UNDERWATER DEMOLITION TEAM HISTORIES
WWII UDT TEAM NINETEEN
Team NINETEEN received its basic training at the Naval Combat Demolition School in Fort
Pierce. The officers
reported and began their preliminary training on 14 September
1944, and the
enlisted men arrived in Fort
Pierce on 6 October.
The team was organized for training with Lieutenant P.K. DRUCKER as Commanding
Officer. The training of Team NINETEEN differed from the training that had been
given to previous teams in that the officers, having already had three weeks
instruction, were able to assist in the instruction of the enlisted men.
Training at Fort
Pierce consisted of
the usual strenuous physical fitness program, designed to eliminate the unfit,
followed by instruction in demolition, recon- naissance, and all other allied
subjects. On 19 November the team had completed the instruction program and,
with Lt. Comdr. G.C. ROWE
as Commanding Officer, was order to San Pedro, California, for transportation
to the Naval Combat Demolition and Experimental Base at Maui, T.H. The team
left San Pedro on 28 November, the day following their arrival, aboard the USS
BRULE, and arrived in Maui on 2 December.
Advanced training at Maui
gave emphasis to practices used in the Pacific in reconnaissance and stressed
the blasting of coral formations. Here the team was introduced to the use of
swim fins and dive masks for the swimmers, and radio men, gunners and other
specialists were given training in their specialties. One day of the training
was devoted to a practice operation wherein the team, operating from an APD,
made a reconnaissance under the supporting fire of a destroyer. In February it
was necessary that Lt. Commdr. G.C.
ROWE be detached from the team because of poor health, and he was
replaced as Commanding Officer by Lt. G.T. MARION, former Executive Officer of
Underwater Demolition Team #3 and veteran of two Pacific demolition operations.
Under Lt. MARION's guidance the team
organized aboard the USS KNUDSON (APD 101); the team departed from Maui enroute to Eniwetok, Guam and Ulithi. At Ulithi the team, which
had been assigned to the Okinawa operation in company with other teams and fleet units,
held practice maneuvers before leaving, on 21 March, for Okinawa. The team arrived at Kerama Retto on 25
March, and made their first pre-assault on Red Beach, Kuba Shima the same morning. On the
same day recon-naissance was made of Gold Z-One on Hokaji Shima. Light fire was
encountered on Gold, Yellow and Blue Beaches, but the team had no causalities,
and Blue Beaches in the morning, following which, under the direction of the
Beachmaster, an exit from Yellow Beach was blasted through the trees to allow
vehicles to proceed inland. On 27 March team personnel guided the landing
forces ashore on Red Beach without incident. On the morning of the
28th the team conducted a reconnaissance of Kamiyama Island, near Keise Shima, to determine the
best location for channels through which artillery could be landed. During the
reconnaissance Ensign CULLEN was wounded in the right wrist and thigh by a
Japanese sniper. On the morning of 29 March demolition work, consisting of
blasting both ramps and channels through the reef, was commenced on Keise Shima.
On the morning of the 30th demolition operations were carried out on the reef
of Kamiyama Shima, and buoys were placed to mark the channels blasted. On the
morning of the 30th the KNUDSON with the team aboard, was assigned to the
anti-aircraft screen, where it stayed until the 15th of April. The team had one
close call during a bombing raid when a bomb missed the ship by approximately
twenty-five yards and one ships company gunner was wounded in the leg by
On 15 April orders were received to depart
from Okinawa, and the ship proceeded to Guam where it stopped, stayed for four
days before moving on to Ulithi, where on 25 April the team moved ashore on
Asor Island. The time spent on Asor was used in training and work parties. On 6 June the team, with it's gear, was loaded aboard
the LST 461 and carried to Guam, where they disembarked on the 8th. At Guam the team moved into the demolition camp
previously built by Team #8, and spent its time making improvements on the
On 19 July the team again embarked aboard ship and headed
East, and after a brief stop at Eniwetok where Chief SCHOMMER was transferred ashore with
appendicitis, arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 28th. On the 29th the team proceeded to Maui, where it loaded extra gear needed for
the cold water training program, and proceeded on to Oceanside, California, where it arrived on the 5th of August.
When the war ended, the team was assigned to the occupational landings in Japan, but its orders were cancelled, and the
team again ordered to Oceanside.
On 20 October 1945, Captain R.H. RODGERS, Commander Underwater Demolition
Teams, Amphibious Forces, conducted the ceremony which decommissioned
Underwater Demolition Team Nineteen.
(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
NINETEEN and you would like further information, we suggest you contact the UDT-SEAL Museum.