We were there to report trouble and be alert for any chance of fire. 12 Topside in good weather (From the Patrick’s handbook “The Ship I sailed On”). A steak dinner awaited us on arrival at the replacement center, quite an upgrade from the plebeian fare of the past two weeks. Bay Bridge is in background; May 3, 2010 (Courtesy of David Walker as posted on Cruisepage.com on May 3, 2010) [xii] The early evening of the 16th immediately became the early evening of the 17th. The featureless open ocean was long gone as the Patrick weaved its way among rocky islands. Patrick Allen passed away in Cupertino, California. Smoking below decks was not allowed except in authorized areas. L-R: Gary Ramser, Jack Sebring, Ed Sisson, Jim Buck, Ray Jarnigan. Also see the NavSource Naval History site at http://www.navsource.org/archives/home.html, [viii] http://maritimematters.com/2010/05/pursuing-the-usns-general-edwin-d-patrick/, [ix] http://maritimematters.com/2010/05/pursuing-the-usns-general-edwin-d-patrick/, [x] http://maritimematters.com/2010/05/pursuing-the-usns-general-edwin-d-patrick/, [xi] http://maritimematters.com/2010/05/pursuing-the-usns-general-edwin-d-patrick/, [xii] http://www.travelserver.net/travelpage/ubb-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=16&t=000468//, [xiii] http://maritimematters.com/2010/05/pursuing-the-usns-general-edwin-d-patrick/, [xiv] http://maritimematters.com/2010/05/pursuing-the-usns-general-edwin-d-patrick/, [xv] http://www.travelserver.net/travelpage/ubb-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=16&t=000468, [xvi] http://www.travelserver.net/travelpage/ubb-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=16&t=000476, [xvii] http://www.travelserver.net/travelpage/aspgallery/pictures/Ad_3500_3.jpg, [xviii] http://www.travelserver.net/travelpage/aspgallery/pictures/Ad_3500_5.jpg, Sometime during the summer of 2010, in a maritime facility in Brownsville, Texas the dismantling and recycling process began on United States Naval Ship (USNS), There I was on a chilly, overcast day in early 1962, a 19 year-old U.S. Army Private First Class staring out into the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean, apprehensive, wondering what the Fates had in store. It was like the outside of the ship had totally disappeared into the night—a bit too inhibiting for this fighting man. Nevertheless, there were days of cold or rainy weather when staying bunk-side had no alternative. Nothing’s supposed to happen…so they say. Inside this room measuring perhaps 15 feet wide by 25 feet long, ran two rows of commodes, perhaps six on each side facing each other across a center aisle. If a few of us “Lucky Sevens” were topside together, it usually meant playing cards or even singing a few songs a capella while trying not to embarrass ourselves. Nevertheless, some were in relatively good condition, like the Battleship USS, A San Francisco Chronicle article of June 30, 2007 discussed the status of the aging fleet and had this to say about the, She saw service in WWII, mostly in the Pacific theater. While sitting in the forward head, attempting to ignore fellow naturalists, one might read a book or daydream, perhaps contemplating the ship’s bow just a few feet away. The Patrick had been underway from Hawaii, steaming west toward the Korean Peninsula, the Hawaiian Islands now lying four days and about 1,500 miles to our stern. Of course, we’d gain this back when we returned a year later. I had only recently discovered that, for a nominal fee, I could join a small party boat that cruised around the fleet for a couple of hours one weekend a month. I had only recently discovered that, for a nominal fee, I could join a small party boat that cruised around the fleet for a couple of hours one weekend a month. The second and third bunks in the stack were the most desirable and the first to go when the boarding started. In 1950 the Navy reacquired the vessel as a U.S. Two websites offer surprising interior views of the Patrick, pictures that showed it to be in a disheveled state but not nearly as decrepit as the Patrick’s fading and rusting exterior would suggest. It was the appalling condition of this assortment of older vessels, their aging hulks looming lifeless and forlorn, which earned the flotilla its nickname, the “Ghost Fleet.”, A San Francisco Chronicle article of June 30, 2007 discussed the status of the aging fleet and had this to say about the Patrick and Pope: “Now they are floating derelicts. At oh-dark-thirty, all was quiet in the bay and I could see nothing but blackness out the porthole. Perhaps it was too early for hula girls. Source: Troopships of World War II by Roland W. Charles, published by the Army Transportation Association, Washington, D.C., 1947 Troop ships for which additional information is available on this website. While the fleet was fairly close, it was difficult to see much beyond the first one or two ships in each row since I was viewing the fleet from near sea level. I had fantasized about being on the Golden Gate Bridge, looking down as the Patrick passed under on her final cruise—decades after standing on her deck, looking up to see the Golden Gate slip by overhead. A likeness of that same mimeograph has probably resided in the Smithsonian for decades now. For a perspective of the Patrick’s size, see the person walking in the dry dock to the left of the hull in Figure 40. From here the Patrick and the Alexandra, the little engine that could, made their way into the Atlantic for the final leg of the journey. In Figure 37 the vessel has been placed on a southeasterly heading and is proceeding toward the Bay Bridge and the BAE shipyard beyond. But their time has passed. Sea birds roost where soldiers once waited anxiously to go to war, and peeling paint exposes vast expanses of rust from bow to stern.”. There was another hour to go before I could awake my relief to take over. With safety well in hand, I’d pause for a few minutes, taking a seat on the ladder (stairway). One of the other guys, John Sebring, also rented a surfboard for a dollar more. I’m on guard duty again and the ship is doing quite a bit of rolling… And so it went, night after night as the Patrick plowed on through the sea. The ships were set side by side in rows that could exceed a dozen vessels. 17 King Kamehameha; March 1962. According to Peter Knego’s article, [xiv] the Patrick slipped out of dry dock on April 29, 2010, almost ready for the final voyage scheduled for May 1st. I had just passed through and was in the back of the bay. USS Covington (ID # 1409) Fitting out for Navy service, circa mid-1917. Most passengers on the Patrick were of the U.S. Army variety. But in closer to the ship, the water took on a beautiful pale, ice blue shade where the, Our group spent about an hour enjoying the warm Pacific waters of Waikiki—quite a change from the cool and foreboding Pacific of San Francisco. A variable length tow line will be attached to these and connected to an ocean-going tug. A lot was happening on the other side of those steel plates. The two rows occupied a raised platform and a channel of perhaps four inches deep ran down the center. The fact that my upright stance on the board usually lasted no more than two seconds is completely irrelevant. 47 Patrick at Esco Marine recycling facility in Brownsville, Texas, late July 2010 (Courtesy of David Walker as provided by Esco Marine)[xvii], 48 Patrick at Esco Marine recycling facility in Brownsville, Texas, late July, 2010 (Courtesy of David Walker as provided by Esco Marine)[xviii]. Luckily, this time I had my emergency kit with me, a plain brown paper bag. Even so, it was exciting to get so close to the, Our little tour boat was not authorized to sail up and down the rows of vessels, but instead was left to sail around the circumference of the fleet. It was here that I had my first-ever Mai Tai tropical cocktail—not exactly legal for a 19-year-old but I got a wink and a nod from our server. Also see the NavSource Naval History site at http://www.navsource.org/archives/home.html, [vii] http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/22/22124.htm Admittedly, nighttime guard duty could be boring; and so, to keep alert I’d use that time to write home to Philadelphia and my wife of three months. Maybe it was a half mile to a mile long as we steamed by. But alas, I got sidetracked and never did take any positive steps to learn when the executioner might call. Actually, when it came to retrieving rolled up clothes from the duffle bag, the number of wrinkles in the material determined the uniform more so than the weather. The dismantling process was not yet fully underway. In photos of September 2010 I could make out the rows of ships but not enough to identify specific vessels. Surely it was still a resident of the bay, perhaps just out of sight. Well, there you go, just a storm. The dark grey hull of the Patrick loomed large as we filed up the gangway. Selected Troopships of WWII - Scroll down to see total list. In Figure 43 the Patrick glides under the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time as it heads into the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. And the Patrick sailed on, logging no fiery losses at sea. When the General Patrick arrived at Inchon on that March morning in 1962, there must have been very few soldiers who did not welcome the return to solid ground. Unlike the final towing of the Patrick to Texas, these tugs are pushing and pulling the ship across the bay. On January 25, 2011 the scrapping of the Patrick was declared complete. Staring at the ocean also absorbed lots of time. It’s difficult to remember much about the actual food dished-up to soldiers aboard the Patrick but it must have closely resembled the same fare available at any mess hall on an army post. Arrival time was important at Inchon, since the tides could vary by 30 feet. The following ships were eligible for the Korean Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal and for Engagement Stars.Data from: U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual, Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, 1953, 1956, 1957 *The Sea War in Korea, Malcolm W. Cagle and Frank A Manson, Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute, 1957 After dropping the bags in the assigned compartments, most quickly scrambled out on deck for a great sightseeing opportunity. Nevertheless, on those days when the wind howled and rain pummeled the Patrick’s deck, it became convenient for us to visit the newsroom to assist our buddies in their editorial tasks. Sites contained pictures of the vessels, their histories and articles and comments by those who took the ships to sea. Scrapping was completed on January 25, 2011. Nevertheless, representing the rear echelon intelligence corps (also known to some as Intel weenies) was a small cadre of Army Security Agency soldiers recently graduated from the Ft. Devens, Massachusetts ASA school. "According to our [U. 38 Patrick in BAE dry dock after hull cleaning; late April 2010 (Photo courtesy of Peter Knego) [viii], 39 Stern view of Patrick in BAE dry dock after cleaning; late April 2010 (Photo courtesy of Peter Knego) [ix], 40 Patrick's twin screws, in BAE dry dock; late April 2010 (Photo courtesy of Peter Knego)[x]. The trench contains just enough water to float the vessel in. Mt Tam in background (Photo by CAPT. During the big storm the Patrick encountered on its fourth day out of Hawaii, I recalling sitting in this area, minding my own business, so to speak. Our army tour in Korea had begun. The entire exterior has faded from medium grey to an almost chalky white. Our army tour in Korea had begun. . Large ground level cranes are then able to work from both sides as large sections of the ship are removed. Once the disagreements were resolved over how to proceed without further polluting the environment the ships could be scheduled for the 5,000 mile sail to the ship breakers in Texas. From the sound of crashing waves, the ship’s hull was taking a mighty beating. As I swung open the hatch, the wind was howling and there was nothing on the other side but total blackness. Small flying fish were active continuously near the bow keeping pace with our ship. The cargo booms are drooping, and the steel ladders are red with rust; there appears to be rust under the rust.” According to an AP wire story of July 6, 2007, the Patrick was in particularly bad shape: “The wooden deck has turned black with rot and grass grows through the cracks. The tow line can vary up to several hundred feet. That’s as close as I got to venturing outside our safe little overcrowded cocoon at night. U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning IIs with the15th Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare to land on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in the Indian Ocean, Dec. 18, 2020. Unnamed number of troops (Marines) boarded at Nawiliwili on 22nd and 23rd of Arpil, 1945. In Figures 36 and 37 the port side anchor chain can be seen hanging loosely, the anchors having been removed prior to towing. The core of these pages devoted to Troopships of World War II are the records of crossings made during the period 1941-46, which is maintained by Wesley Johnson at the Dad's War web site. Hundreds of us had our last breakfast ashore, hoisted our duffle bags on our shoulders and made our way to the waterfront. Reading a book or playing cards on the deck was much preferable to the cramped, musty, dimly lit quarters below. Around 9:00 AM the, By late morning the troops, once again on terra firma, were being loading onto the backs of 2 ½ ton trucks (deuce-and-a-halves) for the short trip to the local replacement center. There was a ship’s store where small items could be purchased, such as tooth paste, shaving cream and the like. I remember opening a gangway hatch one evening, just for a nighttime view of the ocean. At the age of 65 the Patrick tasted the waves of the Pacific Ocean for the last time. When the weather was agreeable most people headed topside. The, As we climbed aboard those deuce-and-a-halves, each soldier received a bag containing two doughnuts. USS Santa Olivia ca July 1918.jpeg 3,840 × 2,672; 941 KB USS Santa Olivia with troops 1919.jpg 1,026 × 1,230; 726 KB USS Sargent Jonah E Kelly (APC-116).jpg 700 × 445; 55 KB On one of those rainy days in the newsroom, my melancholy mood inspired me to write a few lines of silly poetry for the ship’s paper: Well, I’ve traveled far and traveled near. To dismantle a ship like the Patrick, Esco Marine moves the vessel into a shallow trench perpendicular to the waterway. L-R: Jim, Ed, Ray, Jack, Gary. Early on Tuesday, March 13, 1962 the General Patrick approached the Island of Oahu from the east, keeping the Island of Molokai off the port side. Over the years I learned there were many websites with details on the Mothball Fleet. It’s difficult to estimate the length of the island. Jack C. Goldthorpe, USCG (Ret.) The Maritime administration had long ago determined that ships like the, On Memorial Day of May 25, 2009 I was quite unexpectedly presented with another view of the Mothball Fleet and the, The following weekend a friend and I took a maritime excursion out on the bay for a close-up view of the Mothball Fleet. And so it was for me—travelling to Travis Air Force Base in California by way of Tokyo in a four-engine, turbo-prop Constellation. Over the last half dozen or more years there has been considerable clamor and concern expressed by environmentalists, marine biologists, and others about the damage the decaying ships of the Mothball Fleet were causing to the waters of the bay and the resultant detrimental effects on marine life. Also on the agenda was a visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific—the Punchbowl—the final resting place for vets of WWI, WWII and Korea. By the time I got there, an aroused bunkmate across the aisle had already given him a shout. Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas Fleet Adm. C. W. Nimitz (3) Deputy Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas Vice Admiral J. H. Towers (15) Chief of Joint Staff Vice Admiral C. H. McMorris (107) BB 38 PENNSYLVANIA (Flagship) Captain C. F. Martin (427) Edwin D Patrick and her sister ship, U.S.N.S. Others preferred the active approach of eating dry food such as crackers to keep the stomach from getting unsettled. In search of things which were not clear. RPPC USNS GENERAL E.D. USNS General Edwin D. Patrick, then named the Admiral C. F. Hughes, conducted her first operational service in the spring of 1945. The grey lady is now part of the past. There were no doors, no partitions. Nothing’s supposed to happen…so they say. With the Pentagon’s announcement that U.S. forces in Afghanistan will be cut in half — to 2,500 — by inauguration day, after 19 years, it appears the end to America’s longest war may be in sight. According to the Contra Costa Times article, the Patrick had been in the reserve fleet there in Suisun Bay for nearly 40 years, waiting in vain for another chance to serve her country. There in the break room, sitting down to lunch, I unfolded the day’s newspaper I had brought from home. The guard needed to be 100% alert at all times. After all, several hundred of those aboard were seasoned professionals in the art of war, newly graduated from basic training, advanced infantry fighting, and other tough schools such as army intelligence. Fuel Capacity, two General Electric turbo-electric engines, four Combustion Engineering D-type boilers, 600psi 840°, [ii] The so-called “Lucky Seven” were: Gary J. Ramser, John R. Sebring, James J. Buck, Edwin A. Sisson, Raymond E. Jarnigan, Ernist W. Cook, and David R. Gardner, [iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_General_Edwin_D._Patrick_(T-AP-124)/ and http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/22/22124.htm The following weekend a friend and I took a maritime excursion out on the bay for a close-up view of the Mothball Fleet. And the, This last day as pseudo-sailors began with ship-wide reveille at 4:30 AM, more than enough time to turn in bed linens and re-pack our gear. Because of their journalism and typing skills, and probably the ability to spin a good yarn, Ray and Ernie were selected as editor and assistant editor, respectively, for the daily edition of the news of the day. At Waikiki the beach and surf called out to us. The bus tour took us into Honolulu where we saw King Kamehameha’s statue and visited the Iolani Palace, once the official residence of Hawaii’s king and queen. L-R: Ray Jarnigan, Gary Ramser, Jim Buck, Ed Sisson; March 1962. A fire at sea, with so many lives at risk, was perhaps the number one potential disaster that might befall any ship such as this. There was another hour to go before I could awake my relief to take over. Off the East Coast are the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower off the Coast of Connecticut, the USS Gerald R. Ford off the coast of New Jersey, and the USS Iwo Jima off the coast of South Carolina . The Patrick spent a couple of weeks at the BAE facility shedding all those accumulated barnacles and loose paint. The offending soldier moaned in complaint, blew a cloud of smoke in the air, but quickly extinguished the butt. The army was enmeshed in a Cold War with the Soviet Union and its allies the Chinese and North Koreans. And the, Admittedly, nighttime guard duty could be boring; and so, to keep alert I’d use that time to write home to Philadelphia and my wife of three months. Hughes (later to be renamed the General Edwin D. Patrick) was built in Alameda, California. The fruitless attempt to get Patrick photos from the Benicia shoreline in April 2011 piqued my curiosity and I mounted another internet search to gather whatever current information there might be about her status. "According to our [U. S. National Archives] records, in 1951 the Department of the Army destroyed all passenger lists, manifests, logs of vessels, and troop movement files of United States Army Transports for World War II." And so it went. Chances are you’d see nothing but the wide expanse of open water, no islands, no ships—just the deep blue sea stretching out to meet the sky. By the time most GIs straggled out on deck the next morning, the General Patrick had resumed its westerly course and Oahu was far behind. I don’t remember the specific tunes but I’m sure some John Philip Sousa classics were in the air. And there, in its place in line; where it had been for decades, was the General Patrick. These were once a medium grey, topped with bands of yellow and black (see Figure 2). Like many servicemen today, I joined the army out of high school as a way of making my way in the world, making a very modest salary while learning a trade, getting free meals and lodging—the proverbial three hots and a cot. Still, these feelings conflicted with an excitement that I had finally located the Patrick, learned its fate and got this close. Nevertheless, some were in relatively good condition, like the Battleship USS Iowa, only recently added to the reserve fleet. [i], 1 The 608 foot General Patrick looking her best (From the Patrick’s handbook “The Ship I sailed On”). Staring at the ocean also absorbed lots of time. In Figures 38-40 the Patrick sits high and dry in the BAE dry dock. That was when the bus returned to the Honolulu waterfront where anyone who wished could be dropped off at Waikiki. This once proud troopship with its sleek lines and great speed-over-water had been consigned to the scrap heap, its days of glory long gone. After the war, the vessel was turned over to the Army and renamed as U.S. Army Transportation Service (USTS) ship General Edwin D. Patrick. Flag images indicative of country of origin and not necessarily primary operator. In the years that followed that time in the service, I often thought about those days aboard the Patrick, thought about what happened to her and what seas she might now be sailing…, There I was on a chilly, overcast day in early 1962, a 19 year-old U.S. Army Private First Class staring out into the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean, apprehensive, wondering what the Fates had in store. The teak decks, laid over steel, are rotten; gray paint, laced with lead and mercury, is flaking off in huge hunks. 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