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 Author  Topic: PT BASES
Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Oct 15, 2008 - 4:19am
I was just wondering what life was like on the Bases during the eveening time, after the boats had left on patrol. Being in a forward area sometimes, was it always lights out? What was the jungle like at night, and were there any encounters with natives or wild animals. How did one find there way around at night. Were Sentries posted around the Base. We know so much about the boats and their patrols, but little gets talked about as far as Base Life was concerned.....

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EARL RICHMOND

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of EARL RICHMOND  Posted on: Oct 15, 2008 - 9:08am
hello frank before i was assigned to my boat i was assigned tio several bases.i was a cook and baker and served in the galleys. i slept in a tent,with a cot and the usual mosquito netting.i had a foxhole outside the tent used for general quarters air raids.i woke up at about 4 am to got to galleys to start the breakfast meal.usually i was rthe first to arrive in the gallety.we had canned goods stacked outside the galley on skids and coverred with tarp.it was dark and scary being by yourself at that time of morning for about two hours.every noise you heard made oyou think of so many things that could happen but you just kept on cooking.outside my tent i had a shelf attached to a tree about chest high.i had a small hole that i put my helmet in.i used the helmet for shaving,washing.we had a lister bag containg water for drinking.we had a barrel to catch the rainwater for washing ourselves and clothes.we had that real hard soap to use.hung our clothes on a line between the trees.i did have a still going for alky.made raisin jack and brandy.we had a sick bay of sorts.we made paths in the area to get around.we always stuck to within the safe area of the perimeter.we had built a head out over the water .it was usually very damp from the humidity and ,later,very hot from the sun.the mosqitos were out by the millions at night and the flies duringg the day.yiou heard some animal noises during the day but more so at night just after the sun went down.the whole jungle seemed to wake up then.you can just imagine tthe bugs we had to put up[ with at all times.antss,fliees,mosqiotos,scorpions,snakes,centipedes,etc.the tents were stifling from the heat.we had "jungle rot"in our groins and feet.we had boils on our backs that had to be lanmced.all in aall, A LOT OF FUN. earl

earl richmond

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Oct 15, 2008 - 4:36pm
Earl

As always thank your for your quick response. I can only imagine the horrible time with the heat, humidity, and bugs. Makes one wonder how you guys could still mantain your fighting trim. Sure makes me feel bad when I complain about it being hot outside, as I sit indoors with my nice Fan overhead, and relax in the comforts of my home where no biugs reside.

Sometimes when I go outside at night to the shed, I hear noises, and get scared that its some animal. You guys sure did not have it easy, PT boys still prefered the relaxed rules and regultions compared to being onboard Ship. How much light could one use while doing your chores at night, and did the Japs ever attack you guys at night or only during daylight hours.


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EARL RICHMOND

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of EARL RICHMOND  Posted on: Oct 15, 2008 - 4:47pm
frank we had many night time air raids. on a couple of the islands.the skies were lit up with tracers and searchlights.on one base we were close to the airfield and the bombs came mighty close to us.the boats were always a prime target for the japanese pilots.when we heard the ocondition red sirenes we dove into the foxholes next to the tent.some it only lasted for a few minutes and many tiomes much longer.we wre very carefull using lanterns at night.we had red globes on some that made it harder to be seen in the dark and only gave a little light for the path.in the galley ,at night,i cooked also by a large lantern under the roof of the galley.had to shut iot down when the sirenes went off though.also had to shut down the stoves and restart thyem after the all clear. earl

earl richmond

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Michael

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Michael   Send Email To Michael Posted on: Oct 15, 2008 - 10:51pm
Geeze Earl,
You and the rest of the blokes like my Grandfather sure had it tough alright.But rest assured if it were not for the Base Forces,the PT Crews and Boats would not have been able to perform in the valiant manner in which they did.Hats off to you all.
I have a question to ask,Did the Base Forces, eg, Motor Macs,Cooks,Firemen etc,have and Use weapons or was there a seperate group that protected the bases.
I remember reading that outside a Motor Macs shed there was an anti aircraft gun manned by Aussies at one Base.
Thanks Mate

Michael

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EARL RICHMOND

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of EARL RICHMOND  Posted on: Oct 16, 2008 - 11:15am
hello michael good to hear from you.the base men had some 30 cal rifles,some carbines and most had 45,s.i had a 45 and my knife.mostly our protection came from the boats that were therte.on treasury island,i think, we had army shore batteries around the area.i think i had aa couple of photos of the shore batteries.i think i sent one or more to nate.i don,t know how to post the photos here. i had some aussie friends at a camp nbext to ours.great guys.we had one "little" army artillery guy that hung around our base all the time whem he was not on duty.he was proud to be associated with the pt,s.he often ate with and chatted with us. said our base w3as like a second home to him.take care earl

earl richmond

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CJ Willis

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of CJ Willis  Posted on: Oct 16, 2008 - 2:07pm
I only spent 2 or 3 nights at Vella La Vella on the base before being assigned to 242 after that I always slept on the boat. I recall the first night at Vella La Vella. We came up from Tulagi on the 235 - arrived late in the afternoon. There were five of us green horn seaman. We were given a pyramid tent to erect. By the time we got it put up out in a clearing next to the jungle it was almost dark. We were told that there were still Japs on the island and to be on the lookout. The other four guys were issued cots with mosquito nets but they ran out when it came to Willis. All I got was a mosquito net. My solution was to tie my hammock diagonally across the tent to trees and to try to attach the mosquito net someway with some sticks to the hammock (Absolutely no lights after dark) My buddies all tried to help and had suggestions. I finally crawled into the hammock and went to sleep. There are lots of strange noises in the jungle at night. Insects can make the most noise. Next morning when we awoke, I was lying on the ground. The ropes had stretched. As Earl Says "A lot of fun."

C. J. Willis

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Oct 16, 2008 - 3:09pm
CJ

Thanks so much for the update. It seems that no matter how much time passes ( in this case some 64 years ago) these things stick out in your mind. I am sure it was a breath of fresh air to be back on the boat. I don't know how you guys did it and still manage to fight a War, but then again you are considered the Best Generation, a term I happen to agree with.


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EARL RICHMOND

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of EARL RICHMOND  Posted on: Oct 16, 2008 - 3:53pm
HI CJ HOPE YOU ARE DOING OK NOW.
FRANK, I GUESS WE JUST ACCEPTED OUR SITUATION AND DID WHAT WE HAD TO DO.IT ONLY MADE IT HARDER IF YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE DANGERS. IT BECAM,E A MATTER OF ROUTINE JUST TO DO OUR JOBS. RIGHT CJ? EARL

earl richmond

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QM

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Oct 17, 2008 - 2:46pm
I spent only two or three nights on the base at Dreger. We slept in tents with dirt floors. The first night there the air raid sirens sounded. We sure were not going into a black hole in the ground for shelter not knowing what else might be in there. We felt safer in the tents. The aircraft were usually going after a nearby air strip. Few aircraft were involved. I do not remember maintaining blackout at night. We had nighttime movies. Whenever the sirens sounded, all lights went out and the movie stopped. Later on the boat we tied-up at a shelter built on piers over the water. Most of us slept in the shelter. I do not remember the heat being too uncomfortable. It would have been worse a short distance inland where the base force bunked.

At Hollandia and Wadke I believe that we maintained a blackout at night.
We had only tenders there.

At Mios Woendi I was on the base for about two months awaiting transportation back to the states. Mios Woendi is a small roughly triangle shaped island of less than one mile on each side. There was no jungle after our base and other facilities were built. We may have maintained blackout at night in the early days there. The surrounding water helped maintain a fairly comfortable temperature. It was more comfortable than the days of the summer heatwaves at home in the nineteen thirties,

It would be interesting to hear from some of the crew on the tenders. Sleeping below deck the heat was probably uncomfortable at all of the South Pacific stations and the Philippines.


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