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. This a 14-part sage, click on Yosemite Ship Sage to read the entire story from the beginning or read selective parts again.
First Call Home – Yosemite in the U.S.
As soon as the lines were secured, some of us went off the ship. I remember seeing one shipmate get down on his knees and kiss the dock. I saw a dockside telephone just a short distance away and had the operator call home. My folks didn’t have a phone, so I called a neighbor who said, “Hold on, and I’ll be back with your Mother.” It was like Heaven hearing her voice. I had to make it a short call, but I learned there had been some deaths in our family, and they didn’t want to get me concerned. I felt bad that everybody I left wouldn’t be there when I got home. I got back aboard, and it was a short stop as we had to leave to get unloaded. They said there was enough TNT on the Yosemite to blow up half of New York City.
Unloading the Yosemite, No Liberty for me
We had to go out into the Atlantic Ocean, where there were long docks with railroad tracks on them and some warehouses. Part of the crew got liberty in New York City, but unfortunately, I didn’t. Those of us who were left pulled an all-night, All -Hands-Working- Party. It was hard to believe the Yosemite carried so many 5″ shells, torpedoes and depth charges. The liberty party returned and told us of the great time they had in New York.
I remember taking a shower and getting ready for that big eventful day. I packed my new suitcase, got my rifle ready, and hoped there would not be any last-minute screw-ups.
Last day as a crewman of the USS Yosemite
The last day I couldn’t eat breakfast, I was so excited. When we went to quarters, we were presented with a packet of papers to be presented for discharge – mine said Great Lakes, Illinois, where I’d taken service school training before my assignment to Yosemite. We then lined up at the gangway where our names were called, saluted the officer of the deck, and saluted “Old Glory”. It felt great but nostalgic as I went down to the bus from Yosemite.
I wondered if I would ever see her again or be able to board her one more time. Fifty years plus, I did just that at Mayport, Florida, when the Yosemite was decommissioned. So ended my saga with the USS Yosemite.
Arthritis, weaker eyes, some memory loss has made this difficult, but these are the times we hope will not be forgotten.