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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.

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The end of the Log

The previous entry was the last entry in the log book. It is our understanding that orders came out prohibiting any logs of this kind to be kept.  The following posts reflect only ship movements, no text accompanied these entries.

All of the text following is from the USS West Virginia’s history page.

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1975 History

Before writing the story in Dale’s Log, I had asked him to write of his experiences while he was in the service, He wrote the following while he was sick, He did not get to finish but it adds a personal note to the rest of the story.

There was an error in the date of his enlistment in the book. At the start of the book it reads he enlisted the 19 August 1944 it should read 1942.

W. Stewart Higham

On August 19, 1942 I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I was one of sixty men that volunteered to serve their country.

The sixty men were all members of the L.D.S. Church and they all lived in the states of Utah, Idaho and Nevada. We were called the “Second Mormon battalion”. We all remained together until after ‘Boot Camp.

I went to Sea School and learned about ship.

In November 1942 I went to Pearl Harbor, on the oldest troop transport with 2000 other Marines.

Sixty of us got off the ship at Pearl Harbor and the rest went on to Guadalcanal.

At Pearl Harbor, I was assigned to the U.S.S. West Virginia.

I spent my first Christmas away from home, swimming on the Beach at Waikiki. I also spent my Honeymoon there”alone”. I had been married on October 31, 1942.

The first time I went aboard the ship which was to be my “home away from home” for the next three and a half years, they were still pumping water out of the ship, as it was still on the bottom of the harbor where she was sunk in the sneak attack on December 7, 1941.

March 1943, the West Virginia was afloat again and under her own power. We went to Bremerton, Washington, where the ship went into dry dock for about six months. At that time they rebuilt the ship from the second deck up. The men worked on the ship 24 hours a day.

At the same time men were working on all the ships that were sunk at Pearl Harbor, on Dec.7th.

During this time Kay, had come to Bremerton, to stay with me, while the work was going on. We lived on a hill across the bay.

After the ship was ready for sea duty and we were steaming out the bay, I looked back at the top or the hill and I could see Kay, waving a table cloth that she had been sewing on. It was about 3 years before I saw Kay, Again.

When we were out to sea we learned that we were in the 7th Fleet, which was made up from all the battleships that could be saved, from the attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7th.

The 7th Fleet, consisted of 7 Battleships, 4 Carriers, 6 Heavy Cruisers, 6 Light Cruisers and about 20 Destroyers. We are now a full force Task Force.

After we left Bremerton, we went to Long Beach and had gunnery practice, then we were told we were on our way to the war in the South Pacific.

On our way to the war we went to Pearl Harbor. This is where they filled the ship with all the things we needed like food, ammunition and fuel. It took three days and nights to get the ship loaded.

We were on our way. Every night the Chaplain would talk to the the men and then he would say a prayer. We had been at sea about 2 weeks and the Chaplain started wondering when we were going to see some action. Can you believe when we finally got into action the Chaplain was the first to crack.

USS West Virginia Navy Chaplain

On a battleship there are a lot or men, 2000 Sailors, 200 Navy officers and 60 marines plus 3 Marine Officers. Most of the Marines were assigned to the 40 millimeter Anti-Aircraft guns. That put us upon the superstructure where we could see everything that was happening.

We find that we are going to the Philippines, to help liberate some or the men that were taken prisoners at Wake island and those that were in the Bataan Death march.

When the 7th Fleet went to Leyte, to begin shelling the beach so the Marines and the Army could make a landing, the West Virginia was was flying the same flag she was  flying on December 7th 1941 when she sank at Pearl Harbor.

The first shot that was fired from a ship at Leyte Gulf, to get the, land, back,was fired by the West Virginia. We shelled the beach for three days and nights.

Bright and early on the morning of the fourth day there were so many ships on the horizon that
you could not count them.

The landing craft were on their way to the beaches. I still feel lucky that I never had to make a beach landing. That’s where the real war is.

We left Leyte and went to Luzon. We shelled Luz0n, for three days and nights. Then, the Marines would land and we would just stay in the bay and fire the Main Battery (16-inch guns) at special targets. When the l6-inch guns fire you can see the bullet go through the air until it explodes on the land.

About the time we were starting to see enemy planes, the orders were for everyone to stay inside when the big guns were fired. But when the planes started to come in, we had to be outside. This was was a problem. They asked the Marines to go outside and they would fire one round to see if it was safe. We laid flat on the deck. I laid and they fired the first shot. We said we were O.K. They then tired two guns at once. No Problem. Then they fired all eight guns at once and we were standing up watching the smoke billow out of the guns. We were all heroes.

We started to see more and more Jap planes now. They would not come very close to the ships.

This was as far as Dale was able to write. We did not locate these notes until after the booklet was printed.

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