks from "Mother Gin Sling" in the Silver Dollar Bar. It was just like the old west saloons we have seen on TV's Gun Smoke, except much more rattier.

Where is Sparky today? 

Any way I can reach him? 

Thanks for any help you can give me.  Ted (Red) Bremer 

"Appropriating" that piano was another story: A BIG Connecticut boy named "Hoppy" Hopkins would walk into a bar and declare, "I can lick any 10 tough guys in this bar!" The bar tender would call the shore patrol. The shore patrol was careless enough to leave their jeep parked outside the back door with the keys in the ignition. I always wanted a piano and here was one unattended in the back room. During the distraction of the melee Hoppy started, I got a couple of us guys to move this upright out to and load it into the jeep. We drove it down to where our ship was tied up, and asked the OD to call the captain. The captain looked over the rail (smiling broadly) and had the crane haul the jeep, and piano aboard. Yahoo!!! 


The piano lasted months until I accidentally released the stern anchor and it went through the piano. The jeep traveled with us to the invasion of Iwo Jima, then got wrecked on Mt. Suribachi.

Someone is bound to 

recognize this dude.

I had delayed orders to go to Dravo shipyard in Pittsburgh for my first LST, but got delayed because the ship sank when it was launched. Better there than in the Marianas Trench (35,000 feet deep). By the way, I did go swimming over the Marianas trench, but couldn't touch bottom 


We went swimming numerous times in the Pacific as long as there were dolphins around, as the myth says if there's dolphins, there's no sharks. Pacific water temps ran in the mid to high 90's making swimming great, but giving us problems with over heating sea water cooled engines. 


In the typhoon of Dec '44 we were on our way into Manila harbor. The hospital ship Mercy was blowing out to sea with her anchors dragging because she didn't have steam up yet. Our skipper turned tail and went with the storm behind us. We were essentially empty of cargo having dumped tanks and field pieces just before.


For 5 days we rode up to the top of the (gigantic) 50 to 60 foot waves, came off the wave peak and bashed that flat bottom into the trough below, pounding the hull and literally bending the hull. The main deck started to open across mid ship- we tried welding and bolting plates (couldn't get enough in between pounding into the trough) and the sides then started to split open near the main deck. This storm was bad enough to sink 3 destroyers, USS Hull, Spence and Monoghan, each which capsized and went down with almost all hands. 


Always an indestructible (17 year old) nut case, I suggested a few of us get all the water, canned food (beer), battle lanterns, and move into a compartment in the bow. We could clamp that up water tight and when the ship split and the heavy stern sank, we'd be OK and might even get salvage rights..... ( I said I was a nut case!) Well, it finally blew over (We quietly went forward and drank up the beer we had stashed.) Then to port to repair damages we couldn't handle.


As you probably know, navy regs would not permit drinking at sea (unlike the Brits). Whenever we ran across a small island that looked uninhabited, the skipper would let us put together a beer party on the beach. One beer party was almost tragic when a left-over Jap sniper started pegging at us. The skipper said no more beach beer parties and started rationing us 2 cans of beer a day to drink on the ship. You had the options to store these and save them up for a Saturday beer party.


We LOVED that skipper.

'Nuff for now.