Special Liberty Trip to Manila, Philippines

April 4, 1945 Special Liberty Trip to Manila, Philippine Islands

You can’t imagine how happy I am at this minute heading towards the shores of Manila, weaving past an estimated seventy-five sunken Japanese ships. They present dangerous navigational obstacles for the traffic that fills this bay daily. Most of these monuments project partially above the surface of the water, with buoys to mark their dangerous presence to boats and shipping.

Thirty crewmen from my ship and as many from other ships were picked to go on the first liberty allowed into the recaptured city of Manila. A large cruiser, acting as host and hotel, brought us here for a two-day holiday. Continue reading

Posted in Diary Entries | 10 Comments

Radio Press News featuring Frank

Cover of the USS LaVallette's Radio Press News, February 24, 1944 "My Gawd Frank! What are you doing in there?"

During World War II on the USS LaVallette, “Frank” would be tracking targets on the round screen of the PPI scope in the Radar Room, identifying incoming planes. Television was not available in 1944. Based on this cartoon, George was way ahead of his time!

Everyone was encouraged to buy bonds to finance the war. Typed on the bottom of this February 24, 1944 cover, crew members Berg, Palmer, Dickenson, Pritchett, Shedd and Johnson were all recognized for being “yesterday’s bond buyers.”

Posted in Humor | 4 Comments

McClosky Reporting Bogy

George F. McClosky Gun #2 (5”) “reporting bogy” USS LaVallette DD448, January 7, 1945

When the US had air control, Eisenberg was relieved of his battle station in CIC (combat information center) on the USS LaVallette and able to sketch. Shipmate George McClosky reported an enemy plane just as this drawing was completed.

Posted in Drawings | 11 Comments

Lt. Roth killed in the Battle of Rennell Island

Lt. Roth, killed in the Battle of Rennell Island while serving on the USS La Vallette. January 29, 1943

Friend and shipmate, Lt. Roth, was killed on January 29, 1943 in the Battle of Rennell Island while serving on the USS La Vallette.

Shortly after his death, George drew Roth’s portrait using a magnifying glass to enlarge a “thumbnail size photo” of his buddy. The last annotation in the lower right corner reads, “He got word his wife had a baby just before he was killed.”

Posted in Drawings | 2 Comments

Jumping Ship At Night

April 22, 1945 – Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippine Islands

We were enjoying all the comforts of a South Sea Island vacation resort.  Our hotel of course was the enormous, bathtub-like ARD7, a US Navy floating dry dock. Its main suite was occupied by our ship, the USS La Vallette DD448, now being patched up after being hit by a mine during the taking of Corregidor.

Dockmaster at dry dock ARD7, Luzon, Subic Bay, Philippines March 31, 1945

These days of repair have been fun and games for all of us. We were bursting with joy, knowing we would soon be heading for home. This was a given. We all knew that each of us would be awarded a thirty-day survivor’s leave, and then by the time our ship was overhauled and ready for action, we would have enjoyed a few more months of peace and safety. Now that’s happiness! Continue reading

Posted in Diary Entries | 3 Comments

Washing Dress Blues

Washing "dress blues"on deck of the USS LaVallette, WWII.

There was always a “joker” who believed the “scuttlebutt” that our ship was scheduled to return to the States for a long overdue and well deserved rest. Washing “dress blues” at this time was the first signs of over zealous optimism.

Jack Wilkes was officially in charge of the ship’s laundry. If the “scuttlebutt” was true, our affable friend Jack, would have been busy day and night.

Posted in Humor, Paintings | 9 Comments

Christmas 1943

Christmas on the USS LaVallette, South Pacific 1943

Santa finds his way into the USS LaVallette via the ship’s stack.

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments

Primi from Luzon

"Primi" a friend and native of Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines. April 13, 1945

George and fellow shipmates befriended local Filipinos while the USS LaVallette was being overhauled in a US Navy floating dry dock in Subic Bay. “Primi” signed his name and home town to the bottom left hand side of his portrait. It appears to read P. Berzo, Banicain.

Posted in Drawings | Leave a comment

Mess Hall Mess

Mess Hall mess on the USS LaVallette, 1943.

Rough seas on the USS LaVallette provided crew members with a different challenge, and a source of humor at best.

Posted in Drawings, Humor | 2 Comments

Bernard Waller

Bernard Waller aboard USS LaVallette, January 7, 1945

Bernard Waller, one of the most articulate man aboard the USS La Vallette, was assigned to the ship’s galley because of his color.

Bernard Waller, Pearl Harbor, August 20 1943

Back of Bernard Waller postcard.

Posted in Paintings, Photographs | 5 Comments