Mrs. Richard Edwards e-mail dated 11/18/02:
Mr. Lamoreaux remembers the boy who looked so very young. His name was Grey or Gray. The Hemminger did not have a brig until the incident where Seaman Gray fell asleep while on duty. Now mind you, during war-time, this was a very serious offense so when Gray was found sleeping on duty, Lt. McNalley; who was never known for his kindness; promptly reported this infraction. The Captain ordered a brig be built to hold the lone prisoner. Scotty remembered the young man's brother, who was a commissioned officer on another ship, came to visit his brother, he was horrified to find him serving time in a brig and even more horrified to find out what the offense was.
Not too many memories of Pearl Harbor directly, but he does remember the Hemminger made numerous trips to the port for the purpose of training submarines. They would go out onto the open sea and the subs would fire torpedoes at them for practice. Fortunately, the torpedoes were all dummies...at least they hoped that was always the case!
The Hemminger was anchored in Eniwetok. There were many ships awaiting repairs anchored at moorings, so things were pretty close. Another ship was sailing on its way out of port, when it accidentally clipped and severed the anchor chain of the Hemminger. The Captain of the offending ship radioed to the Hemminger to apologize. Much to the astonishment of the crew, Captain Bodler; who was not exactly a kindhearted or forgiving man; said, " No apology is expected or needed, that's the fortunes of war."
Scotty definitely remembers what happened when the Hemminger got orders to go to 'Flight Operations'. What happened was he began to sweat profusely! He knew what he was in store for! Yep, sure enough! As soon as they got into position to run a screen against any possible enemy subs waiting to torpedo the carrier, they had to go into...mind you, I said into the waves. When that happened, poor Scotty spent the whole time throwing up! He always got so seasick when that happened. It was something he never could get used to. He said he even got sick as a little boy when he rode on the streetcar. One time he was on the flight deck and couldn't throw up over the side, so he had a bucket he used for that purpose. He was busy doing his thing with the bucket when he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was one of the new officers asking if he could use that bucket too! At least he wasn't the only one.
At Kerramo Retto, they were moored for repairs. This base was fairly close to Japan and picket ships had to be sent out to watch for the infamous 'kamikaze' planes. The 'kamikaze' flew into U.S. bases with one purpose in mind; to crash their aircraft and themselves into American ships and planes and try to kill as many U.S. servicemen as possible. The picket ship's duty was to warn the base of incoming aircraft and shoot them down if they were the enemy. Smokescreens, thick heavy smokescreens were also deployed as a means of concealing the ships and planes.
I believe it was while they were at Kerramo Retto that they received an order to leave the base at such and such a time and rendezvous with an oil tanker at a certain longitude and a certain latitude in the middle of the ocean for refueling. Most of the crew wondered how could they find the tanker in the middle of all that water....with no road map or signs to lead the way. What if they missed each other? What would they do when they ran out of fuel? But, at the designated time, at the designated spot, there was the USS Brazos with the fuel for them to continue their assignment. The assignment was to search for survivors of a downed aircraft. Unfortunately, there was no sign of survivors, bodies or even any wreckage.
It was during this search, the Hemminger crossed the International Date Line. Now when you cross the Date Line, you instantly go from today to tomorrow. And the search took them back and forth, back and forth, from yesterday into today into tomorrow into today...well, you get the idea. Scotty laughed and said they didn't know whether they were coming or going! They didn't know what day it was! They didn't know where they were going or whether they were already there! Confused? They were too.
Another time, an SOS came to go out and search for survivors from a downed aircraft. This time, they did find some survivors clinging onto what was left of the wing. There were also the bodies of those who were not as fortunate. This must have been the downed C54 Skymaster. Scotty didn't know what type of aircraft it was, just that they did rescue some survivors.
Scotty does remember the four Phillipino's who had apparently been fishing in an outrigger canoe and a storm came up suddenly. They somehow lost their oars and were swept further out to sea. A carrier spotted them but could not stop to pick them up. If they stopped for any reason, it made them more susceptible as a target for enemy torpedoes. The Hemminger was deployed to rescue the poor fellows.
There were no movies that had any special meaning to Scotty other than they depicted home. He enjoyed most of them because it was a welcome break from the routine. He does specifically recall watching a movie on board ship, outside, on deck, in the rain. Almost everyone's shoes filled up with rainwater, but no one cared because the rain was warm and after all, they were getting to watch a movie about home!
As for the 92 Marines that came on board to head home with the crew of the Hemminger, there are recollections of 92 very seasick marines for a major part of the trip. These poor fellows were not accustomed to being on a ship and demonstrated that fact in the worst way possible. There were 2 young gyreens who sat down at the mess table to eat. One would not eat unless the other one did. They looked at each other, grabbed their stomachs and ran for the deck rail.
Now as I mentioned earlier, Scotty never did get accustomed to the pitch and roll of the sea. You can imagine how bad the pitch and roll is during a typhoon. You could look over the rail and straight up this big gray wall reaching 20 or 30 feet above you, and it all came crashing down on top of you. One time in particular, the Hemminger was warned of an approaching typhoon. They always tried to avoid them because ships had been lost by the rolling motion of the huge waves. The waves would roll the ship back and forth and sometimes it would roll too far and not right itself, then over it would go! Not good. The ship and hands would go down! Yes, definitely avoid the typhoons. But, they didn't quite make it and caught the edge of it. And so it was up and down, up and down, back and forth, back and forth, until 3/4 of the crew felt their stomachs were up while they were all down.
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