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

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