Firsthand Accounts

The following information is from Ron Garrigan, GM 3/C. Ron served on the LSM-275.

I will give you a short history of the USS LSM 275 as I recall it.

We went from Little Creek Va. to Pier 92, New York City. The Pier was within walking distance of Times Square. We stayed at the pier for over a month, waiting for our ship to be completed. When we got our ship we took our "shake down test" in the Chesapeake bay. Once our shake down tests were completed we set sail for the west coast. We spent two or three days at Key West Fla. then on to the Panama Canal. We stayed on the Atlantic side of the canal for three days before going thru the canal. We sailed up the west coast to San Diego and we tied up for a short length of time at the destroyer base at National City. From there we went to Los Angeles, stayed a few weeks in Los Angeles and then up the coast to San Francisco. We had about a week of Amphibious training in Monteray Bay.

We sailed to Pearl Harbor some time in Jan (I think). In Pearl Harbor we were assigned to the "Middle Lock". We stayed in Pearl until Feb. or Mar.. We were finally loaded up with Flame throwing tanks ( seven of them). They were Sherman tanks with a seventy five MIL Meter barrel but instead of firing a projectile they shot liquid napalm. They could fire it over a hundred yards. It was great for cleaning the Japs out of caves. Each tank had a crew of three or four men and they stayed in our after crew compartment.

A couple of us ships left Pearl in Feb or Mar and our first stop was at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. We left a few days later and we still had no idea where we were we going.

A few days out of Enewetak, we woke up one morning and all you could see were ships and more ships. All shapes and sizes. At that time we became officially attached to task force 58. On Mar 30th we dropped anchor off the island of Kerama Retto. a small island off Okinawa.

The Old Man told us to be ready because sure as hell we would be hit by Jap planes in the morning, and we were. We slept in our cloths that night. I was the Gunner on the 20 mm anti aircraft canon on the starboard side right next to the conning tower.

When GQ sounded in the early A.M., I raced up the ladder and popped the hatch. When I got up on top side the whole sky was on fire. The five inch thirty eight duel purpose guns from the Destroyers were firing. Some how I ended up on the Port side of the ship and I am strapping myself in to my gun when Roy Eubanks says "Hey Garrigan, you’re in the wrong gun tub". I sure as hell was. I had to jump across the tanks to get to my gun tub.

We made our run to the beech that morning. We landed our tanks on Orange beech in Buckner Bay just a few hundred yards from the Yan Ton air strip. When we went into the beech we would drop our stern anchor about a hundred yards from shore. Then we could winch ourselves off the beech.

We stayed at Okinawa for about a month, Unloading transport ships. During the month we were there we were under Kamikaze attack night and day. Also we had to ride one hell of a typhoon, many of the ships were washed Ashore. We were headed into the wind with both anchors out and the engines running and just able to hold in place.

From Okinawa we went to Ulithi in the Carolina islands. We were there for 59 days. One of the small islands there was named Mog Mog. It was the Liberty Island. We would go over on our small boat and get beer and shot craps. There would be hundreds of sailors and soldiers.

From Ulithi we went to Guam and from Guam we went down to the Solomon islands and I think it was on the island of Tulagi we picked up a load of grading equipment and took it up to either Guam or Saipan.. From there we headed back to Pearl and we thought we would load up for the invasion of Japan. We were three days out from Pearl when the bomb was dropped. We stayed in Pearl for a period of time and then set sail for San Diego. From San Diego we went to Mare Island off San Francisco Bay.. We were in dry dock at Mare island and I was stuck aboard ship until I got a replacement as I was the only rated Gunners Mate aboard. I left the ship in April 1946 and got to my home in Carney Michigan in May.

Ron Garrigan

Sent: Friday, July 16, 2008

The following information is from Chuck DuBay, Qm 2/C. Chuck served on the LSM-275.

The crew was formed in Little Creek ,Va.

Five 2nd class experienced petty officers made up the nucleus of the crew the rest were replacements or new recruits.

The Captain was a 35 year old Lt. He was a hard drinking, stern man who kept mostly to himself. He was assigned 4 ensigns with no experience (in our day they were called 90 day wonders).

The petty officers (Quartermaster , Bosun, gunners mate, motor mechanic etc. ) needed to run the ship till the officers and men learned their jobs like on the job training.

Example : I was a quartermaster and knew use of sextant, books and charts shooting the stars for position at sea, our navigating officer only knew what he learned at school So I did most of the navigating till he was comfortable with ability.

I don't believe the men knew how vulnerable LSM's were. They would flounder in any major storm. I joined the navy in early 1942 and first duty was on patrol boats patrolling from Bar Harbor, Maine to Grand Manan Island in Canada. Sea tides and weather was really rough in the winter and would be tough on LSM's. Then I served on a Destroyer Escort convoying ships from South America to England. We hit a hurricane with 70-80 foot waves, a LSM wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes. After serving in the rough Atlantic,the Pacific was like a huge lake and lucky for us in 1945 there no major storms.

Our LSM moved from Newark to a pier off Greenich Village where we got our supplies and I got my maps and corrections for our trip. We made a one night stop at Key west on our way to Colon at the head of the Panama Canal. We had to wait a couple of days till the 7th fleet which included the battle ship Massachusetts and carrier Bunker Hill went through the lock. Actually they had to remove several gun turrets from Bunker Hill to get her through the locks. Too bad we went through the canal at night and missed all jungle and sights. On to San Diego.

Your grandfather has probably told of our stay in San Diego for Christmas 1944 and New Years (Actually I hitchhiked to Hollywood and spent both Holidays there) before leaving for Hawaii.

I believe our closest action was when we were in a cove in an Island off Okinawa the day before the invasion when Jap plane dove 50 feet over us heading for a LST. I was in the conning tower and could actually see his face as if he was looking at me. He did hit the LST as he was shot down. After discharging our tanks the second day of the invasion, we anchored and could watch all the action. Near enough to watch a battleship shooting at the port of Naha. Planes dive bombing it and watch the flashes from the canon fire of both artilleries. Later we shot a lot of ammo firing at Kamikaze and watching ships get hit and burned. We were lucky.

Will be pleased to answer any questions you might have. Hope this info is of use to you.


Sent: Friday, June 29, 2007

As our ship cruised at 6-8 knots it took us weeks to get to destinations.

Life could get very boring. Each man had his job to do, watch to stand. Off duty, you could read, play cards, write letters or just talk. Most of the men and all of the soldiers were sea sick most of the time till they got their sea legs, as few had been on ships before. I couldn't eat most of the food that was served as it was often prepared early and left till mealtime, usually over cooked, also the coffee was much too strong for me. I had my own nestle hot chocolate, and kind of lived on hard tact, canned peaches and soup ( did lose about 25 pounds) We did run out of food a couple times and once our water supply got fouled up. Thanks to the captain we always had lots of beer. We did have what they called small stores where you could buy candy bars or cigarettes at 50 cents a carton.

We carried 5 flame throwing tanks. We didn't see much of the soldiers with tanks filling deck there was not much room to move around and they keep mostly to their quarters. We landed them on the beach the second day of the invasion. Later we heard several of the men were killed and several tanks knocked out, one man received a navy cross.

We did a lot of traveling in the pacific, visiting Ulithi, Guam, Saipan, Russell Islands and Eniwetok . It was sometimes 5-6 weeks before mail caught up with us. We also were lucky to be headed for Pearl Harbor to pick up more tanks for the invasion of Japan when the bombs were dropped.

I spent most of my time on the bridge with the duty officer. I taught the helmsmen and did the steering at general quarters or going or come into a port. I had a small desk to keep the charts and record our positions.

The rates of Quartermaster, Bosun, gunner ,torpedo men and signal men were on your right arm all other rates were on the left arm. We had two black men aboard. In the that day Navy, blacks could only serve as mess cooks.

The Captain and I were first to leave the ship in Pearl Harbor with the point system for time served. I arrived home Christmas eve 1945 in Boston during a snow storm.


Sent: Monday, July 2, 2007

After sailing from Pearl Harbor, we arrived at Ulithi Atoll , a group of small islands surrounding a large anchorage. This contained at least a hundred ships and was a staging area for invasions. The Japs had taken most of the women and young men when they left . What women were left were put on one island forbidden to sailors it was also a recreation area where we could relax, have a few beers , and play some ball after several weeks at sea. Chuck

Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2007