Historical Documentation from Crewmembers
MY LIFE ON THE HADLEY
As experienced by Jack Garska
(This is a wonderful chronological record of the Hadley during it’s life)
September 27, 1944 – Arrived at Treasure Island, California.
September 30, 1944 – Placed in the Destroyer Pool to be assigned to a new destroyer.
October 20, 1944 – Assigned to the USS Hugh W. Hadley. Saw Bernard W. Garska F1/c on draft.
November 21, 1944 – Hadley Detail left Treasure Island for San Pedro, CA
November 23, 1944 – Arrived at Frontier Base, San Pedro, CA
November 25, 1944 – USS Hugh W. Hadley DD774 was placed into commission. Crew went aboard. Started testing the new ship.
December 17, 1944 (or about) – Left San Pedro, CA to go to San Diego, CA to start our shakedown officially.
December 17, 1944 -until Feb 8, 1945 – Was Shakedown period. Gunnery, torpedo runs, speed runs, shore bombardment, night firing, etc. No casualties.
February 21, 1945 (1300) – Left San Diego, CA for Pearl Harbor. Escorted a baby carrier. No action during the trip.
March 02, 1945 – Arrived at Pearl Harbor.
March 04, 1945 – Liberty in Honolulu.
March 07, 1945 – Left Pearl Harbor with a baby carrier for Ulithi Islands.
March 19, 1945 – Arrived at Ulithi with carrier. No action in route. Joined 5th Fleet Amphibian Forces. At G.Q. twice.
March 25, 1945 – Left Ulithi with LST, LCI and SC’s. in the task force. Flag ship. Was only destroyer
March 26, 1945 – Received word that task force ahead of us was attacked by Japanese planes and destroyer sunk.
March 27, 1945 – Called to Battle Stations at about 1345 to resist aircraft attack. Started raining. No attack. First time I was scared.
March 29, 1945 – General Quarters at about 1030. Sub reported. Dropped ten depth charges. Lost sub contact. Hunted for a while and went on our way. G.Q. again at 1730. Unidentified ship reported. Later reported it was friendly, from another convoy. Received information that Jap Fleet in headed our way to stop convoy. Task Force #58 said to have went out to intercept them.
March 30, 1945 – Sub contact at 1345. No charges dropped. G.Q. at 1645. Four unidentified ships reported. Later reported friendly. Weather has been with us all the way. Cloudy and rainy weather almost all the time. Sea’s very rough.
April 01, 1945 D-DAY – G.Q. at 0030. Air attacks all night. Jap torpedo planes and bombers. One dropped a bomb off starboard quarter. During the night there were 3 planes shot down and they sunk one LST with a suicide plane.
April 01, 1945 – now 0800. The first wave is first starting to go ashore on Okinawa. Our fleet is constantly bombarding the beach since 0630. They are screening outside of the operations protecting the rest of the troops. Will go again to G.Q. soon to go in and bombard the beach. The Jap planes got so close last night that you could almost hit them with a tomato, 40 feet to be exact. Our carrier planes are now up in the sky patrolling the entire area. I have seen my first action and also have plenty more in store before we are through here. Three torpedoes were fired at us last night also. First wave of marines landed at 0830. It is now 1900. Much to our surprise, we weren’t called upon to go in to bombard. Instead we laid out about 10 miles with about 7 other cans and kept screening for subs. Was very quiet out here all day. Reports are that marines met very little defense from enemy and have captured one airstrip, 2 goats and a woman at 1300 today. This afternoon a huge black smoke was visible from here. Probably a oil dump or ammo dump. We expect a big air battle tonight.
April 02, 1945 -1030 – We were at G.Q. all last night. The Jap torpedo planes attacked us once last night but missed. Secured from G.Q. at sunrise. At about 0900 called to G.Q. again to resist air attack. Just got to my battle station when I looked out across the starboard bow just in time to see a Jap bomber crash into the water. The carrier shot the suicide plane down.
April 03, 1945 – Called to G.Q. at 0430. No action. Suicide torpedo boats reported in area and aircraft went close enough to Okinawa to get a very good view of the battle through glasses (1220). Looked pretty peaceful. Orders to go out 90 miles to meet convoy of APA’s, AKA’s, and transports. Are now escorting them to Okinawa. Received word that we shot down a “Betty” (torpedo bomber) on the first night we were attacked.
April 04, 1945 – Instead of taking the convoy in we are just circling out on the coast of Okinawa about 90 to 175 miles to keep their transports, etc. from being attacked by plane & suicide boats. The last word received is that the troops aboard these ships are to invade tomorrow.
April 05, 1945 – Sighted a huge mine and sank some.
April 12, 1945 – Still just circling around. Sank another mine. Had about 6 different sub contacts. No results. No air attacks at all. Very calm sea. Reported to now be on our way to either Guam or Saipan.
April 14, 1945 – Arrived at Saipan.
April 15, 1945 – Today was a very interesting day for me. I got a very good view (by bus) of Saipan. Very interesting, how Jap prisoners were being treated. They have better working hours than the American boys and get paid too. Also have all the privileges that a U.S. serviceman has.
April 20, 1945 – Left Saipan at 0500 with 11 LST and LCI’s and 2 two other destroyers. Another slow trip ahead to Okinawa.
April 23, 1945 – So far very calm with the exception of numerous sub contacts. Been very hot for past week and half.
April 25, 1945 – Yesterday was the calmest day of my life at sea. The water was just like glass. The horizon seemed miles away. Last night out of the darkness pierced a light which constantly came closer and closer until we could see that it was one of our hospital ships. The only ship that remains lighted at all times. Today was an interesting one. At about 0930 we were ordered to stand by to receive aappendicitis case from a LST. We brought the patient across by stretcher on a line that was passed to the LST and after the patient was aboard a Doctor was also ran across. The operation was instantly performed. Later in the morning I saw my first Black Fish. It is larger than a whale. The skipper shot at it with his Tommy Gun.
April 26, 1945 – Was rainy day, squalls. Sighted a mine dead ahead. Exploded it with 4OMM. At midnight we could see the star shells that were continuously being dropped over Okinawa. Also, the constant flashes of gun fire was visible on the horizon.
April 27, 1945 – 0400 – The ship went to G.Q. just to make sure that there was no slip up. At 1200 we were passing the southern chain of islands of the Reyukus. At about 1600 we were about mile off the shore of Okinawa. Big wagons are constantly shelling a city and the radio station. Also the sky is speckled with our carrier bombers over the battle. Today it was possible to see the boys on the beach through the glasses. They seem to be very well supplied as there is a steady stream of supplies going ashore. We are now going to get fuel and then go out to relieve a “can” that is on 11Radar Picket” duty. Right now our future isn’t very bright because over half of the “cans” that have been sent out for this duty have been sunk. This is where the greatest naval losses have been. The weather is much colder here
April 28, 1945 – Went to G.Q. at 2145 last night and stayed at battle station ’til 0530 this morning. We were attacked twice by Jap planes during the night. Went to G.Q twice today. No action. We went into a bay between some islands just west of Okinawa today and fueled, took on stores and ammunition. Have to go to G.Q. at 1930 to repel air attack. Back at Radar Picket duty. Just secured from G.Q. at 0400 in morning. During the night we fired at 2 Jap planes but unfortunately missed. One hospital ship and a liberty ship were bombed. The liberty ship sunk almost instantly but the hospital ship stayed up. The Japs were later trying to sink another hospital of ours but as far as we know was that she was just hit by one bomb. A smoke screen was laid around us last night so therefore they couldn’t see us but we could still shoot at them by Radar Control. Yesterday noon a ship put some garbage on the island (back in the harbor) and later you could see Japscrawling out of a lane and digging through the stuff for food. When we saw them we ordered them to skin down and proceed to swim out half way. Two men did so and as we were sending our boat over to pick up these two the little devils on the island opened up fire on our boat. We later bombarded the cave with 4OMM and Rocket Bombs. Our big guns haven’t ceased bombarding the Japs installations on the beach.
April 29, 1945, 1530. – We are now heading for a picket post located 130 miles north of Okinawa. We are just about 160 miles from the Jap mainland. This is called the outside picket and it’s these DD’s that have been dishing out the trouble to the Japs and it’s also here that the majority of our ships have been hit or sunk. We are relieving a can that got hit by a suicide plane last night. Just a note, one night last week 100 planes left Japan for Okinawa. Five of them got there. The rest were shot down by the outside picket and those that they missed, we shot down by the inside picket. No planes returned to Japan. The outside picket goes all the way around Okinawa and is formed by destroyers. Mostly DD’s. Just went to G.Q. Enemy planes 20 miles away. They didn’t come within our range. We’re supposed to be out here 5 days. If we get through five days without being damaged, I think the Hadley should have the unit citation.
April 30, 1945, 1600. – Went to G.Q. last night at about 2045 and stayed at our battle stations all night. Jap planes were around us all last night. The reason for our being out here is to pick up the enemy and let the ships, etc., in Okinawa know about them coming. Were all by ourselves last night so we tried to keep from being seen by the Japs. We were successful too. A LSM eleven miles away shot down a plane last night and also a marine Corsair shot down a “bogy”. Our guns were silent all night. Throughout the day our planes circled overhead to offer protection against Jap planes. Just a few minutes ago a Corsair ran out of gas and crashed into the water about 300 feet off our port beam. The pilot got out and we just picked him up. He is rather shaken up and very nervous, otherwise in fine condition. I admire such spirit. That’s the way every man is out here after he has tested a bit of action. Tonight we will have no friendly planes in the air. It will all depend upon the ships anti-aircraft guns. I only hope it’s cloudy all night.
May 02, 1945 – Luck has continuously been showered on the Hadley or something. It has been raining day and night ever since we first got here except for the first night. It is clearing today and no doubt will be a perilous night for us ahead. The ocean has been unusually rough during the overcast period.
May 03, 1945, 0600. – We have just secured from G.Q. after spending a complete night at our battle stations. We were called to G.Q. just before sunset to repel air attack. No planes came over us but 50 attacked the very next picket post. The Aaron Ward, DM34 took six suicide plane hits. One time we received word that they were abandoning ship but later found out that she was in tow by some other destroyer. One LCM, three small craft, and a LCI were sunk on that post. We’d pick up the planes approaching us and them for some unknown reason the planes went way. Fate perhaps. We would of had absolutely no chance against such odds. All through the night planes were constantly around but we always managed to stay hidden from them. Our job out here is to report the planes coming in to Okinawa, not to engage them in battle unless they absolutely insist, then we have to defend ourselves. Our fuel supply is low and I think we will be relieved today, so we can go into Okinawa to refuel and to await further orders. I’m at a state of total exhaustion now but must go on watch soon untilnoon. How I’d like to first lie down for a few minutes. All that sinking, hits and action was just about 30 miles away. Just a wisp of time for those aircraft to challenge us. Was I worried?..YES. I’ve never actually been scared until I can hear rattling of the 4OMM and the 2OMM. When they open fire the plane is practically on top of us. Later, 1630 – It looks as if the Japs are waging a war against the Navy here. They are especially desperate to knock out the “cans” on radar pickets so they can get their planes in to Okinawa with out being detected. They are bothering us 24 hours around the day now. No sooner than we had eaten breakfast this morning than G.Q. was sounded. There were 14 raids of aircraft (Vals) trying to get in. Of course our fighters were in the air but one plane got through and suicided into our sister ship, just a few hundred yards off our port beam. Our fighters shot down about 60 planes during those raids. It seems that the Japs have very poor pilots because it just takes a very short time for our boys to knock ‘em down once they are sighted. Our planes knocked them down all day up until about 1345. Then I guess they didn’t send anymore. We have air supremacy with the Japs. Tonight we were moved inward towardOkinawa 20 miles to give us a better chance. We are now lying off the northwest corner of Okinawa about 25 miles out. How I do dread sunset. That is the time all the “cans” have been sunk until this morning. If we get by sunset there’s that long period from 2330 ’til dawn that the moon is out. A 3/4 moon, clear sky, easy to see us and our wake. Yes, I’m really one worried guy. Everyone is though for that matter. Tomorrow we must fuel and I hope we get some other duty besides picketing.
May 4, 1945, 0830 – We went to G.Q. at sunset last night and stayed until about 2200 when we were relieved to go to fuel at Iron Horse Cove. Again, fate was with us. No planes came closer than 25 miles to us while we were out there. We found out this morning that the destroyer that took our place, was hit by a suicide plane. In this cove a smoke screen was laid all night to keep a cover for all the supply ships, repair ships and cripples. Planes came within four miles of us here. When we came in the cove last night, I could see gunfire along the beach. I was later told that a PC was killing Japs that were swimming out from the beach with TNT and hand grenades. Got about 5 hours of my first sleep last night for 2 nights and 3 days. Of course I could sort of doze when we would have a bell while at G.Q. but most of the time had to stay alert. I can see the cans here in the cove that have been damaged now. Thirty six is now the number sunk or damaged since March 31.The Navy’s greatest loss since Pearl. The figure has exceeded Guadalcanal.
May 05, 1945 – Fueled this morning. This afternoon we went to Okinawa, just 20 miles east. Now at Okinawa. Have just transferred the pilot and a hospital case. Stayed in harbor all day and all night. Went to G.Q. about 2230. Secured at 2230. G.Q. again at 0330. One plane came over but was driven away before we could fire.
May 06, 1945 – This morning we were ordered to go on AA coverage for the ships in port. Secured from AA duty at about 1430. In port now.As peaceful as the States on this end (north) of the island. The south end is still at war. Battleships are pounding it day and night while our troops move up. Last night I got one of the biggest surprises of the war. Okinawa looked just like Los Angeles or San Francisco at night. Every light on looks as brightly as can be. Southern Okinawa was blacked out except for fires and gun flashes and the flashes and the shells from the wagons. Now I can see why we are progressing so rapidly. Those Japs haven’t got a chance.
May 08, 1945 – We are still in the harbor on post at Okinawa. “Fighter Director” gear and staff is being transferred aboard. We will direct our fighters from our ship on the picket duty. Rough and plenty tough.
May 09, 1945 – Assigned to Radar Picket #15.
May 10, 1945 – 0600. Just secured from all night at G.Q. Just shortly before complete dark we went to G.Q. On the way to my battle station they ordered to “open fire.” God, did that scare me. I looked in the general direction of the approaching plane and there he was, very low, about 2000 yards away and we hadn’t even got to our stations. At 1500 yards, the 4OMM’s opened up. I, in Mt. #2 handling room, have never passed as many projectiles in such a short time as I did last night. The reason I was scared was because the bogie caught us with our pants down. We went at our stations soon enough because Radar didn’t pick up him ’til he was damn near on top of us and therefore the ship had no time to get up a good speed. Whenever we go to G.Q. the plane has usually been at least 8 miles away therefore when he does come in we’re ready for him. When we do go to G.Q. the Skipper immediately get the ship to flank speed and starts giving orders “hard right rudder” then “hard left rudder”. That is how we’ve been dodging all these planes, bombs, and torpedoes. Later after the action was over the Skipper complimented the gun crews on their splendid job of getting to battle in such short time. We got the plane! It took just about (1) one minute from the time G.Q. was rung until we were firing at him. He considered it the Navy’s record. The plane was a single motored torpedo plane. He fired a torpedo at us that went across our wake at about 100 feet behind the ship. Luck or fate, I don’t know.
****May 11, 1945 – Called back to G.Q. at 0805. At 0807 we shot down a Jap seaplane. From that time on I was so darn busy passing projectiles that I couldn’t keep the phones on, therefore I didn’t keep in contact with the bridge to know whether we were getting any of the planes or not. Before I could realize it the whole 48 projectiles and powder was gone from the merry-go-round yet all the time we were working frantically putting more ammo in the hoists. Couldn’t supply the gun fast enough from the magazine so I took every other projectile out of the reserve emergency supply. Yet the merry-go-round was staying empty. I was working so fast that I didn’t have time to be scared. My mouth, lips and throat became so dry that I couldn’t talk. After I was just about ready to give up from exhaustion, the ship gave a great growl and lunged forward end upward and than settled back to it’s normal position. Suddenly all the lights went out, the hoists stopped and the guns could no longer be trained. We switched on the battle lamps and continued to work. We switched on the emergency power and fired again. Then it too went out. The guys inside the merry-go-round were trapped within when they said we were dead in the water and should “abandon ship.” We got a crank and spun the merry-go-round around ’til they could get out. Then I jumped and started swimming. This was 0915. After I got out I always looked back. A fire was raging just off #2 stack and a 2OMM magazine was on fire. The shells were exploding just like huge firecrackers. I then started worrying about Gary and Joe. I know Joe’s battle station was right in the midst of the fire and where Gary was, there was only apart of his gun. I felt sure that they were both gone. An LSM(R) came along some and picked the majority of us out of the water. It then went alongside the Hadley, by that time it was fairly under control, and I got a fire hose and played the stream on the fire from the LSM. Then they started bringing the burned and wounded over on the LSM and I started administering first aid. One guy, John Epelley, was just baked, but yet alive and conscience. His arms and legs were as hard as wood, no circulation in them at all. I’m sure his lungs were burnt because his head, face and lips were burned very badly also. I shouldn’t use the word “baked”. I gave him a morphine shot and some water. Started plasma running in his veins. I then left a man in charge to give him water and see that his body was covered with burn grease. I then started to the head but on the way found another man, Newton, who was in great pain from severe burns. His not as bad as the other man’s. I gave him another syrette and some water. Went back topside and gave men first aid as fast as I could. When it looked as though all the men were O.K., I went back aboard the Hadley and started taking the detonators out of the depth charges. By that time a sea going tug had pulled up alongside us and they started pumping water with their big pumps.
I then saw Gary and Joe. Gary was O.K. except for being a bit shook up because the concussion had blown him clear off the ship into the water. Joe was burned on his arms and face pretty badly because he was trapped and the only way out was by running through a wall of flames. Both Joe and Gary were only about 10 feet from the explosion when the suicide hit. When the second one hit (almost same place), they were both overboard. After I saw them, things were getting fairly well under control. All the wounded and burned were taken to the hospital on the LSM. Then another tug came along side and an LST hooked onto us from the bow and they towed us in. All the ammunition was thrown overboard and everything that could make the ship lighter. It was almost dark when we reached the southern tip of Okinawa. A Rear Admiral’s ship was laying at anchor there and as we passed him he had his entire ship stand at attention and he rendered a salute to us (Rear Admiral Reifsneider). I was told later by one of the crew on his ship that that is the first time he has ever done that to any ship. After we got anchored, the water was continually being pumped out all night. The whole midsection of the ship was flooded (forward engine, aft fire and aft engine rooms). That has been going on every day since (today is now May 13). Here the total, we shot down 21 planes (torpedo planes, bombers, seaplanes and fighters). They crashed on us with two just aft #2 stack which wiped out Mt. 44 plus part of Mt. 43. Our damage besides that was a crash plane that hit just below the water line on the starboard side amidships. It made a hole about 6 feet by 5 feet and a small hole 1 ft. in diameter. So far we’ve found 28 dead. Some could be recognized but most were mangled beyond recognition. The two men that were burnt so badly have died at the hospital. The dead, in the engine rooms and fire rooms, haven’t all been found. The other can, the Evans, got hit too and was also dead in the water. I believe her casualties were higher than ours.
We shot approximately 325 rounds of ammunition from each 5″ mount. The 4OMM shot about 800 rounds per barrel and the 2Omm shot about 1200 per gun. It is very evident that the Evans didn’t fire a mere fraction of the amount of rounds in comparison with our guns. A “PC”, that was in on the edge of the battle, stated that it looked as though our ship was on fire because of the smoke and constant flashes from the guns. It was true that there was a constant flame pouring out of the 5″ guns and the barrels on the ends were red hot. The Captain of the LSM complimented our skipper (who had his pants blown off) on the excellent fight he put up. He said in return, “I know I put up a great fight but only because this crew is the best crew any destroyer has ever had. I knew that when I left the States”. He also added, “This is the fightingest ship and crew afloat.” I asked some of the fellows, whom were topside, about the battle. They said the planes dropped like flies but they didn’t seem to stop coming.
May 16, 1945 – We’ve now been moved to the tin can “Grave Yard” and are tied up alongside the “Aaron Ward”. So far none of the crew that are well and O.K. have been taken off the ship. We now have everything but a way to make fresh water but the engineers are working on that now. We have heat, electricity, steam, air conditioning and plenty of salt water. They have been diving since yesterday for bodies in the engine spaces that are still flooded. The bodies really do stink now and the ship aft #2 stack is sometimes unbearable. Today we had a movie in the mess hall and will have another one tonight. It certainly doesn’t take a sailor long to re-adjust himself and resume natural living again after what we’ve been through.
May 19, 1945 – Still tied up to the repair ship. The “Aaron Ward” went into dry-dock yesterday. Five ships are ahead of us before we go intodry-dock. They’ve been building a structure to close up the hole in our side for the past two days so that we can pump the water out of the engine spaces. Today the USS Panamint, the Admiral’s ship, sent us some cigarettes. Tonight they are preparing to make the records which are to be broadcaster on a coast to coast network back in the States telling about the Hadley’s experience and gallant duties she has performed.
Life on the Hadley has been rather like a vacation since we came here (at the repair ship). We’ve been eating like kings, plenty of rest, and not too much work to do. No watches, with the except for one about every 5th day. Movies are twice a day in the mess hall and usually different pictures. One is in the afternoon and one at night.
May 19, 1945 – Well, I’ve finally found out some true statistics. The Hadley has 25 Jap planes to her credit. She has the world’s record for all ships. Next in comparison goes to the USS South Dakota, who shot down 36 in a day. We shot down 23 in 105 minutes. The Hadley has made a great record and her name will go down in naval history as one of the greatest destroyers of all times. Now, the she is the greatest of all ships. This data was told to me by a high ranking officer.
May 19, 1945, 9:30 P.M. – Just finished listening to the broadcast for the “Our Navy” program being made on a record which is to go on a coast to coast broadcast. The subject for this particular broadcast is the USS Hugh W. Hadley DD774, hero of May 11, 1945 when she downed 23 Jap planes. (My ship or rather “our ship”.)
May 26, 1945 – Yesterday they started pumping out the engine spaces. Five bodies were still down there. They will then been given a burial on the beach. The smell was terrible. Divers report the keel to be badly damaged and the entire ship sprung two holes in port side caused from a “near hit”, one large gap in the bottom of ship caused from explosion and one large hole in starboard side and also a small one. The ship is in very bad condition. Just received orders to transfer 150 men back to station. I doubt very much if I’ll get transferred.
May 27, 1945 – Received orders today to transfer, it’s now 100 men with a short notice. I’m not going with the 100 that are going back to the States. Gary is on it. I really hate that. The men remaining will get the ship back to the U.S. We will have to be towed because the engine spaces are just a big junk heap now.
June 2, 1945 – Today was a sad day for the men of the Hadley. The 100 men on draft back to the States left today. I had a heck of a time keeping back the tears and I just couldn’t seem to get rid of the lump in my throat. All of my buddies, except McKim, were on that draft and it just got me when we gave them three cheers as they rode away in the boats. Everybody, including the skipper, was shouting good-byes until they were way out of hearing distance. Gary, Wolf, Mahedy, and many other swell guys will be missed very much by me and others. We that have been left behind to take the Hadley home. The ship is no longer the best ship in the Navy. When these men left, she lost her true fighting spirits.
June 4, 1945 – Received news that James Forestal disclosed the name of our ship in a news communiqué June 1st. The barometer has been dropping regularly since last night. We were told to be on the lookout for a hurricane. This is the season for hurricanes here. It’s been raining on and off for the past week and half and today it stopped. The sky tonight had a very bright spot in it after the sun had set. I’ve never seen anything just quite like it before in my life.
June 14, 1945 – We are still tied up to the same tender, still waiting to go into dry-dock. Today, I was looking through a bunch of messages that we had received via radio and signal light and was somewhat surprised to find compliments from almost every ship, unit and squadron around here on our battle. Task force #58 (the worlds best), asked us our system for putting up such a good defense. It was signed by Admiral Halsey. Task Force #51 gave us about 11 compliments. Four admirals extended their regards on such a brilliant fight. I’d never dreamed just how much we stood out until I’d read what I did this afternoon. According to the rest of the Navy, we must be heroes. The ship as a unit is no doubt a hero.
June 19, 1945 – Yesterday the new skipper came aboard. His name is Newton. From what I can gather, this is the first time for him to be Captain of a ship. The formal exchange of command was conducted yesterday. Commander Mullaney gave us a little short but very impressive speech. He got tears in his eyes and had to discontinue his little talk.
This morning one of the greatest skippers in the Navy left us. We all got up at 0500 to bid him farewell. At 0500 the boat was waiting at the gangway for “Joe” and the entire crew was present. He walked to the gangway, took off his hat and seemed to look into the face of every man individually as he paused there. He then said, with tears in his eyes, ‘Good-bye boys.” Then he went down the sea ladder into the boat and again took off his hat, this time to the crew of the Hadley — and said good-bye again. He must have really hated to go because he just kept waving as the boat took him away. The crew gave him three cheers louder than I’ve ever heard before as he left. Every man loved and respected him, perhaps that is why the name Hadley’ is a famous name in the navy man’s language. The men enjoyed working for old “Joe” because he showed his appreciation for it to them. I only hope that Commander Newton can do just half as good a job as Commander Mullaney did. The reason Mullaney had to go is because he made Captain and now takes command over a division of destroyers. Mullaney was referred to by all the crew by his nickname, “Joe”, which comes from his name – Baron Joseph Mullaney.
June 21, 1945 – Still tied up beside the tender, USS Zaniah AG-70. Tonight as I was standing foc’sle watch at about 1900. I noticed a good deal of smoke off the port bow. A can was fighting off a Jap plane and pretty soon the plane crashed into the sea. No ships in this anchorage were at G.Q. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Suddenly a 2OMM opened up directly off the fantail and then hundreds of tracers could be seen. I saw no plane. As suddenly as it all started, it was all over. A seaplane tender was hit by the suicide. Some other ship was also hit. Two of our signalmen were aboard the “Curtis” doing temporary duty. One of them was killed. That’s what sailor would call a dirty break. After a guy went through what the Hadley has and then be transferred to a non-combatant ship like that for temporary duty and get it. The Japs were using our radar code signal.
June 24, 1945 – This afternoon we moved to Floating Dry-dock #28. 1 went down in the dock after all the water was pumped out and had a look at the damage done on the bottom of the ship. The starboard screw is pushed back about 3 feet and it now touches the rudder. Directly under the hole in the side the whole belly of the ship pushed up about .5 to 6 feet and then about 4 feet behind the one gap is another hollow just as big. Approximately 75 feet will have to be cut out and new built in before we will ever be able to move again under our power. Here they are just putting in a false bottom and keel, take off the screws and I think will hook up the rudder power.
July 1, 1945 – Made Storekeeper Third Class (SK3/c) today with marks of 3.96 and 3.88.
July 6, 1945 – Today the ARD 28 and the Hadley made history. For the first time in history a heavy unit was moved in a dry-dock while work continued. We are now in the old Jap anchorage on the east side of Okinawa.
July 27, 1945 – Been taking on stores for past 3 days getting ready for trip back. Got out of dry-dock (ARD28) at 1255 today. Made first attempt this morning but there were some leaks. Tied up to starboard side of USS Zaniah AG-70 for night. We are scheduled to leave forSaipan or Guam tomorrow morning by a tug towing us. All of our guns can be manned except MT #1, the 2 quad 40’s and one 2OMM. The ship is so light that every small wave makes it roll tremendously. Now for tomorrow—-
July 28, 1945 – Today the Capt. went to a convoy meeting. We are to leave at 0747 tomorrow morning instead of today.
July 29, 1945 – At 0747 this morning, we started on our first lap of the long trip home. There are approximately 20 big transports (mostly merchants), 25 LST’s and 15 LCI’s in the convoy. Our escort is one 1650 DD and two DE’s. Also, there are 4 tugs. One is pulling us at speed of 8 knots.
August 1, 1945 – Ever since yesterday morning we’ve been in a raging sea. The barometer dropped to 29.07 (normal 29.72). The swells were from 8 to 25 feet high yesterday. The worst of the typhoon didn’t come until about 0030 last night. The ship rolled so badly that I as well as everyone else thought it would turn over and capsize any minute. Just to sum up our condition: the bottom is weak, don’t know how much it will take; the ship is top heavy and we don’t know whether the towing cable will withstand the strain or not. If not the ship would fall into the trough of the ocean, therefore roll so much it would turn over. The ship is built to take a 72 degree roll. Last night it rolled 61 degrees in the condition it’s in. We had a wind of 55 knots all night and up until about 1330 today which churned the ocean into a mad raging mass of mammoth swells. Three of the merchant ships turned back to Okinawa. Two had steering gear trouble. Today, since noon the barometer had raised. At 1730, when I last looked at it, it read 29.49. It is (I hope) still rising. We should be out of this typhoon by midnight. There is another one in the vicinity that is supposed to go north of us. I’ve never before in all of my life been so worried and scared as I was yesterday. Every time the ship would roll, I’d hang on for dear life and pray that it wouldn’t break in two or roll clear over. If we’d have to abandon ship we wouldn’t have a chance of surviving. The huge swells and waves would suck us under. I’ve prayed more in the past 36 hours than ever before. God must be by our side to take such a crippled and wrecked ship through such a mad ocean. The wind died down quite a bit and the breakers aren’t quite as large but the ship is still rolling badly. We’re making about 3 knots now. The convoy is again trying to take formation. After last night the ships were scattered all over and being merchant ships, don’t have radar. They can’t tell where the rest of the ships are unless by radio or naked eye.
August 2, 1945 – Today when I went outside the sun was shining brightly and the big rollers had dropped down to ground swells. The wind is normal now and the sea is getting calmer. While on watch (lookout) on the bridge, I overheard the skipper and the O.O.D. talking about the storm we just weathered. They said the wind velocity was “65 knots” per hour at the top of the storm. And there were some swells and rollers that were 50 or 60 feet high.
August 3, 1945 – 1200 – Today everything is quite calm except for a moderate wind and occasional squalls. The ocean has some ground swells in it. The towline broke twice yesterday. Once at noon and then later in the afternoon. We were just getting caught with the convoy in the morning when it first broke and then got left behind about 15 miles. At the time it last broke we could just see two masts on the horizon. When we got it fixed again the convoy was 25 or more miles ahead of us. All we could get out of speed was 5 1/2 knots last night and the convoy was doing 6 knots. This morning we’ve been going 7 knots, just hoping the towline will take it. Saw three “Coronado” search planes this morning. They were trying to find a LST and a sea-going tug that got lost during the storm. We haven’t been able to get either one on the radio so the general opinion is that they capsized. The barometer is 29.82 – normal.
August 8, 1945 – The water calmed down to almost a slick before we reached Saipan. Yesterday morning when I got up, I could see on the horizon the outline of the island. We got anchored at about 1500 outside the nets. Mail came aboard. Lots of it. Happy day and a movie topside too. It seemed kind unusual to not darken ship and be able to go out on deck with a lit cigarette or a flashlight. I can’t quite make myself believe that at last we are away from possible air raids. Today we moved inside the nets. As we passed the battleship USS Pennsylvania, she had her men stand at attention for us. Usually we stand at attention for her but this time visa-versa. We’re supposed to leave here Sunday. We’ve offered all of our hospitality to the tug crew that is towing us. They came over to see the movie last night.
2130. Just finished seeing the movie and looked over toward the beach. My first glimpse suggested San Francisco. The camps, warehouses, airfields, etc give out an array of green, red and white lights. It looks just like a large city. Perhaps just like San Franciscolooked from Treasure Island.
August 12, 1945 – Yesterday I went on liberty to Saipan. Had three beers and a coke. Not much to do. We left Saipan at 0600 this morning. The ocean is very calm with a soft ocean breeze.
August 15, 1945 – Today the war was officially over. We are almost half way between Saipan and Eniwetok. The news was taken without cheering aboard. No one especially seemed to care if the war was over or not. They all seemed to take the attitude “Well that’s that”. As if it were just another battle won. It really doesn’t mean too much to us or rather me anyway. We were leaving the war anyway and knew we probably wouldn’t be back in it again anyway. The sea has continued to be very level and calm ever since we left. We are making about 7 1/2 knots.
August 17, 1945 – A few white caps are on the ocean. A rather strong breeze from due south ever since last night. Otherwise everything is very normal.
August 19, 1945 – Arrived at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. We were to stay long enough to refuel the tug but it seems that now we are going to stay four days. Eniwetok resembles Ulithi very much except that here there are buildings and airstrips.
August 24, 1945 – Left Eniwetok at noon today. A PCE is our escort. We are starting our longest lap home. Next stop; Pearl Harbor.
August 31, 1945 – Crossed the dateline at 2400. We will have two Fridays in a row because we will gain a day.
September 9, 1945 – Arrived back to civilization, Pearl Harbor. It really seemed good to hear a train whistle blow, see some real American girls and drink some good fresh milk. ComDesPac greeted us upon arrival and asked us to a beer party provided by them. They also brought pies, doughnuts, milk, ice cream and our mail aboard the minute we tied up. It’s really swell to be a part of such a well known ship. We received word that the Hadley will be decommissioned at Mare Island, California and we are to leave here September 12th.
September 12, 1945 – At noon we were out of Pearl Harbor heading eastward past Honolulu, Wakiki Beach, Diamond Head and other villages. We then turned north which led us to go between Oahu and Maui & Molokai. We went due north until the next morning then swung on to a course of N.E. and have been keeping the course since.
September 19, 1945 – Over halfway to San Francisco, the water is getting rougher and rougher every day. Everyone is running around draped in their jackets even though the temperature is only about 60 degrees.
September 24, 1945 – It is very chilly. At about noon we sailed into a rich dark ocean. The ocean has always been a dark clear blue. Frisco is about 200 miles ahead.
September 25, 1945 – Rough and very heavy sea, 30 feet swells.
September 26, 1945 – Just passed #6 buoy. Through a gray haze dead ahead is good old U.S.A. We’ve just passed the island with the lighthouse and radio station. Our orders were changed the other night. We are going to Hunter’s Point, San Francisco. At 1330 we went under the Golden Gate Bridge. What a secure feeling a person gets once inside the bay. You never feel at home until you see the bridge behind you. We’re home at last.
December 2, 1945 – The ship is in the process of being decommissioned here at Hunter’s Point. All of the guns, radio and radar gear has been removed. Also all the spares, food, in fact practically everything have been removed. December 15, 1945 is the day the United States Ensign will be lowered from the Hadley’s mast for the last time. She will no longer be a USS, just a hull without a name, number or anything that designates her to be the one time great fighting ship, USS Hugh W. Hadley DD774.
This is my personal diary of my naval life from September 27, 1944 until December 15, 1945. Every word in this book is true as I saw it.
Jack R. Garska