Letter III – SMITTY, Somewhere At Sea At A Loss

Pacific Paratrooper

May 1944 – US troops relax laying cards while a troopship takes them to their deployment.

From my father’s description of his transport ship out of San Francisco and the approximate number of soldiers that were aboard, I can speculate that it was a Heywood class ship. As the ship lumbered out to the ocean swells, many of the young men took their final glance of the USA. Smitty thought that his most boring time in the army was while he sailed on this cruise, although he did well in learning how to play cards – as did many other G.I.’s.

USS Heywood

As they boarded, the ship’s crew immediately began enforcing the security procedures. All portholes and hatches were covered and no lights were allowed after dusk. The heat below deck would become intolerable. The arrival of the “ditty bags” filled with toiletries, cigarettes, gum and a harmonica brightened…

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