Part 2: Edward “Dick” Patrick Seabees - Trinidad & Okinawa WWII 1943-46

We went down there, this ole' cook started opening
those oven doors pulling them big ole' greasy pork
chops out. I took one look at them and said, "I got to
get out of here." I went to the 'head', but couldn't
even get in there, guys were laying all over the floor,
in the urinals, on the commodes - every place. That
was the only time I was ever sea sick."
I asked him, "When you landed on Okinawa, did
you go in with the Marines?"

He replied, "No, we went in with the third wave
on April 1, 1945, we unloaded everything from our
ship, APA #203, the Meriwether

Your Dad was probably on board that ship too."
I responded, "Yes, he was aboard the Meriwether
from Pearl to Okinawa, now it's all falling in place."
I asked him how he got from the Meriwether to

He said, "we transferred from the Meriwether to a

landing craft that took us to docks, constructed of
pontoons, from the pontoons we boarded a Army
Duck which took us to the shore. (An Army Duck
floats in the water and drives on land with wheels)
Before we reached the shore the Army driver hit a
reef at an angle and about capsized us. He was able
to back off of it and get us to shore safely."

I asked Dick if he was armed. He told me he had a M1
Carbine with one clip of ammo, 15 rounds. However
when they unloaded on the beach he said there was ammo
everywhere and he equipped himself with more.
He added, "All the time we were unloading from

the ship and getting to the beach, Japanese Zero's were
continuously making bombing runs over the airstrip,
beach and ships, along with Kamikaze's trying to
destroy as many Navy ships that they possibly could.
During all this firing, friendly fire damaged most of our
gear that had been placed at the Kadena Airstrip, which
was close to the beach. A lot of our clothing and gear
was riddled with holes from the "friendly fire! As the
enemy planes tried to bomb and strafe us I unloaded
my carbine on them. Everybody did.

Continuing he said, "a zero dropped a bomb near us
and I jumped into a shell crater nearby. Down in the
crater lay two mortar shells, one had the safety pin
removed. I saw two Marine MP's in a jeep and hailed
them to come over, I showed them the mortar shells.
About that same time another zero dropped its bomb
nearby, one of the Marines was wounded with shrapnel
- falling down on the sand. It was a close call for all of
us, one of many times, while we were on Okinawa.

I asked him, "Once you were unloaded and set up
in your camp, what did you do on Okinawa?"
He replied, "I was a truck driver." My rating was a
Carpenters Mate Third Class, but I never picked up a
hammer or saw, I drove trucks all the time I was there.

I mentioned that when we first talked back when
I had first sent the initial letters to the Seabees on
January 2, 2012, you said something in our conversation
about the possibility of meeting dad at Kadena
and something about a Beatty bomber crashing and
your truck getting damaged.

Dick replied, "No, it wasn't like that."
I asked him to tell it to me again, since I evidently
got it mixed up a bit.
He replied, "While we was at Kadena a buddy and
I went north to get a load of logs. The Japanese had
cut the logs in eight foot lengths and we went up
there to get them. In the process of coming back, we
heard a big "Boom," they had set off a charge in the
side of a hill and it went into the road. So we had to
stop, no gun with us, we heard this clankety, clank

coming - it was a Seabee on a dozer. He cleared the
road for us and we took off again. Those coral roads
we made over there were like ice when it rained on
them so I had chains on my front wheels of the truck.
In the process of getting out of there one of my
chains got cross-ways on the wheel and broke my
brake hose off, so I brought that load of logs in with
the hand brake!" (He laughed again.)

I asked, "Well you said something to me in your first
call that you may have met my Dad at Kadena when
you took your truck to the motor pool to get it fixed."
Dad worked in the motor pool at the Kadena Airfield,
so it's just possible the two of you met. I showed Dick
some photos I brought from home of Dad and what he
looked like back when he was on Okinawa.

Dick looked at the photos and replied, "Well he
could have, but I don't know for sure."
I asked him about something he said in our first
telephone conversation about dodging shrapnel and
getting into a pontoon or something like that.

He replied, "Well we went to the other side of the
island to pick up a bunch of pontoons. There was a
convoy of us, I think maybe six or eight trucks.
When we got over there on the west side of the island
there was a kamikaze attack underway and all the
ships around the shore was shooting at them. We
didn't have anyplace to go for protection, so I was
running around these pontoons, I found this one that
had the end cut out of it, so when I jumped inside that
pontoon, man it sounded like hail coming down on it,
with all the shrapnel from the enemy and friendly
fire, falling and hitting the pontoon.

I asked him, "is there anything else that stands out
in your mind that happened on Okinawa that you
would like to mention here?"

He said, "I remember about bringing a Chief back to
our camp one day and a enemy plane was strafing the
field when we got there. Everybody was shooting at it."
The Chief said, "stop Dick stop!"
I said, "we got to get to our camp to get into our
fox hole, as I was coming into the camp, he bailed
out on me!" (Dick laughed a lot)
Another time Dick said, "Me and a friend procured
(acquired) a jeep to go souvenir hunting. We
were stopped by a Marine MP who told us to get
back to base because we were hunting in front of the
"Front Line." Guess what, we didn't have a gun with
us that time either!"
Dick added, "There is an interesting story about
how my curiosity got me into trouble. It goes something
like this. Me and a good ole' boy from

Arkansas, in the process of unloading a new International
truck with a "A" Frame rig on it, decided to
give it a test run to try it out, so to speak (with the boom
in the upward position). When we got back and looked
behind us we had knocked down telephone lines and
scattered them all along the road. Someone said we
jerked the phone right out of the Major's hand. Well I
got 90 hours of extra duty for that test run!"

Dick was looking through some of his photos and
said, "Ray, here is a photo of that Beatty Bomber that
crash landed on Yonton Airfield, not too far from
Kadena. The Japs that got out of it alive were wearing
grenade belts, they'd jump in our planes parked on
the runway, pull the pin out of a grenade and blow
themselves along with our plane up at the same time."

I got some Okinawa photos from my brief case of
Dad's and compared some of them with the ones
Dick had, it was uncanny that many of the Seabees
who were on Okinawa had many of the same photos.
Dad had a photo of a Baka bomb (pilot guided suicide
bomb), Dick had a similar photo except it was
larger than Dad's. I got some other photos out of my
brief case that a Seabees' wife, Mrs. Maybelle
Mooney, who lives in Independence, KS, (she sent
me the photos for me to take to our September
reunion for all the attending Seabees to look at) I
wanted to show them to Dick.

A typhoon hit
Okinawa on October 9, 1945 demolishing buildings
and ships in the harbor, I knew that Dick was there
during that typhoon because in one of our earlier
telephone conversation he said he lost everything he
owned and some souvenirs in that typhoon. Mrs.
Mooney's photos showed quite a bit of the typhoon
damage on Okinawa, at the bottom of each photo it
read 79th NCB Photo - Okinawa.

I asked Dick where he got the photos we were
looking at, that he had. He told me he had no idea
where he got them, it is all a blur. He remembers
some things, but you have to remember we are talking
about 1945, sixty-seven years ago, we've all lived
a life-time of activities since then and Dick is 85
years old to boot.

I told him I assumed all these years that Dad had
taken the photos himself. I know I gave Dad credit
for a Marine photo of F4U Corsairs on an airfield,
probably Kadena, with the sky lit up with tracer fire
in a October 2010 Gad-a-bout, because I found the
photo in his scrap book. I have looked high and low
for a camera that he might have had overseas with
him, but haven't found one yet.

After the war ended and Dick got enough points
to go home, he left Okinawa on the Aircraft Carrier
U.S.S. Ticonderoga, disembarking
at Seattle, WA. He received his Honorable
Discharge at the Great Lakes Naval Station near
Chicago, Illinois on January 30, 1946.

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