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5 - 11 NOVEMBER 1944


5 November 1944



Camp will be completely struck when Bn leaves Noemfoor.  Our newly constructed Mess hall, and all installations must be destroyed, and only Noemfoor coral visible to the naked eye, by order of Task Force.




6 November 1944



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7 November 1944



The USS Custer is now lying off Kamiri Strip.  Loading will begin tomorrow, and “F” Co will go aboard to assist in holds.

1st and 2nd platoons departed camp at 1145 hr and arrived at Kamiri Jetty at 1200 hr.  Boarded LCM and sailed to an ocean going ship - USS Custer.  Boarded the Custer at 1500.  These platoons were to act as a loading party for the 2nd Bn, 503rd Parachute Infantry.  The remainder of the company less one NCO and 8 Enlisted men, these men were left to guard company equipment.




8 November 1944



Loading of the Custer is progressing faster than expected, despite a heavy sea, and tide difficulties.  The coral reef surrounding Noemfoor forbids even LCM’s and Navy LCV’s passage in and out, except for two hours preceding and following high tide.  “D” Co went aboard to form guard detail for the entire trip to ?

 Broke camp at Kamiri Drome 1000.  Boarded Navy LCVP.  Moved out in harbor and boarded USS Custer 1300 hr.

The company equipment was loaded and the rest of the men boarded the ship at noon.




9 November 1944



“All cargo for the Custer is aboard, and “Hq Co” climbed her chain ladders at 1630 hour today, with A and B Batteries, and Engineer Company.  “E” Co will remain on Noemfoor till our Bn is given clearance by Chief of Staff, Task Force.”

 The 1st and 2nd platoons were sent aboard the USS Custer as the advance party for the battalion.  How lucky can you get?  This was unbelievable.  We had expected to wait several more days before loading. 

The “Custer” was a Navy transport, an APA, or attack transport.  We had never ridden a Navy transport.  We did ride the Army transport, USAT Sea Cat from Brisbane to Oro Bay.  We enjoyed the trip on the Sea Cat, but the best was yet to come.  The Custer was all Navy-crewed and a first class ship.  We went out on LCM’s, or LCVP’s.  I do not remember which.  The sea was rough and we had to grab the Jacob’s ladder at the top of the board pitch.  We went out in the morning, and the rest of the company followed that afternoon. One of our men fainted when the remainder of the company was loading and had to be pulled up the Jacob’s ladder.  The ship’s doctor diagnosed his problem as exhaustion and huger. 


USS Custer (APA-40), a Bayfield Class Attack Transport


That evening the food was excellent, and they kept insisting we eat more.  The food was always excellent.  Being on this ship was like being in an R&R center.  The ship was built to carry a certain number of troops, and that is how many we had.  Everyone had a bunk to sleep in.  The ship carried LCVP’s stacked like saucers on the deck.  They were loaded and unloaded by the booms.  The troops climbed the Jacob’s Ladders made of rope and dropped into the waiting craft.  This sounds easy, but when the small craft is bobbing up and down in the heaving seas it can be difficult to time your leap either loading or unloading.  When loading of course you leap for the ladder at the top of the swell.  When unloading you leap into the craft at the bottom of the swell.




10 November 1944




One platoon of “E”Co came aboard, and remainder of Company will follow later today or tomorrow. Lt. Col. Britten is Commander of Troops, Major Caskey - Executive Officer, Lt. Lawrence Brown - Liaison Officer, Lt. Barry - P&P O. Lt. McNerney - Ship’s adjutant.

10 Nov 44 Aboard USS Custer in Noemfoor harbor waiting to sail.

Company embarked from Noemfoor Island on APA “Custer”at Kamiri Airbase area.




11 November 1944



Our Bn staff was the guests of the Ship’s Captain TERRY on a fishing trip with no limit on ice cold beer, to keep the participants in good form. After 8 months in Dry Guinea, a banquet at the Astor could not offer more.

 Aboard USS Custer in Noemfoor harbor waiting to sail.










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