USS Panamint
USS Panamint (AGC-13)
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The USS Panamint - Diary - 1945
Note: Each date links to a page with more events for that date.

Use the links below to go to a specific month of Diary entries
January February March April May
June July August September October
4 January
With Rear Admiral L. F. Reifsnider, Commander Amphibious Group Four and his staff aboard we weigh anchor for Pearl Harbor. En route we make a futile night search for a plane reported down.

10 January
Arrive at Pearl Harbor. We make our first liberty in Honolulu with its souvenir shops, its tattoo artists, its gaudy Waikiki Beach, its spectacular Pali and its beautiful weather. Two and a half weeks of this for us, punctuated by a brief training cruise.

28 January
Weighed anchor and out to sea, headed west and south. This is it, we’re headed for action.

1 February
We cross the International Dateline about 1515 and instantly it becomes “tomorrow”, 2 February, at the same time. We cross at about 5 degrees north latitude and it’s hot!

4 February
During the night we cross the Equator.

5 February
All “pollywogs” and that means most of us, are mustered and King Neptune takes over the ship. With his trusty “shellbacks” he initiates us into his realm and we become members of the “Ancient Order of the Deep”. Now we know what “third degree” means. The ceremony gives some of us a pain in the…er…neck!

7 February
We arrive at Guadalcanal. More important to us, we receive mail. Tetere Point, where we’re anchored, is hot and dusty and so is all of Guadalcanal. The island is humming with activity, hundreds of vehicles dash along its gravel roads and the natives look friendly and stupid, but are harder to outsmart than a horse trader. During our stay in the Solomons area, a bloody battleground a couple of years ago, we take aboard Marine Major General Roy S. Geiger and his Third Amphibious Corps Staff. The ship is packed now and berthing space is at a premium.

15 March
After full rehearsal of our part in the forthcoming Okinawa operation, we’re under way for Ulithi in the western Carolines.

17 March
Again we cross the Equator, but we’re all “shellbacks” now.

21 March
We arrive at Ulithi, a busy staging point for the fleet. The harbor is jammed with ships of all descriptions as far as the eye can see. Ships lying at anchor, all prepared to strike.

27 March
Under way again and this is really it. We’ re on our way to our first invasion. We’re to take part in the assault on Okinawa Shima.

1 April
This Easter Sunday we help write history. At 0115 we go to battle stations for two hours. Attacking enemy aircraft are shot down nearby, by our carrier based planes. Then there is a lull and the pre-invasion barrage begins. Big, medium and little ships open up with all they have, pouring a hail of death on the beaches which the Marines and Soldiers will occupy. It is continuous, lethal and concentrated, the heaviest barrage the world has seen. For us, it is like sitting in a theatre gallery and watching a remote stage below. As H-Hour-0830, passes, we watch amphibious forces leave their ships, drop into small boats which make their way over the coral reefs and clamber ashore. By 1800, 50,000 marines and soldiers are ashore, and the invasion is going well.

6 April
First big raid [200 planes] and our fighter directors get credit for forty five enemy planes destroyed. After the first days we settle into a routine, regular work interrupted by intermittent calls to General Quarters. We sleep when possible because sleepless nights are the rule. Air raids are so frequent that we become almost immune to their anxieties.

12 April
President Roosevelt reported dead. Under a new Commander-in-Chief the war goes on. We embark Army Major General A. D. Bruce and the staff of the 77th Infantry Division. And we get mail!

16 April
We move to Ie Shima, 10 miles north of Okinawa, to direct the invasion of that island. It is Okinawa all over again, on a smaller scale. For this drive, Ernie Pyle is aboard our ship. In the morning we have a heavy air raid and our gunners get their first official splash.

18 April
We receive word that Ernie Pyle has been killed on the beach, sad news because he was the ordinary fighting man’s friend.

21 April
At 1025 the flag is raised at the top of the pinnacle, called Iegusugu Yama in Ie Shima. Two days later, Ie Shima is declared “secure”.

30 April
Fire and Rescue party boards the ··· S.S. Hall Young, puts out fire. Mussolini reported shot. “One Down”.

2 May
Hitler reported dead. “Two Down”.

6 May
About 0800 General Quarters sounds and our guns begin firing simultaneously. It’s another suicide plane. This one, knocked off its course by the firing of many guns, misses us by only feet. It makes a beautiful splash.

7 May
The war in Europe reported over. Now we can concentrate.

8 May
It’ s official. The “Exec” announces about noon that “This is V-E Day”.

11 May
While we are at G. Q., a plane bursts around the hill on Ie Shima and is off our starboard bow almost before we know it. As our guns open fire it launches a torpedo and veers away. Simultaneously another plane slips in aft and starts a tin fish towards our fantail. Captain Woods however, swings the ship around the anchor chain and both torpedoes slide past. Within seconds, still another plane, coming in low over the water, points for our starboard beam. Our guns go into action. The kamikaze plane almost scrapes our superstructure as she clears us, only to crash into the Dutch merchant ship Tjisadane, anchored off our port quarter. We get official credit for our second plane downed and our faith in the Panamint’s luck is renewed.

15 May
We’re relieved at Ie Shima and return to Okinawa, to stand by while Admiral Reifsnider shifts his flag temporarily to the U.S.S. Biscayne for two minor operations, the assaults on Aguni Shima and Iheya Shima.

30 May
A fine day! The weather is so bad the Japs don ‘t raid. We have a big Memorial Day dinner.

8 June
Our fighter directors chalk up 155th splash.

15 June
After 76 days in the target area, days filled with air raids, routine work and cat naps. Nights filled with General Quarters alarms, smoke and constant alertness, we leave for Saipan.

19 June
Arrival at Saipan brings our first movie in two and a half months, liberty ashore and beer.

21 June
We leave fore Pearl Harbor. Okinawa has been declared “secure” after 82 days.

22 June
About 0600 we suddenly reverse course and return to Saipan.

27 June
Again we’re off for Honolulu, escorted a short distance by a helicopter.

4 July
We cross the dateline and lose a day. Nevertheless, we celebrate today as “The Fourth”.

8 July
We anchor at Pearl…and get mail…and liberty. For some reason, Honolulu has changed a lot, a much more attractive place now.

6 August
We get the first news of the atomic bomb.

8 August
Another atomic bomb…and Russia declares herself in the war against Japan.

10 August
Lots of peace talk. We are put on six hours sailing notice. Captain Ammon relieves Captain Woods as our skipper.

12 August
Amid much hustle and bustle, Admiral Reifsnider and Staff move off the ship about 0200. At 0800 we get under way for Adak in the Aleutians.

13 August
We hear the Japs have surrendered.

14 August
President Truman announces Hirohito has agreed to the Potsdam surrender terms. “Three Down”.

15 August
Comes the Navy’s point system for demobilization of reserves. Everyone seen with a pencil and paper figuring his chances.

18 August
We arrive at Adak. Cold rain and mud for our first liberty. The old timers say the weather is remarkably fine today.

31 August
Under way for Ominato Naval Base in Northern Honshu. We’re now the Flagship of Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, Commander of the North Pacific Force and Area.

2 September
The Japs signed the surrender terms aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Shortly after we get it by radio. We crossed the dateline again losing a day. So we have only six hours of V-J Day, giving the newspapermen aboard something to write about.

3 September
Not to be cheated, we celebrate Sunday, V-J Day and Labor Day together. Censorship is cancelled, we can seal those letters now.

7 September
Hove-to in Tsugaru Strait. We receive Jap emissaries for preliminary discussions of our occupation of this area. That news makes the papers back home.

8 September
Through Tsugaru Strait, passing a Jap strongpoint which brings us to battle stations for the last time and into Mutsu Bay off Ominato.

9 September
Ship’s Company and a few guests witness the formal assumption of control by Admiral Fletcher as he receives aboard the Japanese Vice Admiral Kanji Ugaki Commandant of the Ominato Naval Guard District and issues orders for our occupation. The Japs look somewhat shabby in dress and the famous toothy grin of the Japs is not in evidence. They’re pretty grim. In about 50 minutes it is all over and the Japs leave, guarded by burly Marines.

20 September
We leave for Adak, after 11 days in Japan. We couldn’t go ashore, health conditions too bad. But we saw something of the place and of the people. Outstanding impressions, dirty shacks, apathetic people, numerous children.

23 September
Eat Sunday dinner sitting on the deck in the mess halls. The ship is rolling too much to permit tables to be set up.

24 September
Crossed dateline again, so now we have two 24 Septembers.

25 September
Reach Adak, unchanged since our last visit. Still cold rain and mud, but we get mail.

2 October
We leave Adak for Kodiak. All hands seen moving about the decks with crossed fingers.

5 October
Arrive at Kodiak – “Dodge City of the North”.

10 October
Rear Admiral Ralph F. Wood relieves Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher. We get a new Executive Officer, Commander J. B. McAuliffe.

14 October
One year since commissioning. The U.S.S. Panamint completes her first year in the service of the Unites States Navy.

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Robert E. Chisnell
Ship's Specs
Battle & Service Awards
Diary of the Panamint
A Wartime Journal
Panamint Links
Vice Adm. Jack Fletcher
SM3/C Bob Chisnell