Yosemite Ship Saga – Blog Article by Dick Wibom, MM2/c
This article originally appeared on our previous USS Yosemite Association website. It’s now republished for your reading pleasure on our new website.
Our hero has almost come full circle now that the USS Yosemite has been put to sea after the final liberty on the Japanese mainland. His words will bring back the memories of those who the USS Yosemite AD-19, the “Mighty Y” brought home.
Hawaii – Second time around
I remember bringing on deck as we started out into the Pacific. It didn’t seem true we were on our way back. Wish we could have seen Mt. Fuji, but it was cloudy. I made special covers for myself and others with a hand-drawn cachet of the Yosemite with the homeward bound pennant date for our return. When we got to Pearl Harbor, we had liberty, but not from Pearl City. I remember we went along Waikiki Beach with the barbed wire removed, and the harbor looked clean. Looking up at Diamond Head, I recall the day we tried to climb up to the top – how foolish could we have been? For dinner, we had a steak dinner, and I recall drinking two glasses of milk. On the ship, I couldn’t stand drinking “Clem”. Got a few souvenirs and headed back to the Yosemite at last.
On to Panama and the Canal
The trip to Panama was really uneventful. We had a dress inspection, I took pictures of all my shipmates that were still left. I still have one of me alongside a 20mm gun mount in blues in the hot sun. Flying fish and Frigate birds were our only companions in contrast to the slow convoy we had coming over. When we got to Panama, I had liberty in Panama City. I rode a Model A Ford taxi to the U.S. discount depot, where I bought a big suitcase to take everything home in. We had a good meal and then headed back to the ship – it seems everyone kept out of trouble. Half the time, we were on deck watching us go through the locks. A number of the crew brought back parrots, tropical birds, and even a monkey. It didn’t take long, and we were out in the Atlantic.
Coming into New York City
We spent most of the time when not on watch, getting ready for departure. All the “wildlife” brought aboard was then ordered to sickbay, where they were chloroformed and thrown overboard. They could bring tropical diseases to the U.S. While at sea, we had to go to the wardroom and get our papers ready for transfer to a navy discharge center on arrival home. I was glad my classification was USNR and OK for discharge. One of our shipmates found out he was USN and, after a leave, would have to return. He was really depressed. Then we saw a series of films on how to stay out of trouble, with the girls looking for servicemen who had been gone for a long time. Now we were within a short distance of our destination, the Brooklyn Navy Yard – New York City.
Grand Welcome to New York
We came into New York City harbor with our homeward bound fluttering in the breeze. As we passed under the Washington Bridge, a small launch came right alongside, and a group of singers saluted us in song. I climbed to the top of the big crane and got some good pictures. We relieved everybody, so each of us got on deck. It was a slow trip past the “Green Goddess”, the Statue of Liberty. Then every ship in the yards sounded their whistles – a royal welcome indeed. On all the ships we passed, they waved, shot water cannons, and sounded bells, horns, etc., Making us feel important. As we approached our dock, it was all decked out in red, white, and blue bunting. Big “V’s” for victory were on each side as we headed for our berth.