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By Ernest A. Herr

(Crew member who boarded at commissioning)


    An aircraft carrier is an exciting and amazing ship. It is a great place for a sailor to be, especially in wartime.  Planes are taking off and landing all day long so there is never a dull moment. But, at anytime, the ship could be in the cross-hairs of an enemy bomber, sub or warship. When you first come aboard however, that thought hasn't yet entered your mind.

    If you're a new recruit, your eyes are bulging. If you're an old salt like I was (almost two years of destroyer duty), you are almost as excited but, of course, you can't let the other guys know this.  After all, as an old destroyer man you have a certain image to project and therefore you must appear "cool" at all times. Well, that's the image.

    If we can stretch our imaginations a bit, we can go back for a walk across the flight deck of an aircraft carrier at sea in early 1944. Not a very safe place to walk though, as a carrier is packed with high explosives. Everywhere you look, you see bombs, torpedoes, depth charges and rockets. Not as easily seen is the high octane gasoline which is probably even more of a menace. And in case of an enemy attack, carriers are the number one target -- not a very comforting thought.

    The flight deck on this carrier is longer than a football field and just as noisy as one during game time, maybe more so. It is a beehive of activity. If planes are not taking off or landing, they are being taxied around. Walking the flight deck requires that you keep your eyes open at all times and never take a step backwards. Crew members have backed into the big whirling props.  It's the kind of mistake that you make only once. Huge elevators move fighters and bombers between the flight and hanger decks creating even more racket.

    Add to this the noise of engines being revved up, bells and whistles blowing, the speaker system blasting out orders and the horns of the motor vehicles honking (if anyone happens to get in their way) as they move planes in and out of parking positions.   If peace and quiet is what on you like, you would not be happy here.

    For an overview of this operation, we can climb to a platform that is located on the mast and is about fifty feet above the deck. From here we have a nice view of the bridge and flight deck and we can actually sit down and relax as we watch the planes take off on their missions against the Japanese. If we wait long enough, we can watch them when they return. We keep our fingers crossed until they do.  Sometimes they do not.

    Looking down to the flight deck, we can see a young pilot slipping his helmet on over his bright red hair.  He climbs into the cockpit of his fighter plane and revs up the engine.  He gets the signal that all is ready for take off and races his plane down the deck.  As he nears the end of his run, his plane lifts off and climbs quickly. In an instant though, the engine sputters and quits. Veering slightly to the right, the plane moves out of the path of the carrier but in a matter of seconds the plane plunges into the water.

    All those watching jump to their feet as the plane hits the water and quickly disappears. Will the pilot cut himself clear of his safety harness and get to the surface?  He does not.  Escort ships move into position for possible rescue but the plane vanishes as if it were made of stone. There are no words to describe what we have just witnessed but if you happen to have a tear running down your face, you probably would not be the only one.

    This is how the crew live and die on a carrier. It is nerve racking and heart breaking. On the smaller carriers (the type we happen to be on), you might imagine that the duty would be a little less demanding and life would be a simpler than on one of the big jobs. Not so, the smaller landing and take-off areas require even more skills from both the pilots and crew. Our pilots are great, the very best, they have to be or they won't be around long. Even doing everything right doesn't help if your engine quits. And on a small carrier, crew members get to know one another better so a loss of a shipmate is even more personal.

    As we watch, the remaining fighter planes take off successfully. Next the bombers move into position and, one at a time, catapult off. This operation is precarious as the bombers often dip low after launch and have to struggle to climb since they usually are carrying a torpedo or heavy bomb load.  If you look around, you can see many upturned palms as crew members seem to think they can help get the plane into the air somehow by giving a little upward push.  Silly, but If you find yourself doing the same, no one will even notice.  If a bomber fails to develop sufficient air speed, it plunges into the ocean.  Fortunately, the crew of the plane can be rescued since bombers sink slowly providing plenty of time for rescue by one of  the escort ships.

    Of course, there is more to a carrier than just the flight deck.  If we return to the main deck, then go down one level, we will be on the hanger deck. Here planes can be worked on and moved about without blocking the use of the flight deck. If the ship happens to be out of the combat area, there is plenty of room for such activities as volley ball, movies and similar activities. If you like to jog, you can do that too. In a pinch, a flight elevator can be lowered to provide a stage area for such activities as Hula girls if you happen to be in Hawaii.

    Another interesting place is the Combat Information Center (known as CIC) where all airborne planes are plotted on a large circular disk of clear plastic. The ship is plotted as the center point and the planes (and anything else that might be out there) are shown on the screen. The screen is constantly updated as the radar beam scans around in a circle picking up everything in the air and on the sea. Any unidentified "blips" are plotted on the screen and our aircraft are vectored in to deal with them. Usually, they are just enemy scout planes that quickly hurry off. In 1944, this is all "top secret" stuff.

    Once our planes complete their mission, they face another precarious situation. It is called "landing." Anytime the pilot can walk away from his plane without help, the landing is considered successful. The planes start their landing procedure by forming and flying in a large circle that stretches across many miles. After flying the circle, each plane must touch down at a precise spot on the deck. This wouldn't be so bad but even in a relatively calm sea the deck of an escort carrier is constantly pitching. Throw in a rain squall or some delay that has the planes landing in partial darkness and you've got a problem.

    The problem involves the tail hook on the plane which must catch one of the cables that stretch across the deck at about fifty foot intervals. This procedure causes the plane to come to a full stop in about a hundred feet or so. Failing to catch a cable, the barrier cable (about half way down the deck) snaps up and the plane plunges into it. This really damages the plane and often injures the pilot. Any plane that suffers this procedure is picked up by a crane and without fanfare is dropped over the side (after some valuable instruments are removed). The pilot is usually taken to "sick bay" (our medical center).

    Sometimes the barrier cable fails to hold back the plane and it goes plummeting into other parked planes. In one occurrence that caused considerable damage, a pilot radioed in that his throttle was stuck and he could not get his speed below 200 knots.  The Captain's decision to allow the pilot to land risked damage to the ship but undoubtedly saved the pilot's life.  At 200 knots, his plane did not catch any of the tail hook cables causing the plane to plummet into the barrier cable.

    The cable broke and the plane tore up a lot of wooden deck before it came to rest. It was tipped up and looked as if it were going to tumble off the bow and into the sea. Much to everyone's relief the plane settled back onboard. This can make for a very bad day, especially when the pilot is pulled from the plane and is carried off on a stretcher. It is at this time you can often hear the phrase, "If man were meant to fly, he would have been born with wings." But most days go well and it is then that it is possible to appreciate what a great and amazing operation this carrier is.

    When landing, planes must come in as quickly as possible. There could be a commander of a Japanese sub out there ready to take advantage of his knowledge that the carrier is not about to do any "zigzags" for awhile.  Once a plane has caught the tail-hook, it must be released immediately and allowed to taxi forward as there is almost always another plane seconds away from landing. Nerve racking for the landing crews? You bet, if the plane you're working on doesn't move forward, the next plane would land right on top of you.

    And there are plenty of "wave-offs" where the plane is just not right for a safe landing. At that time, the pilot guns the engine and slowly tries to regain air speed. You would swear he couldn't make it back up but usually he has a head-wind in his favor and the forward speed of the ship. Even so, you feel you could reach out and shake hands with him as he goes by.

    Carriers come in various sizes from large to medium and small. We happen to be on the HOGGATT BAY, one of the small ones called escort carriers that are named after bays or famous battles. Most of our large carriers were now resting comfortably on the bottom of the ocean in the South Pacific.  Originally envisioned as a way to protect convoys from submarine attack in the Atlantic, the escort carriers worked out so well in that role that they were sent to the Pacific also. Here they were often used in the same role as the larger carriers and were prominent in many an island invasion. When the suicide planes were introduced by the Japanese, the battle situation worsened and more escort carriers were pressed into front-line service where they took considerable losses.

    The escort carriers proved to be more effective if they were combined into groups so their combined number of aircraft could provide a substantial strike force more akin to that of a large aircraft carrier. However, a major drawback to using this type of carrier in the forward areas is that this type of ship is very thin skinned and one small incoming bomb or torpedo that happens to hit right can set off a massive explosion. When the escort carrier LISCOME BAY was torpedoed in the Southwest Pacific in 1944, sailors on ships over a half-mile away were blown off their feet by the explosion. The whole ship exploded in one gigantic blast. In case our carrier is hit like this while you're aboard, plan on making a quick trip from here to eternity.

    If the incoming bomb, shell or torpedo doesn't hit anything that explodes, these thin skinned ships can stave off disaster a little longer. In the case of the GAMBIER BAY, another sister escort carrier, it took so many hits that no one actually counted them all. These were eight inch armor piercing shells from Japanese cruisers that moved in and caught our carrier force off guard. The shells came in one side of the ship and went out the other without exploding and ended up doing only minor damage. Finally, one of these eight inch shells hit near the water line and flooded an engine room but the ship managed to survive for over an hour which gave most of the crew a chance to get off. In this situation, we could end up, in Navy talk, "taking a swim."

    Notwithstanding, our carrier is a great ship -- plenty of room. Not like many of the smaller ships where there is little room and you're always cracking your head on something. On a small ship, it seems no matter where you are, whether in the mess hall or taking a shower, if you take a step backwards, you're stepping on someone's toes (don't try to make anything out of this). A carrier is not that way, there is just a lot of open space.

    By early 1944, we were pretty much on the offensive in the Southwest Pacific. This day our planes are on a "search and destroy" mission looking for Japanese subs. The Japanese are moving from their forward bases in the Solomons to more secure rear bases. Subs are being used to carry personnel and anything else that needs moved. Our planes are equipped with depth charges and magnetic torpedoes. If the torpedoes can be dropped close to an enemy sub, they have the ability to seek and destroy it.

    By the end of May, our task group encountered Japanese submarines and our escort destroyers were able to score hits causing underwater explosions with heavy oil slicks and debris (Japanese records show the submarine was sunk). During our group's next encounter about a week later, a submarine under attack actually rose to the surface and was hit by an estimated ten 5" shells and 40 millimeter gunfire from one of our escorts, the destroyer USS Taylor. The submarine then sunk stern first. This combination of spotting subs from the air and then having our escorts finish them off proved to be a deadly combination to use against the Japanese.

    At this time we were sailing along the equator just south of the big Japanese naval base at Truk in an area known as the doldrums. With a name like that, who would want to stay here long. Fortunately, the sub traffic thinned out enough that by late June we were able to move north to the Marshall Islands for what we hoped would be better hunting. Finding no subs there we extended out search to Saipan, Tinian and Guam but with no more contacts. With movies on the hanger deck with a nice sea breeze and plenty of good food, the war had taken a turn for the better. Who needs the Japanese anyway?

    By September our vacation time was running out as we moved to the Palau Islands to support our invasion forces in their latest assault. Our planes located Japanese submarines for our escorts and depth charges were dropped but results were uncertain. With the shortage of subs in this area, our task group moved up to support the striking groups in the Philippines. Here air cover was provided for the cruisers the Houston and Canberra that had been badly damaged off Formosa and were being menaced by submarines.  Our planes were able to drive off the subs so that these ships (traveling at three knots) were able to proceed out of the area. Admiral Halsey praised the operation of our group.

    By late December, this ship was made a part of Task Group 77 (made up of battleships, cruisers, destroyers and escort carriers of Carrier Division 29) and proceeded via the South China Sea to the Manila area of the Philippine Islands. Our planes were now encountering and engaging Japanese fighter planes and Kamikazes. On January 3rd, a single Japanese suicide bomber managed to sneak through at dusk after all of the fighters had landed and managed to get within 100 yards of the HMAS SHROPSHIRE before being splashed. The plane hit about 1000 yards from the HOGGATT BAY.

    The following day, two more suicide bombers came through low cloud cover crashing astern of the USS CALIFORNIA and the USS LUNGA POINT. Another formation of bombers came in at a high level and managed to hit one of the carriers of the group, the OMMANEY BAY (CVE 79) and set it afire. It later exploded and sank. The following day, another suicide plane managed to get past our Combat Air Patrol and crashed into the cruiser LOUISVILLE. The escort carrier MANILA BAY (CVE 61) and a destroyer were also hit and sustained damage.

    The HOGGATT BAY managed to contribute sixteen fighters to meet the enemy fighters on January 4th, thirty-two on January 5th and twenty on January 6th while keeping about a dozen torpedo planes on anti-submarine patrols. These planes along with the other escort carriers planes provided substantial protection to the Task Group. On the morning of January 13th, suicide planes again attacked and one plane managed to crash into the deck of the nearby carrier SALAMAUA (CVE 96). The bomb tore lose from the plane and went through the ship to pierce the water line but it failed to explode. The ship survived. Another suicide plane believed to be coming in our direction, was shot down by our gun crews and our ship sustained no damage.

    One of our pilots shot down a Zeke bomber while another one of our pilots was shot down by friendly fire as he attacked a suicide plane. The pilot was rescued by friendly ships. A torpedo plane of ours was lost to enemy action while bombing enemy installations. Another battle-damaged torpedo bomber had a 100 pound bomb explode as the plane landed. The pilot, Squadron Commander, Lieutenant Commander Webb, two air crewman, and eleven ship's company crew members died as a result of the blast. The resulting fire on the flight deck was quickly extinguished and the flight deck was back in operation after a few hours. Another torpedo bomber was lost while bombing enemy installations on the same day.

    On January 17, orders were received for the ship to return to San Diego for overhaul, repair and alterations. By April 6, 1945, the HOGGATT BAY with Rear Admiral Martin in command and a new Composit Squadron Ninety Nine came aboard headed out to join the Fifth Fleet to take part in the Okinawa campaign. In this campaign, the ship provided air cover for the ships in the vicinity of Okinawa and flew in direct support of troops, providing observation, photographic hops and food drops for troops mired in heavy mud. Enemy airfields were bombed and equipment was destroyed by rockets from our planes.

    While relieving Carrier Division 22 on June 7, 1945, our carrier group had two enemy aircraft penetrate our formation, one of which crashed into the flight deck of the USS NATONA BAY (CVE 62) causing slight damage while the other aircraft was shot down attempting a suicide dive into the USS SARGENT BAY (CVE 83).  The HOGGATT BAY's port battery was hitting the suicide plane as it crashed into the water about a hundred yards ahead of the SARGENT BAY.

    During this period, the air squadron flew 1327 sorties of which 676 were combat missions. About fifty tons of bombs were dropped on enemy airfields and installations and ninety tons of bombs were dropped on other ground installations. Over a thousand five-inch rockets and hundreds of rounds of .50 caliber ammunition were expended.

    This resulted the destruction of seventeen anti-aircraft batteries, twenty-three buildings, small boats, oil, fuel and supply dumps, troop shelters, eleven mortar and heavy gun positions, thirty-nine caves housing enemy troops, two trucks, one bridge, two aircraft on the ground and two in the air. Remarkably, only one aircraft, a bomber, was lost to enemy action. In this case, the aircraft made a water landing with the pilot being rescued.

    On July 26, the ship was ordered to proceed to Adak, Alaska to join the 4th Fleet but the orders were canceled due to the Japanese surrender.  Instead, planes from the ship took part in the American take-over as they located several prisoner-of-war camps and participated in supply drops of food, newspapers, magazines and medical supplies to American prisoners. They even had the pleasure of evacuating Lieutenant Colonel Devereux, the Marine Defense Commander of Wake Island at the time of its capture by the Japanese.

    Finally, the ship was reassigned to the Fifth Fleet in order to cover the Eighth Army landing at Northern Honshu. Upon completion of the occupation, the ship proceeded to Tokyo Bay where it was assigned to transport duty to help carry home the large numbers of our troops scattered through the area, a great way to finish up a outstanding adventure.

After this whirlwind tour of the war in the Pacific from the deck of an aircraft carrier, you are probably ready to be mustered out and returned to civilian duty. And maybe that's just the best part of the whole adventure -- going home.




I reported aboard the escort carrier HOGGATT BAY (CVE 75) in Astoria, Oregon in January of 1944 after completing a thirty-three day leave in my home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Happily, I had been able to make up for the almost two years of life missed while aboard while a destroyer in the South Pacific.  Well, almost anyway.

The exploits of those thirty-three days are too risque to be chronicled here and would probably be better told using a pen name. This way it is possible to attribute all of questionable behavior to someone else thus saving family and friends the shame of knowing or of being related to you. This seems like a good idea.

After reporting aboard and saluting the quarter-deck, I noticed the rifle on the shoulder of the seaman on watch there. I hoped his rifle would not be loaded as experience on previous ships had shown me that a youth with a loaded rifle or pistol is often a danger to everyone in the vicinity. The lesson was yet to be learned on this ship as indeed those on watch were actually carrying loaded weapons.

This would soon be changed but not until two young sailors were killed (innocent bystanders) who happened to be in the line of fire as someone on watch was showing his weapon to a friend. But that was long ago and now mostly forgotten by all I'm sure, except for the families of those who died as a result of this friendly fire.

Walking along the quarter deck, I became aware that a transformation had taken place in my thinking since my days aboard a destroyer in the South Pacific. This probably happened to many other servicemen who had lived in fear for their lives over long periods of time.

This transformation came about after realizing the powerful effect fear had on my life for the past two years. While serving on board the destroyer, I noticed that officers and crew, myself included, seemed to be constantly waiting for something terrible to happen. And, of course, with good reason. After returning to the States without so much as a scratch, I recognized, as I'm sure my other shipmates did, that all of the fear had accomplished nothing positive and had only managed to make life miserable. If it would be possible to eliminate that horrible fear, then a life in combat would not be nearly so bad.

Somehow it had become possible for me to put fear somewhere in the back of the brain where it no longer was a source of constant agony. Bravery had finally arrived. It was nice to walk the deck of the carrier without that horrible, constant and nagging fear. Being brave was a piece of cake once you got the hang of it.

When I reported aboard, I had the rating of Radioman First Class and found that I was the senior radioman aboard and therefore the radioman-in-charge. Well, this would soon change I reasoned as a Chief Radioman would soon arrive to relieve me of my "in-charge" responsibilities. However, this was not to be and the ship sailed with me "in-charge." With two years of combat experience under my belt, I was full of confidence and set up an organization of some forty-some radioman into the proper watches and away we sailed without so much as a problem.

From my location in Main Radio, I was able to observe and get to know many of the officers and crew of the ship, even the Captain and Executive Officer passed Main Radio on the way to their quarters. While the Captain and Exec were far too busy to stand and chat, nevertheless it was easy to see that they were extremely capable and always radiating an air of friendliness and encouragement. I quickly felt confident that the ship was in the best of hands.

Not all was "peaches and cream" however. Some unpleasant incidents did occur. One that comes to mind was that of the radioman with the broken heart. This sailor was in his mid or late twenties when he went off to war and had to leave his wife and children. He tried his best to do the right thing but he just was too devastated by being away from his family. He deserted and headed for home where he was picked up by the "Shore Patrol." We never heard the outcome of this but somehow we all wished him well anyway.  At least, he tried.

Another case that comes to mind involved our ship's weather officer. A few days before our ship was due to cross the equator preparations were being made for the big ceremony of "The Ancient Order Of The Deep." All stops were being pulled. If you had never crossed the equator before, you were in big trouble. Fortunately for me, this would not be my first crossing.

Thrones were being constructed for King Neptune (Neptunus Rex -- Ruler of the Raging Main), Davy Jones (His Majesty's Scribe) and court "hangers on" who would soon be "arriving" aboard. A large tank (like a swimming pool) was being constructed out of wood and canvass to be used in the final stage of the initiations. This tank was to be located on one of the large plane elevators and lowered until it was about ten feet down from the flight deck. After a full set of the prescribed initiations had been administered to the "pollywogs" (those who have never crossed the equator), the tank would be used as the "grand finale."

Into this pool, the pollywogs would be pushed using a special chair that would tip backwards. Actually, they would slide out, head first, upside down and drop down the elevator shaft and into the tank of water. They would go into the tank a pollywog but would come out of the tank a "shellback" (someone that has crossed the equator), half drowned, of course, but a shellback none the less. This kind of thrill would probably be hard to duplicate in anything less than a combat situation.

While this type of initiation might seem silly to many, deciding not to take part in such activities was not a wise decision. Unfortunately our on-board Weather Officer made such a decision. He decided he would have no part in any of these activities. Bad move. When I finally got to see him in the brig after his run-in with King Neptune's motleys, he was really crushed. His head had been shaved and dyed a dark purple. His uniform was dilapidated and he looked more like a man heading to the guillotine. Little could be done to console him then, but finally he did put this behind him but to me he never seemed to be quite the same person. Maybe he eventually was a better person for it, I don't know.  He can be seen in this photo taken during the initiations.  He is the person sitting in the chair with his face down and his shaved stained head showing all too well.

Fortunately most officers and crew took the initiations without much fuss although we heard that on a sister ship someone had died from drowning when they were dropped backwards into the large tank. It seems in this case, someone had carried the initiations a little too far by adding oil to the water making it almost impossible to swim out. After this happened, we hear the initiations were curtailed somewhat.

Several months later during a lull in activities, examinations were held on board for those of the crew who wished to try to advance to a higher rating. I took advantage of this opportunity and took the exam for Chief Radioman and managed to pass. After this promotion, I was sent back to the States on a new assignment and training. Well, that's what made the Navy so great: lots of training.

Leaving your shipmates and seeing them for what you believe will be the last time is not easy even when heading toward Stateside duty for awhile. Leaving the HOGGATT BAY somewhere in the Marianas, I was transferred to a large troop transport ship that was heading for the States with a few thousand other soldiers, marines and sailors.

While boarding the transport in the harbor in late evening, a bomber making what was probably an emergency landing onto a nearby airfield, crashed into an ammunition dump. The resulting fireworks provided a more than adequate send-off for the troop ship but at a terrible cost. By that time however, most any kind of disaster was taken in stride with nothing more than a sad side-ways glance at the display. That seems to be what war is all about.

Being one of the last to board before the ship got underway, my quarters naturally were the bottom of the barrel. Or in the case, the bottom of the ship and practically on the keel. After coming down so many decks, I finally thought to myself, "I never realized the ocean was so deep." When I finally found my bunk, it was occupied by a young sailor who was gathering his gear as he prepared to go ashore to his new assignment. While he did this, we and other sailors nearby chatted awhile.

They asked how long I had been out in this area and when I told them it was over two years, one good looking fellow came over and patted me on the shoulder and told me not to worry, they would take over now and carry on the fight. When I looked at these young kids so naive and yet so determined, and with so much courage, I felt they surely would do a great job. I was leaving feeling fully confident in these young kids. After all when I arrived in the South Pacific, I was only nineteen myself.

Before I could unpack my gear and get comfortable, a seaman came to me with orders to follow him. Back up all those decks we went until we were on the top deck where a rather deluxe area had been set aside as Chief Petty Officer quarters. Rank has it's privileges I was finding out, as I made myself very comfortable. The ship was soon underway and heading for the States.

After a week or so at sea, our troopship (loaded to the gills) sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was less than a year before that I had return to the States on a damaged destroyer, the USS O'BANNON, and had sailed under this Golden Gate. What a beautiful sight and so easy to get used to.  A large troopship, however requires special facilities for mooring, so we headed toward a large dock.

It was a special event (for everyone, I guess) and a heavy quiet settled over the ship as we approached the dock. Everyone crowded to the forward part of the ship. Looking over my shoulder was like looking into a sports stadium crowded with onlookers. As we pulled close, a brass band (on the dock) started playing and employees near the dock area came out to welcome us home. The pitch of excitement grew.

It was possible to hear the band below and to hear comments that any loud-mouth cared to contribute to the occasion. When a pretty girl came closer to the ship and looked up and waved, someone yelled, "Hey, look at that beautiful blond."  When a long legged brunette walked near the ship, someone else yelled, "Look at the legs on that girl."

After each comment, a period of silence ensued as the thousands of eyes took in the view. As more people joined the welcoming group and as the ship neared the dock, a policeman walked forward to insure that relative peace was maintained. Then a voice from one of the higher decks rang out and startled the quiet as someone yelled, "Look at the rear-end (not the exact wording) on that policeman."

With a burst of laughter that would have shivered a ship's timbers in days of old, it was apparent that these returning servicemen had not lost their sense of humor.  Our welcome home seemed complete.




  Response from Readers


From: "John D. Richards" <>
To: <>
Subject: CVE 75
Date: Thursday, December 23, 2004 11:14 AM

Dear Mr. Herr,

My wife and I were delighted to read your account of life aboard CVE 75. We believe that he sailor pictured sitting next to King Neptune is my wife's late father, Willard E. Brown. Due to a recent flood we have lost all of Mr. Brown's photos from the war. Can you provide any copies? Do you have other photos he might be in?

John Richards and Patricia (Brown) Richards



From: "Thomas Downey" <>
To: <>
Subject: U.S.S. Hoggatt Bay
Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 12:32 PM

I really enjoyed reading your site. My Dad, John (Jack) Downey served on the Hoggatt Bay. I have spent a great deal of time
researching the carrier and have been lucky to find a much information. I would be interested to hear from anyone who may remember him. He passed away in 2001.

Tom Downey
Fennimore, Wisconsin

From: "Ernest Herr" <>
To: "Thomas Downey" <>
Subject: Re: U.S.S. Hoggatt Bay
Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 10:29 AM

Hello Tom,

Glad you liked the site. I didn't know your father personally but maybe someone reading this will. There was a Hoggatt Bay reunion in October this year but I was unable to attend but, obviously, there are a few survivors left. Maybe someone will do some research and find your message here. Glad to have met the son of someone who served with me. Maybe we were in the chow line together.

Ernie Herr



>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Patricia LeBlanc" <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 5:14 PM
>Subject: Liscomb Bay
>> Greetings and God Bless,

     My uncle, Bill LeBlanc (Bill was nick name. His real name was very French,  Etienne)...died when his ship, Liscomb Bay was sunk on November 24, 1943. I am interested in finding any information concerning my uncle. My dad, (Maurice, his brother, died in 1997), told me that Bill joined the Navy when he was drafted. Thought the Navy would be safer than the Army. Maurice had talked to a survivor who told my dad that the last time he saw  Bill, he was running down in the ship to his station.
    Thank you for your work, Hard Luck Ships. I watch lots of the History Channel about WW II. My dad, Maurice served in the army in France. He was an electrician and helped re-wire Paris. He just missed going to the Battle of the Bulge, because he walked with a buddy to the Medical tent, and when they got inside where it was warm, he started coughing and couldn't stop. The medic checked Maurice and found that he had walking pneumonia. He was put in the hospital. The troops moved out and Maurice ended up in Paris.

At 03:05 PM 10/23/03 -0400, you wrote:
Hello Patricia,

     Thank you for your contact. Sounds like your Dad was about the luckiest guy that ever lived -- going to Paris instead of the front lines. I'm afraid there is not much chance of finding out any information from participants anymore. They're all about gone from the planet or in not too good of shape. I have very few contacts with the WWII people any more.  I'm very thankful that you were able to get some information about the Liscomb Bay from my story. I have another story listed nearby about my stay on the Hoggatt Bay which was an identical class of ship and what applies there probably applies to your uncle's ship. While it lasted, it was a great ride and a pleasure to be on for me.
     I love the History Channel and appeared on one of their stories recently about the Fletcher class destroyers. If you are not an expert on computers, you may miss some of my other stories as I have four site online but it's a little trouble getting from one site to another but that's the way my site provider operates. If I run across any additional information about the Liscomb Bay, I will forward it to you. Isn't the Internet wonderful? At times.

 Ernie Herr

From: "Patricia LeBlanc" <>
To: "Ernest Herr" <>
Subject: Re: Liscomb Bay
Date: Thursday, October 23, 2003 2:54 PM

It is nice to have contact with you in person internet! I really appreciate your work, keeping this important history going by relating your experiences. I hope to catch you on the History channel. Thanks for the tip on Fletcher class destroyers. I believe that I caught just the beginning and was interrupted. I will watch for it to be on again. NOVEMBER 24, 1943... I'll remember my Uncle Bill in my heart and prayers. You and your family will be included too.
    I was born on March 17, 1944. My dad, Maurice, was a great guy. I miss being able to ask him questions and listen to his stories.
He died in March 1997. He has a bronze marker provided by the Army ...with ...(Tech 4th Class).
THANKS for taking time to send a nice reply. God Bless.



----- Original Message -----
From: Ernest Herr
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 10:05 AM
Subject: Hoggatt Bay

Hello Don,

Just picked up the HULLNUMBER site and found your name as the only one from old 75. I added my name and thought that I would say hello since we were both on the ship as the same time.

Ernie Herr

From: "Donald Foster" <>
To: "Ernest Herr" <>
Subject: Re: Hoggatt Bay
Date: Monday, October 20, 2003 11:41 AM

I thought that your name sounded familiar. I can't say that I remember you, but I did recognize the name. You guys in the radio shack used to pass stuff into the Comm Office. It was in sets of five letters, all jumbled up and because I knew how to type I got elected to use the encoding-decoding machine. Most of the time the result was readable, but once in a while, depending on radio static and who the radioman was it didn't make sense. Although I had never had any training as a Comm Officer, I got to be in charge of the Comm Office when on watch. Do you remember Roger Sherman, ? Herrald. I'm trying to remember who the other Comm Officers were. Was Jep Bailey one of them? I knew him well, but don't remember in what connection.

After the war I went back to a junior college in Pennsylvania that I had graduated from and became Assistant Controller. Stayed there 39 years as Controller, Business Manager and teacher. Retired at age 65. I am now 83 and have a part-time job as Financial Secretary for the townhouse association where we live. That's a fancy name for Bill Collector. It only pays $600 a year, but keeps me busy and keeps my computer skills current. I am still in touch with Sy Pike, SK 1 (D) and Jerry Ryder,
SK 1(d). Jack Pollock and I visited once before he died several years ago. Don Armstrong (the Flying Supply Officer) was my boss, a great guy. He eventually made Rear Admiral in the Reserves, but died several years ago.

The Hogie Maru was my only sea duty, but some of it was pretty exciting, two typhoons, Kamikazi attacks, etc. Although I knew nothing about gunnery I was put in charge of one of the anti-aircraft batteries during General Quarters. The efficient Navy! Anyway, we survived. It was a great ship and I have always been very sorry that not one of the CVE's was ever saved as a memorial or tourist attraction. I would love to take my wife and grandkids on board one, but can't. Have been on the North Carolina and other battleships and the Yorktown in SC, but there is not one single CVE.

I'd better shut up or your computer might blow a fuse. Thanks for getting in touch.

----- Original Message -----
From: Ernest Herr
To: Donald Foster
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: Hoggatt Bay

Well, that was a fast reply. It was nice that you were able to stay aboard that great ship for the whole war. I reported aboard in Bremerton but it was only about a month (it seems) before we were commissioned and pulled out. I had just spent two years aboard a destroyer (USS O'Bannon) in the Solomons and came aboard well seasoned and 21 years old - really grown up.
I was in the Communications division and had charge of the radio gang as a 1/C and then made CPO. After about six months I was offered a commission but chose to go with the V-12 program instead and was at Princeton when the war ended.
I often ran into Commander O'Neill outside the radio shack and thought he could walk on water, he was such a great guy. Also, ran into Captain Sanders in the same area and had about the same respect for him. In many ways I wish I could have stayed with the ship as it was one of the best times of my life.
I moved from Pittsburgh to Winston-Salem, NC when I retired some 26 years ago after putting 37 years with the old Bell Telephone system. No grand kids but have a son that lives nearby and a daughter that lives in Las Vegas and has a squadron of F-16's. He recently received a Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan so our military tradition lives on.
I have a URL site on the Internet devoted to WW2 and have even written a story of the Hoggatt Bay. It is listed under the following address:

The rest of the stories are at the following address:

It is shameless how everyone has to advertise their stuff. Wonder if we ever met in the communications room right along side of the radio shack.

Ernie Herr
----- Original Message -----
From: Donald Foster
To: Ernest Herr
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 2:52 PM
Subject: Re: Hoggatt Bay

Good to hear from you. I was assigned to the ship before commissioning. .in Bremerton, WA and stayed on until December 1945. I wanted to get home for Christmas very badly, but I would have stayed on board until the end otherwise. What Division were you i? I was in Supply, Disbursing most of the time. Also worked in the Communications Office, because Commander O'Neill found out that I could type!. Stood regular watches in addition to my other duties. Not a lot of time for sleep.

Let's hear where are you now, what did you do after the war, brag about grand kids, etc.



From: "Edward" <>
To: <>
Subject: Hoggatt Bay reunion
Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 11:56 PM

Hi Ernie,

Yes, I'm still out here.  Thanks for the email, glad to hear from you again. In October Caroline and I attended the USS Hoggatt Bay reunion in Albuquerque. We had a nice visit with Dale Magnus, Cal Wagner and Jerry Tryon of the old radio gang. Met a lot of nice people. Had a happy happy time.

The reunion guys made us wear BIG #1 Red Ribbons. We thought we'd won some GRAND PRIZE, but it just marked us as 'FIRST TIMER' reunion people, so, we were asked how we learned about the reunion. We told them we found the information on Chief Radioman Ernie Herr's Website. They asked about you, and were glad to hear that you are fit as a fiddle, and they were impressed by the job you have done, and are doing, on the internet. (I'm not sure all of them are up to speed on the information revolution.) (I'm not so sure I am)

Ernie, I'm following your web pages. You've been busy! Good Job. Keep in touch.

Old Shipmate,
Ed Maddox



From: <>
Subject:       My Dad was shipmate         More info of C.L. Diggs
Date:           January 11, 2002
To:               Ernie
            They're all gone now :  Those brave young men who gallently wore the uniforms of our great country.  Gone too, are the great ships and wonderful flying machines that these men served on and operated so skillfully. And where are all the beautiful girls and mothers that waited for the lads of which I speak? Their proud faces showing the love and pride in their men; sons; and boys abroad? Are they never to be seen again? Are we only to remember them as distant heroes of our country's past?  All the men and women who served in the terrible wars of our history  must be revered and lovingly rebreed in our forever!   Not many again will have the courage and willful sacrifice of time, maximum physical pain and fatigue, injury, and even their lives and limbs.
          They're gone now: The father that I loved as a child, but grew to despise as an adult. How much I owe him; how wrong I was. How cruel my judgment of  him ruled my everyday life. Forgive me , dad; I was such a fool.  And gone now, is the mother I loved so very much. And the wife of Clevard L. Diggs;   USS Hoggatt Bay.    Radioman " Diggs."  
          Yes;  they're all gone now. Only their memory is left.  I will cherish these memories and try to be as good a man as I can be. For you see; I had a good man for a father. And a loving mother that has joined him now.
          Ernie, My mom died Jan.  23 rd   Thank you for your kind words and  "ear ".

                                               Sincerely,   Bill Diggs

          Ernie,   Yes I'd be honored to have you include my letter in your site

  Hello Mr Herr,
         This is radioman Clevard L Diggs's son Bill again. It's a sad day for me today as my mom is in the hospital fighting for her life. At 74, and suffering from emphazima; she is probably not going to make it through the night I'm told. I can't be there ,but I need to think of something else. So Ernie, you've become kind of a comfort zone to reach out to my dad's memory. I hope you indulge me.
         My parents married in Skokie , Ill. He was 20 and she 16. They stayed married  until his death in 1998 in Phx, Az. Our family consisted of 2 boys and 5 girls. They have 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. My dad was an electrician all his life after the navy. I'd like the Hoggatt Bay shipmates to know that my dad was proud of his ship; the navy; and all the fellow sailors that he served with  during the happiest and certainly the most exciting time in his life.  My dad loved my mother more than anyone in the world. They were together always. I feel that they will again be together soon. I'm happy for this, but sorry to loose her.
    Anchors Away Mom, be happy again. Your loving son, Bill
               Thanks Ernie, I appreciate your ear.

Hello again my friend,  I did find your awesome web site! Wow , I'm very imprested with the size and diverse accounts of wwII activities and
experiences.  Ernie, YOU ARE THE MAN. I hope that all the vets out there appreciate the work and effort that you have put into these various links. I will pass on any info that you wish of me.....just ask.  I bought a new scanner and I will try to send you some pictures          of my dad first, then any others that you might be interested in. I'm new at this computer bus., so please bear with me. You have opened
a door for me to find out what kind of man my father was during his days in the navy. I feel that I might come to understand him more; if in memory only.  Again, I thank you Ernie for providing me with this window of "sight" into his past.
                                               Always your fan, "Diggs" # 2

Hello Ernie,
         I hope you were able to see that LIFE issue I had previously mentioned.  My mom recalls that my dad had told her about the crew dancing on the deck of the Hoggatt Bay when the Japanese surrendered. I had never heard that story before, but I'm glad to hear them now. Ernie, I was not close to my dad in later years. And now that he is gone, I'm trying to understand what kind of man he was when he was younger. You and Ed Maddox can help me a lot in this pursuit. The war was a incredible test of Patriotism and personal courage. We outsiders cannot know or understand  what effect this experience had on our fathers, mothers, and grandparents unless it is written in books or more personally, shared by fellow shipmates like you and Ed. We all  have a limited time to reach out to you and add       what we can to the  collection of info.
    Is there a mailing list of the crew of the Hoggatt Bay? A source of navy Photos taken of, or from the deck of the ship? Ernie, I couldn't bring up any of your other articles that you wrote.  Are there any books containing info about the ship or the battles the Hog was involved in?  There are so much more I'd like to know about the life aboard this ship. How was the food?, Did the pilots get along with the rest of
the crew?,    Was it beautiful in the Pacific Islands? Did any celebrities come aboard the ship? Did you guys listen to TOKYO ROSE on the radio? What was the most popular songs on the radio and who were the best singers?
          Do you remember seeing Mt Fuji or Tokyo for the first time? How did the death of president Roosevelt affect the crew? Were there many whales and dolphins near your ship at sea? Did some of them get killed during battles? Did the crew like some officers more than others? Who can remember which officers were nice, and which were the worst? Was there a crew member that all the guys liked or one that everyone hated and why?
          Can you remember when your ship came home? Did America look pretty damned good to you? Which movie actress did you have a crush on?   Who were you in love with , wrote to, and did you marry when you got back home? See what I mean? There is so much to be learned about your life in the navy that we haven't heard . So I'm asking you to "reach back" and try to recall more details of the war and your time aboard the Hoggatt Bay. There might be other family members of the old Hog crew that have pictures, letters written to and from shipmates. And further info to share with shipmates and family members of these proud vets.
         Well, I've taken up a lot of you time today.  Thanks for the link Ernie , please include these thoughts in your web site as we might get a good response.
                                                           your new friend,
                                                                             Bill Diggs

Hello again Mr. Herr
        You are correct in assuming that my dad has passed on. He died a couple of years ago after a long fight with Alzheimer's. My mother is alive and she lives in Tempe Az. They had seven kids and settled in Chicago area after the war. My dad became an electrician when he got out of the navy, and stayed in this trade all his remaining life. They moved to Arizona in 1972 and enjoyed residing there and being
a ASU fan. My dad always talked about his experiences in the navy and aboard the Hoggatt Bay as they were the best and most adventurous of his life. He never forgot the war years nor his love of the navy. I would like to talk much more with you about these days and the times you men shared  with all the crew of the Hog.
       I have not seen the  photos of which you mentioned in your e-mail to me. I "found" you on the web site, not in a book. Please inform
me of any sources or  name of books or other sites that be of use.  I too would like to talk much more with you and share all that I know
about my dad. My mothers phone is 480   968-1764  mine is 425 836-5021
         My dad loved the navy, and was always proud of having served with all of you and the rest of the Hog's crew. Please reach me again as I truly enjoy  it. Thanks    Bill Diggs

From:     <>
Date:               Thursday, January 03, 2002 1:30 AM
Subject:           Update on relative correspondences with your old pals

Hello again Mr Herr
                                          I am so happy to have found you web site. I wish I'd have had a computer years ago. My dad would surely been active in "talking"  with all of you guys. You all meant a lot to him, but he didn't know how to reach any of you.  Raising seven kids and other "excuses" were his  reason for all of his not doing so. I will reply to any & all info that is available . Ernie, you are a GODSEND for giving us a place and means  to reach out to each other.   Thanks I hope you saw that LIFE issue called OUR FINEST HOUR.
    The other vets might also be pleased to see it too! Please include my letters in your site so I can broaden my search for other friends of my dad's. Ed Maddox was nice enough to respond with news that he and  "Diggs" were good pals while serving  aboard the Hoggatt Bay  with you. If there exists any photos or stories about what you guys did, or had done to you as was in you article Ernie, I am ALL EARS!
     Ernie, are there more articles that you have written or that others have done so ? Can you remember your first night in a combat situation?   It must have been both frightening and exciting at the same time. My dad said that he drew strength from his crewmates and buddies and never forgot how close you all were to each other. Can you recall the times you spent ashore and in foreign countries while on PASS?   There must be lots of  great stories to share with us outsiders to enjoy and to respectfully laugh about.
     I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your article and the pictures. I will value any further info you can pass on. Please add me to your site and I will send you pictures that my mom has of my dad during the war. Our kids and grandkids need to know & understand who you guys were and what we owe you.

  Sincerely,    Bill Diggs

From:         Ed Maddox
Date:        Wednesday, January 02, 2002 5:28 PM
Subject:    Our shipmate Diggs on USS Hoggatt Bay

Hi Ernie,

I received e-mail from Radioman Diggs' Son, Bill.  Diggs and I were pretty good friends, and it was nice to hear from his son Bill.  I have responded to the e-mail. Your Project on the internet has been a great service to the crew, and families of the crew, of the USS Hoggatt Bay, and many other ships of the US Navy.  I wish you and your family a happy year 2002.
Your Old Shipmate,
Ed Maddox


Subject:     Hoggatt Bay


this is from tina hall and I wanted to know if you could put this picture on the web site of my father and his best friend in the navy.   I only know that the guys name is clark.   I believe that clark is his last name but I'm not sure. I would like to try and find this guy so my dad could contact  him.   My dad is the guy on the right. earl jimmy finley. (e.j.) any help from you would be appreciated.

thanks alot. tina hall


From: <>
Date:        Wednesday, March 28, 2001 1:34 PM
Subject:    A blast from the past!

Dear Ernie,  I am writing this for my brother Jimmy B. Weddle who was on board the U.S.S. Hoggatt Bay.  He came on the ship in late December 1944 and was the pointer of the 20mm anti-aircraft gun on January 15th when a battled damaged TBM bomber came onto the flight deck and as you said a 100 lb bomb exploded.  My brother was 17 years old.  The men on both sides of him were killed and blown off the ship.  He remained at his post held in position by his waist belt.  He was burned and badly injured.  He was unconscious for 10 days or more.  We have statements of several of his shipmates about what happened to him that day.  Including James B. Frost PTRV3/C who assigned Jimmy to his post.  Also Leon O'Riley who have both written accounts of that day for us.  Jimmy doesn't recall much after the blast until he was taken off the ship in San Diego an put in the Hospital at Balboa.  I don't know if you remember him, they called him shorty, he was a skinny kid about 5' 3".

We enjoyed reading your account of what happened on board the ship.  Do you go to the reunions?  In your article on page 7, paragraph 3 at the end of  line 4 is your account of what happened that day.  Do you remember Garabedian?  He worked the foam hopper and James Frost (Jack) as he is called helped put the fire out.

I hope you and your family are all OK.  We hope to hear from you in the near future.  My name is Toni Coury I was only 3 when Jimmy came home and saw a sailor at our front door.  Please write us back to let us know if you remember my brother or the other gentlemen I mentioned in this letter.

Thank you again. Toni

Thanks for the reply,  My brother has had health problems and had surgery on different part of his body to repair damage that gave him more problems as he got older.  He had a piece of hip bone made into a vertebra  to replace one in his neck.  Both his hands have had to be operated on and he has had shrapnel removed from one shoulder about 8 yrs ago.  He lost most of his teeth, and now he is recovering from a stroke.  Most of his health problems have been caused by the injuries he sustained in that blast on the Hoggatt Bay.

I am putting as much together for him as I can.  He has never been able to get service connected.  They always say they lost his records.  I have enough documentation now I think to get it done this time.  I am getting a copy of the Muster Roll/ personnel Diaries for the period of time he was on the ship. I have seen it and his name is on it .  I have Jimmy's Navy Picture but I haven't quite learned enough about my computer to send Pictures.

Thanks again for your response.  This has all been very educational for me.  First hand is so much more interesting than text books.

                         Toni Coury, sister of Jimmy Boyce Weddle

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2001 8:24 PM
Subject: my dad

    My dad was a pilot aboard the Hoggatt Bay in WWII.  He spoke all the time about the ship. he passed away several years ago, I wish I could hear more about the his experiences. His name was Charlie Courtenay from Savannah,  Ga. his tail gunner was Ernie Mcguire.  I loved hearing his stories as a child.  I think he flew a torpedo bomber for a while.  He spent time in the Philippines and Okinawa aboard the Hoggatt Bay, I think.  He was a member of the Flying Dragons Squadron.   I used to wear his jacket as a child.  It had a sewn on  decal of a dragon clutching bombs.   How can I go about responding with pilots who might have known my dad ?????
It would mean so much to me  !!!!! Can you help. ???????????/  please respond !!!!

Hello Charlie,

     I will place your inquiry with the Hoggatt Bay story so that other ex-crewmembers may see your message and maybe reply.  I have heard from several of the Hoggatt Bay crew in the past few days and possibly you may be able to make some inquiries from them.  Their email addresses will be included.  Maybe this will be of some help to you.
                                                        Will do my best to help you...   Ernie Herr

Thank you so very much !!!! My dad has passed away and  I am trying to gather any info I kind. He spoke often of the Hoggatt Bay and his friends. If my sisters and I can find anyone who knew him it would be so great !!!!!!
I know that he used to bunk in the vicinity of the chaplain. My dad was a devout catholic. He used to help with the services aboard ship.

Thank you, And may God bless you.

Charlie Jr.



From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2001 12:31 AM
Subject: old shipmate?

 Dear Mr. Herr,

     I came across your wonderful piece about the Hoggatt Bay, and was happy to see an e-mail address.  Your writing is wonderfully descriptive!  It brought back many memories of stories my grandfather would tell us kids about his Navy life.  His name was Carl Otto.  He would have been an "old guy" as he was mid-30s when he enlisted.  He just felt it was his duty.  I do not recall his rank or duties, but I believe it had to do with radio or communications of some sort.   He was a journalist and former commercial radioman in his civilian life.  He  told a story of one of the planes dropping a bomb accidentally on the deck, and  it blew a hole down into the room he had just been working in.  Do you remember him?  My family and I would love to know if you do.  Please write back if you are able. Thanks again for preserving a piece of living history so well!

                         Christine (Otto) Frye

Hello Christine,

    Thank you for your kind comments about the Hoggatt Bay story.  Lately, I have been getting many emails from relations of serviceman who are interested in finding out more about their loved one.  As for your grandfather, I'm sorry that I have no memory of him but I can put your email with the Hoggatt Bay story and hope that some former crewmember will read your story and will have some information about him. Yes, the story of the explosion on the fantail of the ship is covered in my story and some additional comments can be found about this incident.   A Hoggatt Bay crewmember supplied additional information that was very interesting.
    If you have the time, please read my latest story about the Battle of Okinawa.  It has some additional information of one of the big battles that the ship took part in.  Please let me know if I can supply any additional information.

                                    Ernie Herr


Wednesday, March 28, 2001 1:34 PM
----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 1:38 PM
Subject: Hoggatt Bay

 Dear Ernie:
        My daughter, Christine Otto Frye of Seattle, tipped me off about your web site after she e-mailed you. I was able to get up the Hoggatt Bay story > and enjoyed it immensely.  My father, Carl Otto, was a Lt. and worked in CIC. He enlisted in 1943 at age 37. He had an exempt occupation (newspaper editor in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. I followed in his footsteps and recently retired after a 37-year career in journalism in Green Bay, WI) but he felt it was his duty to serve.

He trained at Quonset Point, R.I. and St. Simons Island, GA (where Henry Fonda was in his company) before going to Bremerton, WA in 1943 and joining the newly-commissioned Hoggatt Bay. He served on the Hoggy until around Nov. 1945.  He loved to tell stories like your tale of the King Neptune initiation when crossing the equator.

       The bomb that fell from the landing plane and exploded on the fantail - there was a second bomb that came to rest right above the CIC that, thank God, failed to explode.  He told of other hairy times.  Once the ship was on the fringe of a typhoon and came with a degree or two of capsizing.  A destroyer escort was broken in two by the storm.  Another time a Jap torpedo was spotted heading toward the stern of the Hoggatt Bay.  They tried to shoot it out of the water, but couldn't depress the 5-inch fantail gun enough to hit it. Luckily the torpedo missed.  Dad told of how tough censorship was about letters they sent home. But he did fool the censors once. He couldn't tell us where he was, but he said the ship had picked up a dog as a mascot, and named it "Okie". We knew they were near Okinawa.
       You tell of the plane bringing Col. Devereux from the Jap prison camp. Dad said the hero sat down for his first real meal in years and what did the mess stewards bring in but a big steaming bowl of rice! Devereux shouted, "Get that out of here! I never want to see rice again!"
      Dad said the food was pretty good, but he developed an aversion to powdered eggs and mutton. And he said they would serve canned asparagus for dinner and if you didn't eat it, you'd get asparagus and eggs for breakfast!  The only shipmate whose name I can remember was my Dad's best friend Del Canaday, called "Paddles" because he was the landing control officer.

     Dad passed away in 1991, but he was always very proud of his Navy days. His widow - my stepmother - still has a license plate on her car CVE-75. I will print out your Hoggatt Bay story for her - she will get a big kick out of it.
                     Thanks again for a big contribution to our family history.
                                                 Dave Otto



        Subject:     Re: USS HOGGATT BAY
        Date:        Mon, 18 Oct 1999 05:52:52 -0700
        From:       Edward Maddox <>
 Organization:   just me
         To:           ernieh <>
                                                    Edward Maddox wrote:
   Radioman 3rd class Edward Maddox here.    You were the head radioman on the Hoggatt Bay when I came aboard.
   Do you remember Magnus et. al.?    Replay if you have time.
                                                                                                   Thank you

Hi Ed,
            Voice from the past, sure glad to know I'm not the only one alive from our old gang.  Sure I remember you.  Your face came to mind as soon as I saw your name.  Will double check however against the picture taken of the gang on the flight deck.  Yes, I exchanged letters with old Magnus a while back.  He lives up in Idaho, I believe.
           What have you been doing the last fifty some years?
                                                                                                Your old shipmate,   Ernie Herr

                                                                              Pictures of Ed, then and now...

  Hi Ed,   Did I get it right?    Ernie

        Hi Ernie  Yes, you got it right. I wish I had a memory like that!  More later.
                                                                            Ed Maddox



Office of Naval Records and History
Ships Histories Section
Navy Department