content top

Introductory Page by W. Stewart Higham

Dear Terry & Sandra:

This booklet was made up from a log kept by Dale Ritchie Rogers, for a time during his service on the USS BATTLESHIP WEST VIRGINIA.

The West Virginia, was bombed and sank on December 7th  in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Then raised and lowered to Bremerton, Washington and repaired there.

Dale enlisted in the Marine Corps, and after his boot training was assigned to the “WeVee”, as a Marine Guard, and served on her until his discharge after the war.

The story as told by his log was almost like being an eye witness to some of the battles they were in.

Your Grandmother and Grandfather, sedn this to you with love, to help us all remember what a grand “Guy” Dale was.

P.S. They were in a lot more battles after they were ordered not to keep logs like this.

Read More

Introduction by Dale Ritchie Rogers

Dale and Katherine Rogers

Dale enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves, 19 Aug. 1944 (?). 

It seems that there is a bit of confusion regarding dates  Dale records that he joined the service in 1944, but this doesn’t synch with his marriage date, and doesn’t give enough time for him to go through training, and meet up with his ship before it left the repair docks in July of 1944.
  He was assigned to the Battleship U.S.S. West Virginia and reported to this ship after basic training. The West Virginia, was bombed and torpedoed by the Japs at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She was raised and taken to the Navy base at Bremerton, Washington, to be repaired. Dale was sent to Bremerton, and was on duty there until the West Virginia, was repaired and departed on it for the war zone.

A log book in the form or letters to his wife Kay, was written by Dale, from, September 1944(1942) to February 1945. This is a copy of those letters.

View larger map Read More

Leaving Pearl Harbor with the new Aircraft Carrier John Hancock

Pearl Harbor

Kay Darling:
A person has a lot of time to idle away when he is on a Battleship and an attack is not expected from the enemy.  As I sat around, clowning, on one of those leisurely days I realized there was action ahead.

We left Pearl Harbor, sometime in the middle of September 1944 with the Aircraft Carrier John Hancock and three destroyers and headed south by southwest.  The Hancock is one of the new carriers.

USS Hancock (CV-19)

We do not know where we are going but I guess the Chaplain will tell us tonight before the evening prayer.

I don’t think this is an ordinary trip this time. I guess there is a lot in store for us.

I love you Kay,

View larger map Read More

West Virgina crosses the International Date Line

Oct. 1, 1944
Kay Darling:
Today was quite a fun day for everyone. It was pretty rough for some of us but we all came out O. K.  Today we crossed the International Date Line (the 180 degree meridian) making it Oct. 2nd. Looks like we will have to work the same day over again later. It sure seems funny to hear a football game broadcast from the states on Saturday afternoon then hear it a few seconds later coming in on a different day.

Naval Radio Room

Well, Darling, it’s beginning to get quit warm. We still don’t know where we are goin.

All My love,

View larger map Read More

Pollywog to Shellback! Crossing the Equator on the WeeVee

Darling :
Today is the day we crossed the Equator and I am sure glad Iwill never have to go through that ceremony again. I can tell you the truth I can hardly sit down and that is no lie.

All “Pollywogs” were duly initiated into the ancient and sacred order of  “Shellbacks”.

The pitiful pollywogs had to suffer such things as having their hair cut by truly Unprofessional barbers; being forced through the belt line for about 70 yards; last but not least, forced to drink some liquid from a baby bottle that tasted somewhat like arsenic and limberger cheese.

The only consolation was that the officers and men alike, who were not Shellbacks, had to suffer the same treatment. It did my heart good to see officers with their hair chopped, walking along like a man who had just been kicked by a stud pony.

Honey, I remember when I said I would never have my hair cut short again, it  looks like I am a liar because my hair right now may be 1/2  inch long. They also made up a mixture of graphite and grease which they liked to smear all over your head and face and also your chest. Well I was only in the shower about half an hour. Everything is O.K. now except my hair.

I keep thinking what you would say if  you could see me now.
All my love to you

Click here to view the book which celebrates the crossing of the equator on the WeeVee.

View larger map Read More

1st Stop; Manus Island, of the Admirality Island Group

Oct. 6, 1944
Kay Darling :

We arrived at Manus Island, the largest island in the Admiralty Island Group. At Manus, we received an Admiral on board and our ship was privileged with being the Flag Ship of the Force to Be.

During World War II the archipelago on Manus was occupied by the Japanese who established a small base in April 1942 near the village of Rossun on Manus Island. They also built the first landing strip entirely by manpower at the eastern Point of Los Negros Island in Momote.

On February 29, 1944 during World War II, the Admiralty Islands were invaded in Operation Brewer led by American General Douglas MacArthur. The Americans quickly built a big base at Seeadler Harbor, including harbour, wharves and an airbase, which became an important base for the further war operations in New Guinea as well as on the Philippines. The base is today used by the PNG Defence Force.

Here at Manus Island, we were destined to wait for 5 days before our newly organized task force was ready to start out on our assignment.

Loading Cargo at Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island

Action Aheadl!
I shall take up from our departure from Manus Island, in my diary because the events before that were all travel. To record or read of them would be boring and a waste of time.

Well Darling, I guess it will not be long now.
I love you, Dale

View larger map Read More

Guns in Cruisin Position

West Virginia fresh out of her repair.

Darling Kay:
Task Force, intact, guns put in cruising position.  Scuttlebut is that we will catch up with about 600 Army Transports that left Manus, before we did and we will bombard the Phillipines, so they can make a landing.

Weather fine today, land swells, lots of sunshine, about 100 (degrees)

Listened to Tokyo Rose. They know we are coming. She says we are doomed.

Action Ahead!

Lots of love,

Read More

Task Force is composed of:

My Darling :

Left Admirality Islands, to carry out assignment.

T ask Force with is composed of;
6 Battleships              12 Destroyers
6 Cruisers (heavy)   15 A.P.D’s. (Approx.)
12 Carriers

Leyte Invasion Fleet at Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island

Weather was fine today, water calm, lots of sunshine. approx. 100 (degrees).

Read More
content top