Back MEMOIRS OF THE SEAWEED
(U.S.S. LST 793)
Crew number 4628 had a rough time at the Navy's Amphibious Training Center, the never-to-be-forgotten NOB, Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Va. While some were more fortunate than others, the majority of this fighting ship's men rode through the camp in spite of all grunts and groans that were torn from their innards.
On 17 September, 1944 a new day dawned and it was "graduation." Now the fighting team emerged, 112 men, beaten, burned, stoned, and disciplined into the rough and ready Amphibs. With mixed feelings they took leave of dear old Bradford to sojourn at Pittsburgh, Pa. for nine sunkist days. That it was, too, but the big moment came on 26 September, 1944 when they boarded the LST 793, now better known as the "Seaweed" for New Orleans, La. and commissioning. This time there were no mixed feelings. It was so long Pittsburgh, murmured with a lump in the throat and wet paint on the soles of our shoes.
"We made it," was the clarion cry on 5 October, 1944, and the commission pennant streamed proudly from the mast, Old Glory fluttering in the breeze and in the heart of every man.
Those Amphibs were beginning to think that there was nothing wrong with New Orleans either, but the few short weeks of shakedown sped by and it was anchors aweigh for the far off war. So with her crew bolstered by twelve or more new hands, and the parting goodbyes said to a few that must have had a too firm grip on stateside soil, the 793 slipped proudly off in the direction of the Canal on 13 November, 1944.
From here the story is strictly for old salts and we need only touch on a couple subjects such as the wild liberty at Panama, the magnificence of the "Big Ditch" itself, followed by the keen disappointment with Honolulu. Times had changed there, but the old perspective had not yet developed clearly. Some were even glad to leave - yes, yes.
Where do we go from here? Well, the schedule is posted below for all the unbelievers to cast their bifocals on. There were a lot of seemingly greater guys in the war, and we "took in" some of the best to the beaches at Zamami, Shima, le Shima, Okinawa, and finally the Jap homeland. But we did our job, gripes and all, and feel that we have become a part of America's greater heritage.
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