[ USS CHENANGO ]  A Personal Account of WWII Liberation on Nagasaki Japan
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  Liberation on Nagasaki Japan ...
(Journal 11 of 14)
  We were operating with the third fleet when we were to learn that the war was over. I had my watch on the bridge, when I heard Captain Felt exclaim. "THE WAR IS OVER, THE JAPANESE HAVE SURRENDERED." I had made it through the war. I would be one of the lucky ones. I wondered if my prediction that I would set my feet on Japan soil would come true, or would we get orders to return home, time would tell. We were going to go home soon, and that was good news.

Chenango was not through. We receive orders to remove all of the aircraft from our ship, and report to Nagasaki Japan. Wasn’t that where they just dropped that new bomb? We had heard about the atomic bomb and how it completely devastated a whole city. We were also told about the radiation problem that the bomb produced. This was all news to us, and we had no prior knowledge of these things. We made a few stops, one in Sassaybo, and in Yokoshuco Japan. My prediction had been fulfilled. We had defeated Japan, and I had set feet on Japan soil. Right then I had not thought of revenge. I was glad it was over.

Per orders we found ourselves in the harbor of Nagasaki Japan. The hospital ship U.S.S.HAVEN was already at anchor. Our jobs were to remove the prisoners of war from the island. Chenango was to take any person that was in fair to good health. (For prisoners.) The haven would take the ones too ill for us. We had received hundreds of cots and blankets. They were on our flight deck, our well deck, the hanger deck, any where that they would fit. They were everywhere.

The ex prisoners were American, Dutch, British, and Australian, but had one thing in common. THEY WERE FREE MEN AGAIN. I had the opportunity to hear stories that are difficult to write about. The more I heard, the more I was proud to be one of their liberators. These men had gone through HELL, and anything we could do to help them, we did. It was a difficult time for everyone. The ship’s facilities were stretched, but a few days later they were off of the ship and on the island of OKINAWA. Our job was finished.

While we were in NAGASAKI, I had the opportunity to take a ride through the city and see first hand what devastation one bomb did. There are no words that could convey the site we saw. It was like a fire ball had torn through the city. Most of the buildings and objects were cremated. The effects would last for years. I was proud of my country, but I was not proud of the devastation to helpless civilians. I am not saying we should not have dropped those horrible bombs, I just cant believe that any one would be proud of doing it.

Yet again another assignment. We were to pick up a number of army people, and take them to Okinawa. This we did. At this point in time as I remember, we were free to head for the U.S.A. What a feeling. Our orders were to return via the Panama Cannel. We were told that Chenango would be decommissioned in Boston. I WAS GOING HOME.

Next Journal: "M.P. Duty in Panama"

Foot Note: I was to meet one of the army people that we picked up. It would be more than fifty years later. It was a chance meeting on a golf course in New Mexico. Talk about a small world. We have been friends now for over ten years. At the time I wrote this, my wife and I had a winter home in New Mexico.

Journal 1
Journal 2
Journal 3
Journal 4
Journal 5
Journal 6
Journal 7
Journal 8
Journal 9
Journal 10
Journal 11
Journal 12
Journal 13
Journal 14