Wednesday, September 2, 2015

V-J Day for USS Hector

As the formal surrender was taking place in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, Dad was 1,400 miles away in Tanapag Harbor, Saipan. He was entirely unaware of the ceremony. In fact, he told me that he didn’t actually remember hearing a formal announcement that the war was over. Neither did he see pictures of the surrender ceremony until months later.

While the world celebrated this important date in 1945, Dad was hard at work with crews from Hector making repairs to at least three ships simultaneously—the minesweeper Quail, the destroyer Downs, and the destroyer escort Engstrom. WWII may be over, but for Frank Dolan and the rest of Hector’s crewmen, the interminable responsibility for repairing the fleet that won the war in the Pacific continued day in and day out.

Dad & buddy Billy Barnett on Hector, 1946
V-J Day came and went, yet the work continued for Hector’s crew at Saipan. In fact, in the month of September, Service Division 103 at Saipan repaired 160 ships. On September 15, ServDiv 103 was reorganized again. The major part of the maintenance unit was shifted forward to Okinawa and elsewhere. Hector was one of the repair and maintenance vessels left in Saipan to prepare ships of the Fifth Fleet for their return voyages to the states.

It will be another six months before Hector is given her opportunity to sail for home.

Sources: Frank L. Dolan’s personal account; Commander Service Squadron Ten War Diary, September 1945

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