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

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