UNDERWATER DEMOLITION TEAM HISTORIES
WWII UDT TEAM TWENTY
September 1944. There wasn't any particular date. I was there when the first man came, and every man seems to bring another part of me. It is an odd thing how I grew, never aging, but rather maturing. When the team was completely mustered I feel a coming of age. I feel mature. But I didn't know my life was eternal. That I would rise to heights far higher than the towering top of our biggest beasts, that I would sink to depths lower than any of the deep depths we would swim to. That I would remain in the hearts of the men of the team and over a few drinks in some far away place in the world make myself known by a quickening in speech on the part of the speaker, or maybe a reminiscent twinkle in his eye or, sometimes, yea even often, by a sudden pride in his bearing, as if a sudden something increased, expanded, made proud his stature. I'm the spirit of Team 20.
The Officers had a gay old time the
first two weeks. There were no regulations. Mornings were spent at
They were getting more exercise than
any of them had had in years, but they would come back to their quarters after
being out on
Team 20 was known as
Company 'A'. Bud Ludwig was Commanding Officer. The executive officer during
training; was at one time or another
Our first week together was a nightmare called Hell-Week. I'm not quite sure what the object was, but the entire week was spent in seeing how close the training staff could come to killing all the men and officers in the Company but have them still remain alive. Hand grenades were thrown at them; they went on an unusual type hike, you were supposed to walk until you could no longer stand, and then when you were sure you were walking on your ankles as your feet had been worn out, you were told to run the remainder of the way.
I enjoyed a peculiar
aging that week. The Company would be out all day playing that game with the
training staff, you know the one, the training staff sees haw close it can set
a charge to the team without blowing the. clothes off the men. You see, there
was a shortage of gear at that time. They generally go back from these games
just in time to be too late for chow. This provided a rare treat for the men.
They were enabled to have a picnic lunch as all the hot food was gone. So they
would have bologna and cheese sandwiches and cold tea. There was a
disadvantage, most of the time they would have to muster about 1830 and it
would be about 1810 when the picnic lunch was started and the boys had very
little opportunity to write about the wonderful vacation they were having in
Hell-Week was over Saturday afternoon. Saturday night I don't think there was a sober man in Company 'A'.
You would have laughed had you been there to see the first few days of training. The first day the Company marched out to the Quonset Hut Area by way of ferrying across to the C.B. Docks at DRU. It was early in the morning and you could see almost every man had a hangover. That coupled with the aches and pains accumulated during Hell-Week gave you the feeling as you looked, that you weren't looking at a military outfit. Oh, they marched well, in the early days, but they looked like caricatures of men. You had a feeling that some artist had painted the scene. Someone with a mean sense of humor, who wanted to show the pain the human body can take and still have the individual laugh at himself. . When the instructor said, " Okay men, we'll take it easy to start. Let's do 15 push-ups." :I could see the silent protest in everybody. No, it's impossible. But they did it. Yes, they did that and more. In a week it was 25. Swimming every day; rubber boat races; loading scullies and jetted rails; then scaffolding. That was fun.
The surf was rough. The ingenuous CBs had the uncanny knack of always placing the scaffolding at the breaker line. Both officers and men would be thrown against the piping as if they were scraps of driftwood. That rubber hose was the goddamdest, clumsiest, hardest to handle thing to load. But load it they did, and in about 6 weeks the boys were really good. I mean it, they would come back to the tent area in the evenings and have the usual bull-sessions with the members of the other teams. They were proud after all, didn't they have the record in loading element C, tetrahedrons, etc. Maybe it wasn't true, but they believed it and to see them in action, you would believe it too.
Company 'A' points with pride to Jen-Stu-Foo. You know what that was, it was the week spent down on the inlet between Jensen and Stuart when the unit bivouacs in pup tents, lives off C rations and makes hydrographic and surveying charts of the area.
Rocky Vogel was appointed Supply Officer for the trip. What a job he did! C rations, I think the boys ate them once during the time we stayed at Jen-Stu-Foo. He, Alex Sullivan, Robby Robertson, and Tea McGaughy, begged, borrowed, stole and did everything humanly possible to legitimately and otherwise procure sides of port, cases of eggs, bags of coffee, crates of fresh and canned fruit. Believe me the boys never ate any better. They had shipfitters, coxswains, and gunners mates as cooks. Cochran, Carey, Erdman, Johnson, and others simply cooked the best damned food you ever tasted. Stew Steward was temporary executive officer at the time. Boy was he hated, but the ole boy had the lads going on the soundings and surveying. Jack Sproull was unparalleled as officer in charge of charts. The cryword was, "Peach, get me a pencil." The boys kidded the day-lights out of Jake, but he did a wonderful job. Bill Fetherolf and Tom Porter made surveys of the surrounding land and swamps that Dan Boone would have been proud of. The entire trip was acclaimed one of the best ever done by none other than Bill Flynn, top man at NCDU. Of course, the time of his praise was fresh after Cochran had given him an evening snack of super-duper Team 20 style pork chop.
Our way back from the trip was one of the highest moments in my career, there always was a lot of scuttlebutt, but this last rumor was being heard too often not to start paying attention to it. "Standard and Pay-Off was going to be condensed into 8 days of
day on and day off.” “We were not to get our 10 day leaves." "We were to board a troop train the day after we finished Pay-Off." Oh Boy, did I, ole team spirit, take a tumble.
All of it was true, but I started on the upgrade again. After all they reasoned, "We'll get leave on the coast before we ship out. We'll show 'em. Let's get going on Standard."
They did get going on it and the staff was full of praises for Company 'A'. No misfires on Standard. One on Pay-Off and that due to a faulty reel supposed to have been tested by the. base. Shortest times on all beach heads. I'm not kidding, those boys were good. Let me tell you of the last course on Pay-Off.
The gang knew it was to be the last course. They knew they would be commissioned the following day, and Bud Ludwig, the CO, he was a damn. good pepper-upper anyhow, gave the boys the word the afternoon before. "Well, fellows. Tomorrow morning we rise and shine at 0430. It's going to be cold and you know yourself how rough it is," it was the middle of November, "you've all got liberty tonight, but use your heads. Don't drink too much. You're going to need your wits about you. Okay that's all:,
Did they listen to him? Like hell they did. Did they do the job? You're damn right they did.
Never will I forget KauttoMatson and Gut reaching the high water line and working their way up to the dune line. The Beach-Master came over and patted 'Mat' on the back and said, "Nice going boy, that's real good sneakin' and peekin :" Mat said, "Thank you sir " Gut's laughs to beat hell, could be heard all over the beach. The Beach-Master severely glanced his way and then walked on down the beach. As he walked down the beach, Gut was laughing so hard he could hardly get the words out but finally shouts, "Matson, that's a hot one, he compliments you on crawling so well. He doesn't know you're so damn drunk you couldn't walk if you wanted to."
Oh, I forgot to tell you. On the way up to the beach everyone of the boys were so sea-sick there wasn't enough room around the gun-whales to hold every man. I thought Jack Sproull was out of his mind until Ray Yalley, the new executive officer asked him what he was laughing at so hard. He bawled out, "Look at Wehrwein." Everyone who was within earshot, that was anyone within a quarter mile of the boat, looked. There was Wehrwein without a tooth in his mouth. They were given the deep six along with much other incidental stomach contents when the wave action gave him that green, "rather dead than alive" feeling.
The signalman were a riot. They had short lines about the rear cleat which they had bowlined to their waists and were riding the stern sheets as if it were a bucking bronc. The sending of a message is a story in itself. Hare would institute the message by first convulsing the muscles of his abdomen and bending forward from waist. This was followed by the usual BT and the teat. Each signal man along the line, Lee, Nulf, and King, would proceed their "Rogers" with this same mild gymnastic that Hare had started. The verbal transmission of the message to the Officers in command of the boats was usually interrupted once or twice by this upheaval of stomach contents by either the officer or the signalman.
Like all other night-mares this too came to an end, and the Company found its way through the more placid waters of the channel. The job was over and all hands were in some case loudly and in others silently congratulating themselves and their shipmates on a job well done.
Yes, it was well done. Sounds impossible from what you have read you say, maybe so, but ask anyone that remembers. It was a beautiful shot. No misfire, and good conduct on the part of personnel. Okay, so its amazing, that's the way UDT operates. Either you believe it or you don't.
The neat day the team came into being and we left Fort Pierce by troop train for San Pedro. There were many changes in personnel during our training period, but then we were fully complemented and the boys were sure they were the best damn team ever to leave NCDU.
The principal and almost sole topic of conversation on the trip across country was how much leave would we get on the coast. Oh what a black moment when I think of it now. The team stopped, and an hour later they were aboard the APA 66 bound for Maui. The moment is so sad I hate to try to tell you of it now. But like all other disappointments a unit can suffer, the team took that one too. Loading was done in an orderly fashion. All hands were bunked down and before dawn we were on our way.
War is hell! You're goddam right. There wasn't any answer to what's written and engraved in the faces, ay and in the very bodies of the men who had wives, children, sweethearts and mothers on the West Coast. Oddly enough that corny expression, "There is a war on you know," seemed to be the drug that eased all pains best and after a few days at sea the team was normal. They all looked forward now to a possible leave in Pearl and the peculiar anticipation that civilian war made warriors can have toward combat.
Life aboard ship was uneventful, but the air was electric with the feeling of "going off to war:' Our second day out we ran into rough weather, and there was the usual good-natured kidding by the old salts of the unfortunate who were wishing they had never seen the sea. There were four teams aboard ship. 18, 19, 20, and 21. With any one unit you are bound to hear the usual run of scuttlebutt, so you can well imagine the many strange and sometimes weird stories that were heard about. After six days, on the day of the Army-Navy football game, Diamond Head came into view. It was about 1300 and all hands were on deck. The greatest concern in every mind were the conditions of liberty. Old hands were giving the word on what to do and where to go in Pearl and Honolulu. They were pointing out the many points of interest on the shoreline interspersing the remarks with guesses about the amount of times we would spend on Oahu before proceeding to Maui. If our signalmen were really on the ball they would have noticed the answer come out from the control tower in Pearl.
We were directed to proceed directly to Maui. Oh, the men loved that. Without asbestos paper I can't really begin to reveal their thoughts. Only someone who has been in the Navy, at that, in Underwater Demolition, and understands the attitude of the average enlisted man in Demolition toward his leave and liberty, would really appreciate the vicious but good-natured griping.
We arrived at NCDT&EB at about 2200 and were completely unloaded at 2400. We found ourselves on the beach which we later learned to be the area surrounding the gear locker. We found ourselves welcome but unexpected and much confusion reigned before we bunked down for what remained of the night. Then we heard, just prior to hitting the wonderful, wonderful sack that we were to be present that morning at quarters at 0800, it then being about 0400, you can well picture our unbridled enthusiasm to view the coming sunrise. Yes, Demo was a fine life. I sure was in a very law state that day.
After quarters in the morning I picked up considerably. There was much meeting of old friends, and the ever present pleasure of moving to new places, seeing new faces and learning new facts. We were to start our training in a few days and in the meantime were to obtain our gear and shake-down in general.
I started to rise again, at first almost imperceptibly, but as our training progressed I seemed to grow like the proverbial bean stalk.
Team 20 started their training two days after arriving at NCDT&E Base, on the 3rd day of December.
The training course was divided into three phases, (1) Physical Training and Swimming, (2) Reconnaissance and blasting, and (3) Lectures on previous invasions. This course was scheduled to last for ten weeks.
Each day found the team on the beach for two or three hours getting itself in shape under the supervision of CBM Kelley, or one of his assistants. Besides calisthenics, everyone was able to indulge in beach games including football, volleyball, tumbling and water polo. After a brief workout, the swimming instructor would take us to the pier and instruct us in the three fundamental strokes; side stroke, breast stroke, and back stroke, which were the only ones used by teams in their actual work. Along the same lines we were taught surface diving, breath control for underwater swimming, life saving, combat swimming, instructions in the use of fins and mask, and those unforgettable mile swims which took place about twice every week.
The reconnaissance and blastings took place at most any hour of the day or night. Some would be made into APD problems, while others would consist of four small boats, escorted by an LCI, or LCT to the beach where the operation would take place. There were dawn, daylight, and night recons with and without LCRs. We had problems where we blasted channels through a coral reef, blew coral heads which were obstructions, and removed every kind of man-made obstacle from the beach. Besides coral blasting we were given a course in lava blasting which took a period of seven days. During all our blasting problems both coral and lava, Team 20 only had one misfire.
During all our work, we used different equipment given to us by the experimental department. Among these were the Lambertson Lung, a rubber tubing whereby packs of tetrytol were transferred to shore faster, exposure suits, flying mattress, reels which contained line that was marked off in yards and told the user just how far from the shore he was. All of these things gave us a deeper insight into the possibilities of a more efficient demolition team.
During these problems of course, everyone was able to improve their technique of getting into the water from the small boats and being picked up by a line and a rubber boat. Our time improved from two hours to less than one.
The lectures given to us by members of older teams of their work out in the field helped us a great deal to picture a whole operation. We heard about everyone from the first up to Okinawa. They still gave us all the minor details and answered all questions that were still troubling us
This training was over in ten weeks and we were able to stay there until the middle of July, five months longer, so we took over our own training schedule. Physical training, swimming and all other parts of the training continued, but not as intensive as it was before during the first 10 weeks. Team 20 stayed in fine shape, but had more chance to breathe easier and take part in competitive sports which took place on the new athletic center.
The team found the lectures by representatives of the teams that had been out both instructive and enjoyable, and I'm sure there was a certain amount of that inexplicable envy that is shown in hero worship.
After the first bone-breaking and muscle-rending week the physical training became something the men could almost look forward to do with something resembling welcome in their minds.
The Team's principal instructor during those first six weeks was Ens. Wakefield of old Team 7. He was continually amazed that we never lost a swimmer on our night reconnaissances. Our officers were very critical and always seemed to be trying for the perfect reconnaissance. But when our training was almost completed, "we dood it.' Our team had numerous APD problems which all added to our smooth running outfit, but one night off Brown Beach, 6 swimmers not only missed the rubber boats, but even got beyond the PR screen and swam all the way out to the APD. The swimmers had been in the water five hours and didn't show up to the APD until 0400. The lads were mighty cold but their spirits were high and I think secretly felt a little boastful about having swam all the way out to the APD. Then was the night another group took off from the beach in a rubber boat from Violet Beach. Radar picked the boys up closer to McGregor's point than to the APD. I don't think anyone will forget the day we made a recon over at the island of Hawaii. The fourth platoon boat came in to pick up swimmers and instead one of those 20 to 25 foot waves picked up the boat. Shorty Hawkins had his leg broken above the knee. Stew Stewart wound up in sick bay for about 10 days and Harris and Thacker both had ankles they couldn't walk with. King, signalman, lost half a tooth and had the funniest grin.
Halfway through our training we lost our original CO and R.B. HERBERT took over. By the time we finished the training our new CO was a regular part of the team and we were anxious to shove off. Team 21 received the first nod and we were all envious but good naturedly kidded them about going out to win the war while we stayed behind to enjoy the tropical sunshine of the Hawaiian Islands.
Team 20's training at
On Christmas the base had a gigantic field day featuring boxing events and a huge swimming meet. Team 20 had more members on the boxing card than any other team on the base. They placed second in the swimming meet which was a real achievement in view of the fact that they had only been in training three weeks at the time and the team that took first was original Team 6 which was then back on the base being rehabilitated. Many good but at the same time sad moments were had over Christmas and New Years. Good in the instance of the bunch of officers who started the game "sing a song and drink a drink." That consisted of having the boys sit around in a circle and handing one member after the other three songs to sing. At the end of each set of three intermission was taken to have every one get a nip. All the boys passed thru the stages that evening that make up a Christmas away from home. Melancholy, comradeship, giddiness, riotous fun, and lastly as always, blendness.
It was the end of
Then came the very dark period when we took over the multitudinous and seemingly useless watches on the base. From a productive point of view we felt them useless. The only thing they seemed to produce was many men on report. The old military game of "sweating it out" was what we were doing and that never produces anything worth while. We spent almost two months doing that, putting in some physical training and swimming and sometimes a reconnaissance of some area we had been over before and before.
It was during May that half the team started to study lava blasting, and the other half did research work for the base. The feeling that we were finally doing something tended to lessen some of the gloom we had been experiencing. There were rumors going around that we would be going out soon and the team seemed to be truly ready to go.
Then the most stunning blow of all. There were only two of the older teams left on the base who hadn't been out. That was Team 18 and ourselves. There seemed to be very little to choose between the two teams but a selection had to be made for a team was needed to operate with the Seventh Fleet. Yes, you have guessed it. They left. Then for the third time we said good-bye, but this time I'm afraid they were acrimonious and to ourselves rather galling, but we did feel certain it couldn't be much longer before we would go.
The base retained a very sensible attitude and allowed us to pretty much run our conditioning program from then on. It consisted of mile swims, range work, physical training, reconnaissances and APD problems. It was much less intensive than our earlier training and was much more objective, our emphasis being on genuinely polishing our previously learned techniques.
At the end of July we had been on
Teams 22, 23, 24, and 25 along with ourselves and all our
gear loaded aboard three LST's in
The biggest joke aboard ship was the irony of our moving
back to the States after being so long on
The only disagreeable thing about the ride back was it's length and general quarters at dawn. The boys had a
tough time breaking out of the warm sacks, but once up were able to enjoy many
happy hours on the main deck in the sun. We arrived at
There were the boys who had wives and children on the Coast whom they knew they would surely see in a few days. And then there were the others who had other feelings but which too would be well taken care of in a few days at the most.
were to stay at
We weren't in port much more than a few hours when it was
noticed that Bob Brodd wasn't around. Investigation showed him to have taken
the first available train to
gear aboard. It took a bit more than a day to get everything aboard and secured in the hole.
On V-J Day we boarded APD 130 which would be our home from
that time until ' our return to the
The weather was fine for the whole trip and we stopped at
Every type of ship was there in the bay and hundreds of each. Carriers, BB Cruisers, DDs and all types of landing craft.
From the time we left
Our first meeting with the APD 130 was not an auspicious
occasion. Having spent eight months on
Having been notified of our assigned APD we went about the task of loading with all the eagerness of beavers for our sailing time, though unknown to us, was suspected to be imminent. The complete list of equipment necessary to outfit a Demolition Team presents a both bulky and varied assortment of material ranging from the 750 pound rubber boats to the tiny yet important capsules necessary to inflate our life belts.
All was to be loaded except our
explosives before we left
Ships company did their share on assisting the loading, menial as it was. To bring aboard some of the heavier equipment, that material which all together couldn't possibly lift, they rigged the boom, which could be done in a few minutes in capable hands. The ship gave us a free hand and it was our job to see that it was all secured to our liking. That we did. The skimmer, supposedly the personal property for use and disposition of our Commanding Officer was brought aboard and made secure on the port side of the fantail.
Previous to our coming aboard, a berthing officer was appointed and it was his job to determine the distribution of our team personnel. This was a fairly simple task for the APDs all have been built for the specific purpose of carrying troops, either UDT or Marine Personnel. Furthermore, the space allotted to us was to be solely occupied by our team, ship's company being berthed off to themselves. There was ample space for both on Starboard and Port sides of the ship extending from just forward of the fantail to the messing spaces. It was found more convenient after an inspection by the Captain of the ship to have all seabags and gear other than that which could be fit into the lockers, stowed below in the cargo hatch, the passageways leading through the berthing spaces were to be kept unobstructed at all times. A detail which was left up to our men. The officers were berthed..,that should suffice-as far as the sentiments of all were concerned. Yes, we were stowed away in a special cubby hole designated as the troop officers quarters. How the ship designers ever contrived to fit that particular space into the blueprints I'll never know. It was definitely on the other side of the tracks. There were twelve of us to be quartered-we were quartered-our space, rather our niche in the wall was below the forecastle just aft of the chain locker. I have often wondered how anyone would have found us if upon first arriving aboard we took down the sigh which told everyone we were holed up in that particular space...F.B.I. included.
It was understood before coming aboard that there would be certain duties for the team personnel to perform. The Captain of the ship and our Commanding Officer went into a huddle and the edicts were posted. Specific watch lists were drawn up and I will briefly tell how our duties were required and justify the same. First, the four boats kept aboard the APD were made available to us almost simultaneously with our arrival aboard. Our own boat crews were to service and keep the boats in tip top shape which they accepted willingly-as ordered-with the job of maintaining the boats we also fell heir to the boat deck which we kept in order by assigning two men from each platoon to that task. Our second and probably our most trying duty was to keep the berthing spaces clean and in good condition. To that task a compartment cleaner from each platoon kept a watchful eye on the number of cigarette butts and other trash strewn about and manned the broom whenever necessary. There were daily inspections made by the ship and a UDT Officer, most of which were favorably reported. Mess-cooking presented an ever-lasting problem. Not being familiar with the messing organization aboard the ship, we were constantly receiving gripes from both the ship and our own men as to how many men were required to what their duties were. We supplied mess-cooks for our own mess and let our cook take his place in the galley assisted by whoever he thought was capable of lending assistance. I might add at this point that none of the duties I described necessitated any great exertion of either mental or physical talents, but we received the usual gripes ever present with an organization involved in carrying our assigned duties. An added and most beneficial duty to our cruise was an evaporator watch. The evaporator was to keep us supplied with additional water enabling us to shower more frequently and stave off the inevitable condition described as briefly "water hours." Even with the evaporator, we were forced to use aforementioned procedure. We were forced to supply a watch in our cargo spaces after a few days at sea. Ransacking of team property and other gear was discovered and we put a constant watch on duty.
In addition to the above described duties a great number of the men were able to obtain permission from the ship to practice their rates in the various departments aboard, such as shipfitters, quartermastering, watertending, etc. The men, with few exceptions, kept themselves occupied through the long days but were not refused the opportunity to get ample relaxation.
The officers were at first included in the underways watch list but their duties and opportunities to learn anything beneficial proved so few that the procedure was dropped shortly after we left. A communication watch maintained by the assistant platoon leaders proved to be great aid to the communications department. We were receiving a large number of dispatches and it was necessary to have a man available to decode them in the event they pertained to us. Other than the above mentioned work, our contribution to manning the ship was negligible. Possibly for the best.
In covering the neat subject I wish to mention at this time that I am a very temperate person, quite capable of seeing both sides of an argument and acknowledging a wrong when I perpetrate it, furthermore, I wish to state that Team Twenty of Underwater Demolition was composed of a group of officers well aware of the importance of cooperation and good relations in maintaining any composite organization, either ship or land based.
To run the UDT operation as planned by the powers, there must be complete cooperation between ship and team. Any shortcomings of this requisite more or less defeated the purpose of plans. On our particular ship it was found very difficult by both officers and men, to mold themselves into a well balanced, efficiently operating combine. There were numerous occasions where ship and team were found to incapacitate as to understanding one another mainly in respect to the above mentioned factors-.cooperation and good relations. By stating the opinion of the Engineering Officer, a senior officer aboard as far as duty and action seen in this war. I believe I can throw some light on the subject: I quote, "Perhaps things would have run smoother if our Junior Officers had been a little more cognizant of the fact the UDT operating personnel were aboard the ship in the same capacity as the previous teams that had gone into the field to work. I have worked with them before and I know quite a bit about their way of doing their specific jobs and what is required of them on a cruise such as this. Our Junior Officer perhaps looked upon you as freeloaders and can't help feeling a twinge of animosity toward you"
It was true in that respect that during the entire trip relations between ships officers and team officers were tense and not in conformity with usual standards of Navy compatriotship. My opinions are undoubtedly colored slightly in favor of our cause, but I honestly believe we did our share in attempting to strike a happy medium with the miserably(?). [this is straight from the archives..] I do not wish at this time to offer any solutions to the aforementioned problems. I feel whomever holds sway with the powers to change or alter administration will see a solution to this more or less social problem on being physically [fit...] to go to sea. To go to sea and maintain the highest traditions of his responsibility to the ship and his shipmates and constantly do everything in his power to defeat any counter feelings which may take root.
By the time we arrived at
Our CO, Lt. Comdr. Herbert started his daily trips to the
flag ship to receive his orders for the day, but it seemed as if Team 20 was
destined to sit and wait for nothing. The officers and men were able to go
ashore to Saporio,
At last orders came, but they were for
the ship and not the team. APD 130 was to escort twelve LSTs from
A few were able to get ashore that afternoon, but only those who had friends or relatives there. The officers that were fortunate enough to go like all good Demo men, were able to get their hands on a few cases of beer, so by the time they returned to the ship, they were in very good spirits.
The next morning we headed back towards
The USS COOK anchored outside the breakwater of Hokadate at 1000 the eventful morning and waited for the Japanese to come out to us. After a short wait, a small boat came out with Japanese Officials aboard and they came aboard our ship where the official surrender took place.
A guide boat came out to us after the surrender was completed and we raised our anchor and steamed inside the breakwater and into the harbor where we anchored and would stay until the army arrived to take over the city.
Our work only took the team three days and then for four days we had liberty and stood by awaiting the 77th Division.
That afternoon the team started its work and went ashore. Everyone was armed, for we didn't know just what the people's attitude would be towards us, but it proved that they welcomed us with friendly gestures. The team groups took soundings of the whole harbor, measured all the piers, docks, and tested them for strength. The roads were inspected for good entrances and exits from the places which would prove to be the best landing places for barges. All buoys were examined to find out what ton ship it would be able to hold with safety... all these were painted with numbers in order that they could be referred to easily on the charts. Sunken ships were marked in one way or another in order that they would prove to be no obstacle. All the fishing ships that were anchored or tied up in rows of three along the main pier were ordered to move and when the army arrived they had every bit of information about Hokadate and it's harbor.
As always, the team, to the man, found things to do and enjoy themselves. The boat crews obtained souvenirs from Jap landing barges, and our PRs sounded like fire engines as we went through the harbor. Liberty parties were able to requisition sabers, pistols, rifles and all other types of souvenirs. Flags were taken from the ships but our greatest work were the signs that were painted on the roofs of buildings stating that UDT 20 welcomed all services to Hokadate.
Everyone did a very good job here and also, I believe that everyone learned a bit about the Japanese people. As we were the only Americans there and the first to arrive, we had a good chance of getting in on the ground floor of everything.
The Army arrived, and we left to return
Bob Brodd, our Mine Disposal Officer took many pictures of our trip to Japan, and was able to print enough pictures to give every man on the team a set.
When we received our orders to escort
LSTs, LCIs and SCs to
Our trip to
With only a layover of one day there, we had to hurry and get ashore to the clubs. Both officers and men were permitted liberty, and all hands had a real "Demo" time. There were millions of laughs and Ed McMahon was lucky enough to meet his brother, a pilot of B-29s while there.
With a layover
of two days at
The days from
found us at
were sad, for many men had been together, since the team first organized at
(compiled by Robert Allan
King for the
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 TWENTY and you would like further information, we suggest you contact the UDT-SEAL Museum.