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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,

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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,

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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.

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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

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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,

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