In his own words – Jack Parker, SM 2c
At the beginning of 1945 we were ordered to New York where we were
refitted with radar ,electric ventilators, new caulking and copper plates on
our bottom. This was accomplished at Wheeler Shipyard. We were then loaded,
with 3 other 83 footers (the numbers of which I can not remember), on to a
Liberty ship called the SS Henry Durant at Bayonne N.J. Departing Bayonne, we
traveled south to and through the Panama Canal . We continued our long slow
trip all alone across the Pacific with the first stop being the Admiralty
Islands where we stayed for a day or so and then on to Hollandia which at
that time was part of Dutch New Guinea . We picked up a convoy there and
proceeded to Tacloban Leyte in the Philippines.
We were offloaded there and proceeded to the Lingayen Gulf. We ran
anti-submarine patrols from Lingayen Gulf to Subic Bay and then to Manila
and return. Our sea watches were 4 hrs. on and 8 hrs. off. As far as I
remember we never saw another 83 footer while we were there although I know
they were all over the islands. I still remember seeing the movie
Return to Bataan starring John Wayne and Anthony Quinn in an old
movie house in Manila.
During one of our patrols, although we knew there was a friendly
submarine area near Subic Bay, we encountered a situation where a small blip
suddenly showed up on our radar and all of a sudden about 500 yds from our
starboard bow, a submarine started to surface. Sheppe (I hope I spelled it
right) ,a kid from Milwaukee, said "It's a submarine and it's a big s.o.b."
It was indeed a fleet submarine with a 5 in. gun forward and a 3 in. gun aft
of the conning tower. The skipper had already sounded GQ. and we started to
send a challenge on our signal light. We did this 4 or 5 times as I remember
with no answer and here we are ready to open fire with our little 20 mm and
submachine guns, when all of a sudden they answered our challenge with the
proper signal and we stood down with a great sigh of relief. Naturally it
had taken a few minutes for them to climb the conning tower and open their
hatches and then find the ever alert and "Always Ready" Coast Guard sitting
on top of them.
At the end of the war we were transferred to Mactan Island which is
across the river from Cebu City and is the island where Magellan is buried.
There is a monument to him on the island and we did have a chance to view
it. This part of our tour was almost like a vacation since we stayed tied up
to the dock with the exception to those times when we would visit other
islands which in itself was enjoyable. The weather was warm, the waters calm
and so clear you tell heads or tails on a coin ten feet down. We were able
to scrounge up a jeep for our personal use from the army along with a small
speed boat, so of course we built an aquaplane which for the younger people
was a wide board and a forerunner to water skis. We would take turns riding
this down the wide river until the natives told us about the sharks etc. in
the river. We also were able make a deal with Seabees and they supplied us
with delicious pastries and ice cream whenever we asked for it and then
fresh water hose showers on the dock . Life was good
During this part of our tour we encountered a couple of experiences. The
first was when we tied up to a Navy tanker to refill our gas tanks and
someone on the tanker turned the wrong valve causing gasoline to pour all
over us. We were afraid of a spark and were very happy when we were
completely washed down and could pull away from the tanker. Needless to say
we were not very happy with that tanker crew. The second experience we had
was when the Navy called us to help locate a barge that had broken away from
their towline during a storm. We located the barge but then it required two
men to swim over in pretty rough water to the barge and help retie the lines
to the navy ship. Tex Miller, our sonar man, volunteered and it was then
between the other signalman , Larry Traxler from Mt. Pleasant S.C., and me.
Larry said that he could not swim so it was up to me. We completed our task
and signaled the navy ship and then we dove off the barge to swim back to
the 331. Our crew had hung three or four lines over the side for us to grab.
I missed the first or second before grabbing the next line and was hauled
aboard . Larry and I remained close friends for many years and I teased him
every time we visited and he always insisted that he could not swim but how
he was looking out for me with the submachine gun to protect me from the
sharks. Larry died several years ago at the age of 70 and I still miss him.
We were so fortunate to have such a great skipper and a great crew.
In Dec. 1945, I returned to the states on the U.S.S. Tazewell (APA 209)
arriving in Jan. 1946 and after a stay in the hospital for a bug I picked
up, I was discharged on Feb. 26 1946.