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Topic: The 3125th. is Disbanded (Part 3)
Replies: 6   Last Post: May 19, 2019 12:06 AM by: HopefulTiger®
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The 3125th. is Disbanded (Part 3)

[10]
Posted: May 18, 2019 8:47 PM
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The Liberty ship was the work horse of WW2. It was as slow as a worn out mule but its cargo holds carried millions of tons of military supplies all over the world. Over 2,700 were built during the war at a cost of about Two million dollars per ship. A cruising speed of 11 knots/hr. was not going to outrun a German UBoat so they traveled in a convoy escorted by Naval vessels. At that speed 300 miles a day was about the best they could do under the best of conditions.

The Liberty ship had a length of about 440 feet and a displacement of 14,245 tons. I don't remember the draft but when it arrived at dockside, the gang plank was at a sharp angle. As we loaded the shells, the ship was going down and when ready for departure the gang plank was about even with ship and dock. The 155 mm shells weighted about 100 pounds each so the loaded ship was based on tonnage and not full capacity.

When a ship arrived one of my unwritten tasks was to contact the ship's captain and ask if our men could have access to the galley for coffee. For this privilege I would assign two POWs to work in the galley, do all of the cleaning and even help with the cooking. We would also provide all the necessary POWs to make the ship ready for departure. The captain of every ship was willing to accept our offer, except one. But it took only one day to change his mind. The ship's captains even went one step further than our coffee request, and often provided us with a complete meal.

The ship's captain and members of the crew had to have a pass if they wanted to leave the dock and that was one of the reasons for the armed guard. Usually we were lenient in enforcing this rule but I had informed the guard to contact me if any of this ship's crew wanted to leave the ship. One their first day in port, the captain was planning to leave the ship and I was contacted by the guard. The captain had a package and I told him he could not take anything ashore. The package contained a sizeable amount of meat. I told him he could go but the meat had to remain aboard ship. I got the impression he didn't like my decision. The next day the captain came to me and said we had a deal. Problem solved !!!

Sunday was our day off but the Saturday night shift had a short weekend. Their shift ended at 7:00 AM on Sunday and going to the day shift they reported for duty at 7:00 on Monday. The Saturday day shift had a long weekend as they were off from 7:00 PM on Saturday until 7:00 PM on Monday.

Sometimes on late Sunday afternoon and early evening we had a party. A message was posted in a nearby city (Martigues) that we were hosting a party with food and all ladies were invited. A truck was sent to Martigues to pick up our guests. The food was an attractive offer and our guests ranged in age from about 10 to 60. Usually among the group were some good looking chicks.

I don't know haw many ships left Port-de-Bouc loaded with artillery shells but it was a large number. I was never able to go to the ammo dump but it must have been a large place. The nearby dump must have received shipments from other more remote dumps.

About mid-February 1946, I received orders to pack my gear, I was going home. I joined a AAA Gun Battery in Le Havre and boarded the Santa Isabel to begin my journey home after three and one-half years of service. I remember nothing of my trip from Port-de-Bouc to Le Havre. I suppose the though of going home blocked out everything else. When I boarded the ship that was a great feeling. Going home is something no one forgets.

Message was edited by: Joe21®


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Thx JOE21 and enjoy your upcoming trip to Charleston!

[5]
Posted: May 18, 2019 9:02 PM
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I will be in Mt P tomorrow at Shem Creek to meet up with my Daughter/Husband from Myrtle Beach for lunch to celebrate my 78th B’Day.

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To All CLEMSON TiGERS..Sending you Bright Light from the Carolina Coast and hoping you get to witness a huge Orange sunset tonight. Go Tigers!


Re: Thx JOE21 and enjoy your upcoming trip to Charleston!

[3]
Posted: May 18, 2019 9:12 PM
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Happy Birthday LBB !!! I hope you celebrate this occasion many, many more times.

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Re: Thx JOE21 and enjoy your upcoming trip to Charleston!

[1]
Posted: May 18, 2019 9:24 PM
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Happy birthday Bill

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Go Tigers! Once A Tiger Always A Tiger


Re: Thx JOE21 and enjoy your upcoming trip to Charleston!

[1]
Posted: May 19, 2019 12:06 AM
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Happy 78th - Bill !!

2019 purple level member

Including Joe's Stories I'm Now Reading 4 WWII European

[1]
Posted: May 18, 2019 11:47 PM
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Theater books. Joe your's is the best written and best at painting a visual for the reader. Please keep posting period stories.

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Re: The 3125th. is Disbanded (Part 3)

[1]
Posted: May 19, 2019 12:06 AM
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Excellent post - Joe - as usual!!

2019 purple level member

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