Mrs. Richard Edwards e-mail dated 11/19/02:
I cannot imagine what a tremendous task it must have been to provide the supplies for the Hemminger storeroom. And preparing all those meals must have been a challenge. One time, the mess ran out of meat.
It was learned that Australian Mutton was available from another ship and so the meat was transferred to the Hemminger. A lot of the men didn't like it and refused to eat it. Scotty said he thought it was pretty good.
The Hemminger participated in the invasion of Okinawa. They had to run a screen for the big Battleship, New York. The New York had many guns, including the great big boys. The Hemminger was located about a quarter of a mile from the New York. Every time the New York would fire off a salvo from the big guns, the force of the blast would literally blast the Hemminger back almost that distance. My uncle swears this is true! He says the Hemminger actually slide back in the water with every salvo.
No special memories of the holidays. I don't know why. He also said nothing special about mail call other than news from home. I am afraid his family was not good at keeping in touch. He was the youngest in a large family of 9 boys and 1 girl. They were all born to deaf-mute parents who became poor when the father was overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of such a large family. The father was a well educated man who owned and printed his own newspaper at one time. He unfortunately took to drink and that was his downfall. A couple of the children died before Scotty was born, so he never knew them. Scotty left home at the age of 17 and worked, so he never had a close association with some of his siblings.
He never went through the Panama Canal since he disembarked in San Diego and took the train to Bremerton, Washington. From there, he received his official discharge and was able to return home to a job that was awaiting him. The railroad kept his job available for his return. He was just thankful to return home safe and in one piece. So many were not. He gave thanks the war was finally over. He did mention the able-bodied men who never volunteered for any kind of duty were not well thought-of.
As Scotty recalled each and every one of these experiences, he began to recall an incident that apparently typified what happened to too many young men who went off to war. It seems there was a young man in Boot Camp named Sanford. Now Sanford happened to be from, of all places, Rawlins, Wyoming! Scotty was from Rawlins also! They became somewhat friendly and when they got leave at the end of Boot Camp to go home before overseas assignment, they traveled together. After arriving in Rawlins, Sanford brought his wife and three little children to meet Scotty. When the time came for them to go back to San Diego, Sanford's wife cried and cried. She grabbed Scotty's arm and begged him to look after Sanford. She sobbed, "you watch out for him....you take care of Sanford!" As fate would have it, they were assigned different duties and he never saw Sanford again.
After the war, after Scotty returned to home and job, he remembered the poor wife and the little children and wondered what happened to Sanford. One day, he saw Sanford's brother-in-law and was almost afraid to ask what had happened to him....did he make it back....was he OK? The brother-in-law scratched his head, laughed, and said, "yes, he made it back safe and sound and was living in Salt Lake City. But his wife left him for a 4-F truck driver about 2 weeks after he left for duty!"
Such is life!
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