1/4/2013 - Received this today, what a neat memory of the old, now gone ..... Mitchell ..... wanted to share it with all ....
Mr. Dooley, Just wanted to add a note about my father. His name was Don Allen and served aboard the Mitchell during WWII. He came aboard for her maiden (shakedown) cruise just after she was built in 1943. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Navy Yards at the time. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard out of Cleveland, Ohio. The U.S. Navy used Coast Guard crews on many ships at this time. He attained the rank of 2nd Class Seaman and was the head Storekeeper in the Main Issue Room. He served under her first captain, Henry Coyle and later under Captain Randall(I think). He was aboard her over 100 thousand sea miles and many ports around the world during the war. His many stories include very seasick troops they were transporting to Africa that made a terrible mess all over the ship. He and two buddies going over the side and swimming ashore while at anchor in Scotland. Being on Shore Patrol duty in Bombay, India (and not liking it one bit). Buying the best hard candy he ever had in New Zealand(Blackpool candy). And lastly, his anguish about telling the story of bringing home wounded and fallen troops from the Burma campaign to San Francisco at the end of the war. He left the ship in 1946 in San Francisco and was discharged there. He returned to Cleveland, Ohio the same year. My father passed away January 18, 2006 at the age of 83. I miss him and his stories about the USS BILLY MITCHELL. Scott Allen
I received an email today and it got me to reminiscing. This is an old email, but wanted to share and get this blog some exposure.
I stumbled across you website by accident.
I served on the Mitchell in the early 50’s, about 1950-1952. I can give you the name of one of our commanding officers at the time, CAPT J. V. Query. He was a WWII submariner and a very good skipper.
The Mitchell was one of the first ships to bring reinforcements into Korea after the start of hostilities. We loaded up at Fort Mason , CA and unloaded in Pusan when the defense perimeter was just miles outside of Pusan . We later participated in the evacuation at Hungnam after the Chinese bought into the war. Our first trip out was with much of the 1st Cavalry Division and its ROK attachment, I think we had somewhere around 8,000 troops aboard with the ROKs sleeping on the weather decks. The second trip was harder, we loaded most of what was left of the Marines who were trapped at Chosen and fought their way back to the port. We brought LCVP and LCVP of litter cases out and hoisted them aboard. The Marines came aboard with their weapons locked and loaded and left them behind. On our passage through the Strait of Moji we were busy dumping GI cans of weapons and ammunition over the fantail. We spent Christmas Eve that year anchored out in Yokohama Harbor cleaning troop compartments.
I left the Mitch in 1952 to transfer to the USNS General Simon Bolivar Buckner.
Interesting sidelight. When first assigned to the Mitchell I was assigned to D2 Division where I worked for what must have been one of the very first black BM’s in the Navy, BM2 Vincent Rudolph Bates. The guy was something else – 6’ or thereabouts, strong as two bulls, one of the best small boat handlers I’ve ever seen and a great leader and motivator. Raised in strictly segregated Texas it was an eye opener for me but I quickly grew to admire and trust Bates. When the division went on liberty together anyplace which wouldn’t serve Bates served none of us and we might well leave some wreckage behind when we exited.
I don't know if you are still updating your web-site on the Mitchell but if you are I want to let you know that I too served aboard the Mitchell. I was sent there in early 1965 and did a number of cruises to Hawaii then to Yokohama Japan, to Okinawa (or however you spell that). From there we would go to either Inchon Korea or KeelungTaiwan. Then back to Yokohama, to Hawaii and back to Oakland. I think I made that trip 5 or 6 time before we finally took her on her final cruise. I was one of the last crew members.
I pulled her up on the net a few months ago and had heard she was now scrap but I just hoped she wasn't, but sadly she is.
I would have loved to be able to go aboard once again and look her over, but it won't happen.
Just thought I'd add my 10 cents worth. Keep up the good work.
I ran across a blog today while searching for the date that I was on the Mitchell when we had a collision in the harbour @ Yokasuka, Japan. My memory is faded on the event and a friend even says that the collision was @ Pearl Harbor, but I know that it was in 1960 and we were on our way home after serving a tour in the Marine Corps in Iwakuni, Japan and bound for Treasure Island, San Francisco. Can yoiu help my feeble memory? I may even be talking about the wrong ship, as this was a troop carrier and I was one of the unlucky ones to be placed on it for the trip home.
I received this email yesterday from Mr. Hunt. I was shocked when I saw his name, I served aboard her with a Hunt, only an H. W. Hunt from Texas. In doing some checking of dates, I think that was his Father, how neat is that? Those pictures were taken before I got on board, so it well could be him.
Hello Mr. Dooley. I enjoyed reading about your time on the Mitchell, and after looking at your pictures, I believe my Dad is the seaman standing guard as an officer comes aboard the ship. His name was Gilbert Hunt, and he passed away a few years ago from Parkinsons. He is wearing the correct number of stripes, and has the same glance I saw a million times growing up. Dad joined the navy shortly after graduating from Lane Tech High School in Chicagoafter World War ll. He told me he was having a very difficult time finding work because all the jobs were being given to veterans that had returned from the War, so he figured he'd join up and see the world, then try job hunting after his time of service was up. He said he was due to get out when "Harry" sent him a telegram "Suggesting" he stick around as Korea was starting up. Dad never talked much about his time in service, but did mention that he felt horrible about seeing guys leaving ship one trip, only to pick them up later in terrible shape after going thru what must have been some sort of Hell. I am pretty sure the only ship he served on was the Mitchell, and I'm sure he stayed thru most if not all of the war. He was a machinist mate in the engine room, and he did once tell me his ship had " 2 stacks", which he seemed proud of . Your timeline seems to be just after Dad would have left, but it sures does look like him to me !! By the way, if that is him, and if he is wearing a sidearm, I find it funny, because whenever he trained with a 45, he told me he couldn't hit **** , and he never owned a gun . Thanks again for your stories and the site .