TEAM 14 is to be remembered as being the first fleet team. In September 1944, following the issuance of an AlPac requesting volunteers for Underwater Demolition from units of the fleet, carefully selected officers and men began arriving at the Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base, Maui. They were veterans of the Pacific and Atlantic and in all they had participated in thirty-three (33) Allied landings during the war. They came from the fleet eager to make good as Underwater Demolition personnel. Many of them had been on ships carrying teams, and many had been in other amphibious units and had seen the teams in operation. As the men arrived at Maui they were given another screening, and on 15 September temporarily organized into a team for the purpose of training. The first training consisted of rigorous physical and swimming schedules, which were followed by basic and advanced demolition instruction, and reconnaissance methods. The team was trained with Lieutenant J. A. DRENTH as commanding officer and Lieutenant A. CONE as executive officer. At the completion of the training Lieutenant (junior grade) A.B. ONDERDONK, CEC, of team SEVEN, was assigned as commanding officer and Lieutenant (junior grade) C.E. EMERY of teams ONE and THREE as executive officer. The month of November was spent making necessary personnel changes and grooming the team for its first operation. At this time some veterans of Underwater Demolition Team ABLE were assigned to the team. On 30 November the team was ordered to Pearl Harbor and, after a few days spent at Camp Andrews, was embarked on the U.S.S. BULL (APD-78). In ten (10) days, the team with its operation equipment headed west and, after stopping at Eniwetok and Saipan, arrived Ulithi where they were assigned to the coming landings at Lingayen Gulf in Luzon.

From Ulithi the team proceeded to Kossol Passage, where they joined units of the SEVENTH fleet, and departed for Lingayen. On 7 January, after a thorough beach bombardment, platoons ONE and THREE, operating under cover of two (2) LCI's and heavy fleet units, made a reconnaissance of White Beach near the town San Fabian. Only light sniper fire was encountered and the team had no casualties. The team remained at Lingayen Gulf until the 12th as part of the transport screen, but the stay was uneventful except for frequent Kamikaze attacks. After leaving Lingayen on 12 January, as escort for a group of transports, the team proceeded to Leyte Gulf and on to Ulithi Atoll, where they were assigned a part in the coming landings in Iwo Jima. After the rehearsal at Ulithi, the team, in company with the bombardment group, arrived at Iwo Jima on the 16th of February where, on the following day, platoons ONE and THREE made a reconnaissance of the eastern beaches and platoons TWO and FOUR made a reconnaissance of the western beaches that same afternoon. The reconnaissance that morning was made with the support of LCI(G)'s which were quickly knocked out by Jap shore positions. The swimmers received only light sniper fire, and all returned and were picked up on schedule. The afternoon reconnaissance was carried without the support of the LCI(G)'s, but was made under very light enemy fire without casualties. No mines or obstacles were found. Results of the two reconnaissances were compiled and delivered to Commander Underwater Demolition Teams at 1800 that afternoon, from where they were delivered to the landing force commanders. During the landing, Ensign McMULLEN guided the first wave into Yellow One and Yellow Two Beaches. After the landing the team was used by the Beachmaster as a salvage unit towing broached landing craft off the beaches and sinking them in deep water. On 1 March the team received orders to return to Ulithi, where they were sent ashore on Asor Island for a five (5) day rest before being assigned a part in the Okinawa landings. The team left Ulithi on 20 March, in company with the fire and bombardment group, and arrived at Kerma Retto, where they acted as standby while other teams made reconnaissance on the 26th. On 29 March the team made a feint reconnaissance on the southern-most beaches of Okinawa, and on the following morning returned to the beaches and shot a one-ton demolition charge on the reef. This feint was carried out at the same time that other teams were doing reconnaissance and demolition work on the main landing beaches farther north, and was done to confuse the Japs as to what beach would be used for the landing. After the landings the team was assigned to the screen for six (6) days, after which they were transferred to the U.S.S. WAYNE for transportation to Pearl Harbor, where they arrived on 27 April. From Pearl Harbor the team was ordered to Maui and granted ten (10) days island leave. On the 25th of March [should be May] the team was loaded aboard the U.S.S. COLEMAN for transportation to Pearl Harbor. On arrival at Pearl Harbor transferred to the U.S.S. COTTLE, which took them to San Francisco where they arrived on 3 June and began a thirty (30) day leave. At this time Lieutenant A.B. ONDERDONK requested and received reassignment to Sea Bee activities and Lieutenant (junior grade) C.F. ECERY was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington. Upon completion of their leave the team reassembled at San Francisco and were given transportation to Maui, where they were assigned to the training staff. At Maui, Lieutenant William Lambert HAWKS, formerly of Teams TWO and THREE was assigned as commanding officer. At the end of hostilities the team helped to decommission Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base at Maui after which they were ordered to Oceanside California on 20 October. At the Amphibious Training Base, Oceanside, California the team was decommissioned.

(compiled by Robert Allan King for the UDT-SEAL Museum from public records at the Operational Archives of the Naval Historical Center)

TEAM ROSTERS - To protect the integrity of the Teams and the privacy of individual frogmen, Team rosters are not made public. If you or your relative was a member of UDT Team Fourteen and you would like further information, we suggest you contact the UDT-SEAL Museum.

UDT 14 William Harrison's cousin has a website with photos and roster of UDT 14.


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