Wednesday, April 9, 2014

USS Hector arrives at Pearl Harbor

On today's date in 1944, my dad's repair ship, USS Hector, arrived in Pearl Harbor after sailing from California on April 3rd. The ship was assigned to Service Squadron Two. She will remain at Pearl effecting repairs on various ships, primarily landing craft for the June Mariana and Palau Islands campaign, until she departs on June 5th for the recently captured Eniwetok Atoll.

During this time, Hector's crew was granted leave. For some of this period at Pearl, Vestal was also present, and Dad met up with some of his old shipmates, although never visiting on board. It was also during his stay at Pearl that he and some of his buddies providentially encountered Gen. Douglas MacArthur while on the golf course.

A memorable leave experience for one of Hector's sailors is reported as an anecdote in the War Diary for the USS Griswold. On April 21st, as the destroyer escort was steaming for the states, 11 miles off Diamond Head it spotted a man on a surfboard adrift in the water. After performing a rescue, they learned that the surfer was an unnamed crewman from the Hector who somehow got stranded too far from shore. No further mention of the incident is made. Too bad, because it would have made quite a story!

Dad and some of his Hector buddies in Honolulu, 1944
L to R: Percy Hunt, Bruce Cabbot, Cal Falcon, & Frank Dolan

Hector remained at Pearl until departing on June 5th for the forward naval base at Eniwetok.

Sources: USS Vestal War Diary, April 1944;  USS Hector AR7- Ship’s Log (WWII); USS Hector Muster Roll, March 1944; USS Griswold War Diary, April 1944

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hector sets sail for Pearl Harbor

On today's date in 1944, the recently commissioned repair ship, USS Hector, finally gets underway for Pearl Harbor and action in the Pacific. My dad, Frank Dolan, having served on the USS Vestal in the Pacific Fleet since 1941, is a metalsmith on this newest of the fleet repair vessels. Compared to conditions on his old ship, he remembered the accommodations on Hector as almost luxurious.

This will be Dad's second trip to the Hawaiian Islands. He was there serving on the USS Vestal in 1941, when he witnessed firsthand the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. His ship, though seriously damaged herself, was instrumental in repairing many of the other ships and installations damaged in that attack.

Now passing through California's Channel Islands on this day in 1944, Hector began its zig-zagging course across the Pacific Ocean, arriving at Pearl Harbor on April 9th. It will stay there for several weeks repairing various vessels, primarily LSTs and other amphibious assault ships needed for amphibious landings in "Operation Forager," the June campaign for the Mariana and Palau Islands. 

Hector will remain at Pearl until departing on June 5th for the forward naval base at Eniwetok.

Sources: Frank L. Dolan Service Records; USS Hector War Diary, April 1944; USS Hector AR7- Ship’s Log (WWII); Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships