Tuesday, May 8, 1945

At 11 a.m. today at Sampson Naval Training Station the entire personnel including ships company and recruits marched to the drill halls and filed into the Sullivan Auditorium to hear Commodore Harry Badt announce that two hours earlier, President Truman had issued a proclamation declaring today to be the long-awaited V-E Day.

"All hands and the ship's cook," as the Navy saying goes, suspended their normal activities to listen to the Commodore, only the sentries remaining at their posts and listening over the public address system.

Aside from the formal activities scheduled there was little to mark the day. Some men were able to listen to the President but to most, aside from the half hour spent listening to the Commodore, it was an ordinary day.

Commodore Badt's address follows:

"The glorious news that the war in Europe has officially ended is cause for widespread rejoicing. The rejoicing will take many forms. But I believe that most thinking people will prefer to celebrate this historic day in a spirit of thankfulness rather than in one of boisterous hilarity.

"We can be thankful that, for the first time in six long, dreadful years, the people of Europe are free from the unspeakable miseries of barbarism and brutality. We can rejoice that the overriding shadow of death and destruction which has engulfed an entire generation of mankind has been lifted by the combined might of this country and its Allies.

"We can be proud - we men of the Navy - that this great victory was speeded by the valor of those who wear our uniform. Yes, men trained right here at Sampson helped to shape the victory, some, unfortunately, with their lives. Sampson-trained men were aboard all the great invasion fleets, were in the first waves that hit the beaches and, as the fighting progressed inland, helped to ferry the troops and supplies across the Rhine and the other formidable river barriers.

"Let us never forget for an instant, too, that there would have been no American troops or American supplies in Europe at all had our Navy not thoroughly licked the German U-boat menace first.

"We can agree then, I think, that the Navy may justly claim its share in the European victory. Now we must turn our thoughts to the prospects of another victory in which the Navy can, and I'm sure will, claim an even larger share. Of course, I refer to the war against Japan.

"One has but to look at the map to see the stupendous distances involved in conducting Lour war against the Sons of Nippon. One of the chief problems is the transporting of millions of men and thousands of tons of supplies from one theater of the war clear across the

"Let us, then, face the facts on this V-E Day. Only one war has been won. And, from all indications, the defeat of the Japanese will require as much "blood, sweat and tears" as was lavished so generously before Germany was defeated.

"I'm sure you know I'd be much happier if I could tell you men to begin packing your gear and getting ready for home! That day will come in due time, of course, but right now you must dismiss such thoughts from your mind. You must concentrate on the one goal: the war in the Pacific.

"There is no cheap and easy method of bringing Japan to book. Every new footing will be fiercely contested, every assault will be a costly one. Our fight for Iwo Jima and Okinawa is proof enough of that. As this State's famous Governor, Al Smith, was fond of saying: "Look at the record."

"So, in looking at the record, I think we can safely assume that we in the Navy still have a long, tough job ahead of us. We're confident of the outcome, we all know we're going to win. But let's not lower our sights for a minute.

"We must regard this day as merely a step along the way. We have reached only the half-way mark, with the toughest half still before us.

"And when the might of the European forces have been added to those already in the Pacific, let us smash and destroy every evidence of the depraved Jap fiends who have brought such terror, destruction, and death upon decent peoples.

"Let us pray and work and fight to the end that total unconditional surrender will soon be accomplished - and let us make certain this time that the result is so binding and so ironclad that a lasting and just peace is assured."