The PT Boat Forum

» Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII

» Forum Name: PT Boats - General

» Topic: U.S. Naval Training and Distribution Center - Shoemaker, CA

Gentlemen, I've been a "reader" of this website and the various topics almost on a daily basis now for a long time. I have posted a couple of times looking for information on my father Walter W. Bauer Jr. a torpedoman who according to his separation papers mentions he served in Rons 17,14, 23 and the USS Accontius.

My sister was recently cleaning out my Mother's house and came across what looks almost like a yearbook - Black hard cover with a raised abchor and US Navy on the cover. Inside there is a history of the Navy, a section on our Navy in Action with photo's taken during WWII and then a complete sectoin on "Life in the Naval Receiving Station of the U.S. Naval Training and Distrubution Center, Shoemaker, CA. This section contains photos of the facility, football basketball and baseball teams, barracks activities etc. Finally under the title Transient Personnel at the back of the book are individual photo's of various sailors, their names, rating, and address. There are 640 men shown and listed - one of which is my father.- who is listed as "Bauer W. W. TM2c 301 E. Courtois St. St. Louis, MO. Hand written beside his name is Ron 23 and it appears beside several other names he has written various Rons that the other men served in (several Ron 14, ron 20 and "Gene Lafette" (?)

There are no dates shown anywhere as to when these photos may have been taken or when he was assigned here etc. My first thought was it was a training center he went through after the war but I don't know if that is correct. His separation papers dated 20 November 1946 shows his place of separation as US Naval Training Station Newport, R.I. and lists him as TM first class. Under service schools completed it lists in order, Torpedo Sch San Diego, CA; Torpedo Sch Advanced; Coco Solo, Canal Zone; Torpedo Sch Newport, RI. HIs service (vessels and stations served on) lists in order MTS San Diego, CA; MTBSTR Portsmouth, R.I. and the aforementioned Rons, 17; Ron 14; Ron 23; and USS Acontius (AGP12).

Assuming the Service record is in chronological sequence he must have been here either before or after his Ron 23 days.

Can anyone give me any insight as to what this is / was etc.

p.s. sorry for the length of this message, but I get carried away trying to make sure all the info is here.


Posted By: Wayne Bauer | Posted on: Dec 24, 2008 - 9:34am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

I believe I have a copy of that book, or one similar. I'll have to look. Many bases put these books out to document the base and people that were there. It wasn't everybody but just those at the time the book was being made. Shoemaker was a big base that processes sailors through and I believe they had some training classes. Many of these books were put together at the end of the war. I have a couple of them that have the same intro pages on the history of the Navy in the war, and then go to the specific base pictures. So my guess is late 1945 is when they put them together. He probably got his picture taken and ordered a book and it was sent to his address after printing.



Posted By: 29navy | Posted on: Dec 24, 2008 - 10:04am
Total Posts: 486 | Joined: Dec 28, 2006 - 3:02pm

Charlie, thanks

The back of the book shows "Volume 1, Transient Personnel, Shoemaker, CA.

I "googled" Naval Recieving Station Shoemaker, CA and came across a website that mentions "Camp Shoemaker housed a Naval Hospital and Naval Training and Personnel Distribution Center. These facilities served the fleet in much the same manner as Camp Parks served the Seabees. Camp Parks functioned as home for Seabees returning from the Pacific Theater of Operations. Battalions returned to the States after a year or more of arduous construction duty. They came to Camp Parks for medical treatment, military training and reorganization." can I assubme he was there for "training" or reassignment following his service with Ron 14 and then reassigned to Ron 23 or perhaps he was there after Ron 23 and then assigned to the Acontius? My Mother's memory doesn't recall any of this but she does claim he came back from the Phillipines after the war aboard the Acontius.


Posted By: Wayne Bauer | Posted on: Dec 24, 2008 - 10:35am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

I can't shed much light on this, but I went through the transient business at Shoemaker. I was only there for a few days. All I saw of it was a temporary barracks for holding Navy enlisted men while they were waiting for transportation overseas. I remember there were no musters, work assignments or liberty, we were just hung up waiting to go. There were a bunch of PT Boaters there but I don't know what others may have bunked there.

Posted By: BobPic | Posted on: Dec 24, 2008 - 12:32pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

i also was at shoemaker waiiting for assignment to go overseas.i remember the barracks,no liberty or work ASSIGNMENTS.ALSO REMEMBER THE WARM DAYS,AFTER THE COLD OF THE NIGHTS WORE OFF AND WASHING OUTDOORS AT THE LONG WASHBASIN STANDS IN THE COLD MORNINGS. EARL

earl richmond

Posted By: earl | Posted on: Dec 24, 2008 - 2:13pm
Total Posts: 197 | Joined: Oct 18, 2006 - 12:13pm

I also spent some time at Shoemaker awaiting assignment. Later a group of sailors was transferred to Treasure Island and then to a transport ship sailing to Brisbane unescorted. On return to the states, I was at Treasure Island for a few days before going home on leave. While at Shoemaker, in 1943, we permitted to go on liberty.

I was not aware of any training facilities at Shoemaker, but I never explored the base. However, its primary use was receiving men from various training stations, San Diego for me, and shipping them out to various assignments.

Posted By: QM | Posted on: Dec 24, 2008 - 6:04pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

I was there twice. The first time it was just called Pleasanton, which is in Pleasanton, Ca. However i don't understand that some members on this board say that there ws no liberty. I went on liberty in San Francisco, San Jose, Hayward from there. I also sthink some sailors going into town (I don't know which town) and working one night in canneries.
I hope I'm not dreamng about the canneries. I know that I am not dreaming about liberties.

Posted By: Russell Pullano | Posted on: Dec 25, 2008 - 3:48pm
Total Posts: 131 | Joined: Oct 23, 2006 - 7:31am

hi russ it remember the canneries but i did not have liberty from shoemaker/pleasanton.i was in treasure island when i had my liberties.i treasure island was under the golden gate bridge. did work in one cannery for one night so i could make some money for the liberty from TI. we took our liberty in sanFrancisco and a place just outside of there.we went to the stage door canteen in SF and a place called seal rock amusement park.i was at TI before i was in shoemaker/pleasanton.i worked the galley in TI for a short time.also remember that in TI mess hall ,when you turned in your dirty tray,the men working in that section were POW,S from germany.i had an altercation with one of them. guess you who had the liberties from S/P were the lucky ones. earl

earl richmond

Posted By: earl | Posted on: Dec 25, 2008 - 4:02pm
Total Posts: 197 | Joined: Oct 18, 2006 - 12:13pm

I forgot to mention that while at Shoemaker I was put to work one night. I was assigned to shore patrol duty in Hayward. I had no idea as to what I should do. Fortunately I was accompanied by another sailor who was trained for the job.

Posted By: QM | Posted on: Dec 25, 2008 - 5:48pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

I too was in Shoemaker for about a week or 10 days in March 1945. Sent there from the Fargo Bldg. It was a receiving station for personnel waiting shipment overseas. I shipped out from there to Samar, Phillipines Base 17. While I was there I had liberty every night - got a job at a trucking company handling freight loading trucks to make a little extra money.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Dec 25, 2008 - 7:29pm
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm

I wasn't at Shoemaker but did spend a short time at Treasure Island.
We were on continuous liberty, reporting in each evening and back
out the next day. Market street was our hangout. Our liberty ended
when myself and 2 other swabbies got into a drunken brawl with
four marines right smack on Market street. SP's broke it up and
that was the end of liberty. Two days later I was on a troopship
headed for New Guinea. Memories......

RM 3/C PT 497

Posted By: area51 | Posted on: Dec 26, 2008 - 8:43am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

Gentlemen, thanks for all the replies. I do recall my father "mentioning
" Treasure Island" so I assume he spent some time there as well.

While all of you were at Shoemaker do you know if any of you were included in any of the "yearbook" type thing I have, or why my father may have been included in this one?



Posted By: Wayne Bauer | Posted on: Dec 26, 2008 - 12:54pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

Hey QM,
I also had shore patrol in Hayward. don't emember if it was from Shoemaker or Treasure Island. I too was coupled with a regular shore patrolman.
Now get this, I only weighed 29 pounds, but I had a QM1/c rate. I guess when they selected us for shore patrol they must have thought that because of the rate, I must have been an old salt.
The regular shore patrol with me was given specific instructions not to ever leave me alone. There was one sailor who was giving us a hard time. We kicked him out of two places, and again we ran into him at another bar causing a scene, so the regular shore patrol took him in and left me with two MP's.
In a short time, the MP's took in some soldier and left me alone. About then two sailors got into a fight. Like a dumb fool, I reverted to my boot training and took out my billyclub, got between the two two of them and was about to jab the club into the one sailor's gut. As I drew my club back, the sailor that I was trying to help, who now was at my back, grabbed the club from my hand , raised it to clobber me when a shrill whistle sounded. thank God was the shore patrol that was making their rounds checking. They asked me where the regular shore patrol was and remeinded me that I was not to be left alone. I explained to them that I was not left alone, but was left with two MP's, but they took in a soldier and they left me alone..
Soon my regular shore patrol returned , got his butt chewed out, and the other two went on their way. LUCKY ME.!!

Posted By: Russell Pullano | Posted on: Dec 26, 2008 - 6:24pm
Total Posts: 131 | Joined: Oct 23, 2006 - 7:31am

I was there in March 1945 . I shipped out on St. Patrick's Day. A Philippino band was on shore playing Mac Namara's band. I believe it was on the ship General Errnst or something like that . We ended up in the Philippines, but I was set ashore at Ormoc and joined Ron 12. I bet we were on the same ship. Do you recall the date that you shipped out of Frisco?

Posted By: Russell Pullano | Posted on: Dec 26, 2008 - 6:34pm
Total Posts: 131 | Joined: Oct 23, 2006 - 7:31am


I too was a lightweight when I had shore patrol duty, probably less than 150 pounds. Fortunately I was not involved in any barroom brawls. At age 17 I was too young to go into a bar. Seriously though there were no problems that night, and I never again had shore patrol duty.

Posted By: QM | Posted on: Dec 26, 2008 - 7:29pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

I don't recall the date I shipped out but it was around the middle of March. We could have been on the same troop ship. I know we were hardlly out of sight of the Bridge when I got sea sick and was sick for 3 or 4 days. I had ridden 242 in the Solomons for 14 months and was never sick but I dreaded going back overseas because I had gotten married while on leave and sure hated to leave my wife. I had that awful feeling that I might not be as lucky this trip and not get back at all.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Dec 27, 2008 - 8:53am
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm

I'm almost sure we were on the same ship..Speaking of seasickness, I had 72 patrols and i bet you that I was sick 68 times. the skipper wanted to put me ashore, but i convinced him that i never wasn't able to stand my watch and if the radioman would quit smoking a pack or two of cigaretts in that couped chartroom I would stop pukeing. Of course, I knew that he couldn't stop.
I used to take the liner out of my helmet, hang it on the hand rail in the chartroom, and heave in the metal part. then when my watch was over. I would put it on the boat hook and dip it in the drink and rinse it out. Discusting wasn't it.
Back to the transport out of Frisco. I was bunked next to the head, forward of the ship. Everyone was getting sick and heaving in the head. I remarked that I was glad that I wasn't sick. then the smell oozed from the head and I joined the rest of them.
I wouldn't be surprized if I didn't have the record for seasickness.


Posted By: Russell Pullano | Posted on: Dec 27, 2008 - 9:28am
Total Posts: 131 | Joined: Oct 23, 2006 - 7:31am

Bringing up an old topic here but didn't want to retype a lot of the earlier info from my original post.

Slowly, bit by bit, I am uncovering more information about my father’s service time. My sister recently found my father's "diploma" initiating him as a "Trusty Shellback" into "the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep" obviously commemorating his crossing of the equator.
I first have to say how surprised I was at the quality of document. A 15” x 20” heavy paper, color, ornately printed with drawings of Neptune, mermaids, horses, fish etc. etc. Given the number of sailors that must have had this honor bestowed upon them, someone obviously put a lot of effort into this.
In any event, the document shows this crossing of the equator to have taken place December 26, 1944 aboard the SS Jean Lafitte.
Further research shows the US Troop Ship Jean Lafitte “in December of 1944…left San Francisco on a two month voyage to Finschhafen, Manus Island, Woendi, Biak, and Leyte.”

Putting this information along with the previous info found in the Shoemaker book etc., I assume he was enroute to join Ron 23 and what I believe was an assignment aboard PT 277 in December of 1944.

The problem is I don’t see that Ron 23 was ever “stationed” at Base 21 Mios Woendi – so my question is would they have possibly been there temporarily for repairs supplies or whatever or could he have just been dropped their and then sent to Ron 23 – wherever they were in early 1945.

Any information will help.


Posted By: Wayne Bauer | Posted on: Feb 3, 2011 - 9:17pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

I was in Ron 19 originally aboard 242, Ron 19 was decommissioned in May 1944 and our 242 boat was assigned to Ron23. We were in Ron 23 operating out of Green Island until Nov 11, 1944 when all us original crew members were relieved of duty and returned to the U.S. for 30 days leave. I believe Ron 23 and the new crew of 242 left Green Island sometime around Dec 1st, 1944 for Mios Woendi N.G. They were there only a short time and then went under thier own power to the Philippines. Your father probasbly joined Ron 23 while they were in Mios Woendi before they went to the Philippines.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Feb 4, 2011 - 10:15am
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm

Thanks CJ – that does make sense as my father spoke many times about his being in the Philippines. I also noticed the itinerary for the Jean Lafitte also mentions it going on to Leyte. Could he have met Ron 23 there?
Do you know where or what base Ron 23 went to after they left Mios Woendi?
I appreciate your insight.

Posted By: Wayne Bauer | Posted on: Feb 4, 2011 - 9:02pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

I wish I could remember where this happened, from stories from my dad. He arrived at a base getting ready to ship out, and was assigned to a WAVE barracks. It was corrected much to his disappointment. His name was Herman so it was kind of funny. Anyone know any women named Herman?

Posted By: Scott Swiger | Posted on: Feb 5, 2011 - 5:13am
Total Posts: 26 | Joined: Jan 10, 2010 - 1:18pm

According to "Knights of the Sea" and "At Close Quarters" Ron 23 went to Mindoro, Philippine Islands but had no action there.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Feb 5, 2011 - 10:43am
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm

I was sent to Shoemaker in April or May 1945 from Fargo Bldg in Boston, MA. There was a large group of PT Boaters on the AT&SF train that brought us there. I recall some work details but I also recall quite a lot of liberties. On one weekend pass, three of us spent it at the Hearst estate. I never worked at the canneries while on liberty.but I did work at a cement factory and an ice plant to make some extra money. What impressed me the most about Shoemaker were the constant barrack searches for cameras, diaries, etc that might violate security and the never ending crap games. There could be 4 or 5 games going on at the same time in a section. I am not a gambler but i was amazed at the amount of money that was being bet on each game. I don't recall the name of the ship that took us to the SoPac but just about all the PT Boaters made the trip. About halfway to the Philippines, the PA system on the ship announced the dropping of the first atom bomb. We eventually landed at Samar and the war was effectively over.

Posted By: Pat Rogers | Posted on: Feb 5, 2011 - 1:45pm
Total Posts: 72 | Joined: Oct 10, 2006 - 3:21am

I can recall the 5 day troop train trip from Boston to Shoemaker. There was a crap game going continuously night and day the whole trip. Like you I was amazed that sailors had that much money to bet.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Feb 5, 2011 - 7:12pm
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm

How long was the “usual” stay at Shoemaker? Trying to piece information together here. As I mentioned before my Dad’s separation papers list his service as Ron 17; Ron 14 and Ron 23 in order. Assuming his “stay” at Shoemaker was during his transition from Ron 14 (PT 99 “Porkers Stern” I believe) to reassignment in Ron 23.
Ron 14 (Panama Canal Zone) shows it was decommissioned in September of 1944 – from the information that showed the “Jean Lafitte” sailed from San Francisco in late December of 1944, could it have been possible for him to be there from September till December of 1944?
Again his separation papers under service schools completed lists in order, “Torpedo Sch San Diego, CA; Torpedo Sch Advanced; Coco Solo, Canal Zone; Torpedo Sch Newport, RI.”
Since Torpedo Sch Newport, RI follows the Canal Zone reference, could he have first been sent to “school” in Newport and then sent to Shoemaker?
(of course all of this assumes the order of appearance on his separation papers is in correct chronological order…)

Posted By: Wayne Bauer | Posted on: Feb 8, 2011 - 12:28pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered