WEBPAGE QUICK LINKS
|CAPTAIN||EXECUTIVE||FIRST YEAR||FLYING "O"|
17 JULY 1943 TO 17 JULY 1944
We have been in commission a year. Out service has been on the first team continuously from Tarawa to Guam. It has not always been spectacular but we have always been ready and more than willing. We have killed some Japs. That means that the Engineers can take us there - the Gunnery Gang can shoot - the Navigator can put us at the right spot - the Communicators, C.I.C. and Signal Gang give us the right dope - the Soundmen and Lookouts give us warning and information - the Doctors keep us healthy and patched up - the Damage Control Gang keep us floating and fighting - While the Chaplain keeps us decent. Of great importance and equally great efficiency on this ship is the Supply Department which provides us with material and keeps our bellies full of good grub at least three times a day. We are also a clean ship.
The OAKLAND has earned a good name in the greatest fleet in history. I have reason to believe we are popular with all the task group commanders under whom we have served. These things do not happen by accident.
Officers and men have done their work in an orderly, well planned manner, from midnight to 2400. We are a team, of Sailormen, on which I am proud to play. Thank you all.
W.K.PHILLIPS Captain, U.S. Navy
In celebrating the ship's first birthday I am proud to be a member of this sea going ship's company. Through your devotion to duty and hard work you have made the ship a proud and effective unit in our great fleet. Let's keep her so.
E.F. MAY Commander, U.S. Navy
It was a great day for all of us - that Saturday one year ago today. The ship's company stood at attention on the fantail while Captain Phillips accepted the ship in behalf of the Navy. And as the speeches were being made commemorating the commissioning, each man could feel a tingle in his blood, picturing the days to come, when far from home, he would be helping to carry the war to the enemy. Yes, July seventeen, nineteen hundred forty-three was an inspiring day, and it was equally solemn.
The days of idle cheering soon passed. There was work to be done in readying the ship for sea - and it was more work than anyone could imagine. Food, ammunition, supplies of every description had to be brought aboard and stowed. It called for long, tiring hours. But no matter how tired you were, there was still "Frisco" liberty available, and no one could afford to miss it, the days could not be counted as all work and no play.
It was new, this living aboard ship; it was to be a permanent home, and it was going to be a good one - we were determined to make it that.
Then came the shake-down cruise, when a green crew began to earn its salt. Snipes, gunners, radiomen and everyone in between had the opportunity to learn his job and how he was to play his part in forming a fighting team.
Post shake-down overhaul next and the last stateside liberty in a long while. So take advantage of it, ye hardies - and that was just what we did. Frisco, Vallejo, Oakland, Sacramento - Bay Area, here's to you! - we went ashore even if only to make room on board for more Navy Yard workers with chipping hammers.
Under the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time. But contrary to all rules, it was more memorable for the sea-sickness than the thought of leaving the States. A sad night for all hands, but the mess was cleared away and smooth sailing was in store.
Well, we've come a long way since those days - and there isn't a soul aboard who doesn't appreciate that fact. On the move continually, and earning a reputation which all hands share with pride - that is the saga of the U.S.S. OAKLAND. The "Flying O" is the term of affection we have given her, a fighting ship in every way.
And here is why we feel the way we do:-----
Since joining the Pacific Fleet, we have been in every major task force operation against the enemy. We have helped push the Japs from Tarawa to west of the Marianas, and from Emirau to Western New Guinea. And for our jobs well done, the ship has received many compliments from flag officers. Congratulations, men, you have made ours a good ship.
H.M. McKINLEY Lt (jg) U.S. Navy
Each man should be proud of the following record and statistics for our first year at sea:
The ship has steamed 76,000 miles or the equivalent of 3 1/2 times around the world at the equator.
The ship has crossed the equator 20 times, all pollywogs becoming shellbacks on 13 November 1943. (On this day we were at 0 deg Lat and 180 deg W Long)
During the first 11 1/2 months the propellers made 33,019,065 revolutions. Some turnover! It took 5,256,175 gallons of fuel oil to keep the ship and all machinery going during that time.
Since joining the fleet, 01 November to 01 July 1944, "The Flying "O" has been underway 60% of the time with an average speed of 18 knots.
From 01 January to 01 July 1944 or the past 6 months the ship has been underway 2,621 hours or the equivalent of 109 days. She has been in port 1,724 hours or the equivalent of 72 days. During this time she has steamed 46,813 miles at an average speed of 17.9 knots, using 3,515,062 gallons of fuel oil. The number of shaft revolutions has been 21,673,588. The average speed for the total time from 01 Janyary to 01 July was 10.8 knots.
1,141,196 gallons of water was used by the boilers during this 6 months period, while the total amount of fresh water used in the galley, showers, scuttlebutts, etc., was 3,688,413 gallons or the equivalent of 20,378 gallons per day.
As a part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, we have served with credit in task forces participating in the following actions: The capture of TARAWA; raids on the MARSHALL ISLANDS; the capture of KWAJALEIN ATOLL; the strike on TRUK; the SAIPAN strike; the capture of EMIRAU; raids on PALAU, YAP, and WOLEAI; support of landings on HOLLANDIA; strikes on SAWAR and WAKDE; return strikes on TRUK, SATAWAN, and PONAPE; strikes on GUAM, ROTA, VOLCANIC and BONIN ISLANDS in support of landing on SAIPAN; action against the Jap fleet between the MARIANAS and the PHILIPPINES; strike on PAGAN ISLAND; return engagements on CHI CHI JIMA, HAHA JIMA, AND IWO JIMA; and the bombardment of GUAM. Our itinerary has taken us to within 526 miles of the Japanese mainland. We celebrated the Fourth of July 575 miles from Tokyo and 560 miles from Yokohama.
In action and at target practices we have fired 69,834 rounds of ammunition, during our first year.
It has also brought advancements in ratings to 734 of our shipmates.
The Communication Department during the year has handled 75,000 radio messages containing 4,500,000 word groups - of an average of 60 groups per message. This means an average of: 6,250 messages containing 375,000 groups per month; 206 messages of 12,360 groups per day; 8.6 messages of 516 groups per hour; or 8.6 groups per minute.
In addition to the radio messages there have been 12,000 visual messages containing 300,000 groups - an average of 25 word groups per message. This means an average of: 1,000 messages of 25,000 word groups per month; 33 messages of 825 word group per day; 1.4 messages of 35 word groups per hour; or .6 word groups each minute.
The grand total has been 87,00 messages containing a total of 4,800,000 word groups for the year. The average has been: 7,250 messages of 400,000 word groups per month; 239 messages of 13,185 word groups per day; 10 messages of 551 word groups per hour; or 9.2 word groups per minute.
In other words in the past year the Communication Department has handled one message of average length (42.5 word groups) every 4.6 minutes.
During the first year of our existence as a fighting ship, we have contributed gloriously to the great victory that is being won against the Japs. When we look back over the record, we are proud to have been a part of these achievements.
Since the Supply Department is to the ship what the business district is to a city, I thought perhaps a short summary of the business of the past year might be of interest to you. For six months of this past year we have existed as an almost independent economic community of 850 population, since during that time we have not been in contact with any civilization except advance bases. All your needs, both essential and luxury, have been supplied right here and little or no money has actually lefy the ship.
The payrolls are, of course, of great interest to us, and during these past 12 months the Disbursing office held paydays in the amount of $533,060,45 paid out, although much more money was earned but not drawn. Of this, $166,488,81 was sent from the ship in money orders, $63,864.90 was spent in the ship's store, $33,038.42 in clothing and Small Stores Issue Room, $14,902.78 in the Soda Fountain.
The Commissary Group fed 744,345 individual meals, not including night rations for all hands on watch, costing $142,234.27. On 30 June 1944 there was an unexpended balance of $20,554.63 in the General Mess, this due to the inability to get fresh provisions in the Forward Area, thereby creating an unspent balance, availible, however, for future operations in an area where the luxurics of eating are more readily available. Listed below are a few items and THE NUMBER OF POUNDS used, indicating the amount of food necessary to keep a ship full of hungry men "filled up". Flour 112,100; Sugar 60,600; Coffee 21,200; Canned Milk 26,048; Canned Meat 36,656; Fresh Beef 121,084; Chicken 11,908; Turkey 7,300; Salted & Smoked Meats 49,532; Dried Beans 18,600; CannedVegetables 104,436; Canned Fruits 75,660; Fresh Vegetables 214,016; Fresh Fruits 61,870; Butter 11,780; Cheese 3,646; Eggs 11,880; Lard 20,930; Crackers 3,900; Jams 18,384.
The Ship's Store was operated at a total profit of $6,001.97, of which $2,664.61 was expended by direction of the Commanding Officer for athletic gear, happy hours, prizes, picnics, etc. Listed below are a few items and quantites sold during 12 months: 230,585 pkgs. of Cigarettes; 90,119 Cigars; 177,274 Candy Bars; 7,884 pkgs. of Toilet Articles (Tooth Paste Powder, Shave Cream, Shave Soap); 14,600 gallons of Ice Cream; 1,277 Gallons of Coca Cola; 603 Gallons of Root Beer; 9,820 pkgs. of Stationery (Portfolios, Tablets, Envelopes).
The Clothing and Small Stores Issue Room sold $33,996.27 worth of C&SS, the major items of sale being as follows: 592 Mattress Covers; 611 Pillow Covers; 7,266 Nainsook Drawers; 7,485 Handkerchiefs; 480 Jacknives, 992 Rating Badges; 5,218 Chambray Shirts; 1,917 Low Leather Shoes; 13,388 pairs of Socks (All kinds); 2,353 Towels (Large & small); 3,963 Dungaree Trousers; 4,718 Cotton Undershirts.
In GSK, it is little more difficult to indicate the scope of activities; since everything from bunting (c1.5) to MWB spares (C1.75) is carried. A few figures noted below may indicate the volume of our operations as a "general hardware and accessories store". 360 lbs. of Lubricating grease; 1,700 Electric Lamps; 4,000 Flashlight Batteries; 18,000 lbs. of Cotton Wiping Cloths; 766 yds. of toweling; 12,230 rolls of Toilet Paper (showing the scope of our our operations); 238 Rain Coats; 176 Rain Hats; 136 Rain Trousers; 340 Brooms; 436 Brushes, 527 Swabs; 302 Screwdrivers; 310 Dustpans; 309 Scrapers; 600 lbs. Steel Wool; 1,200 sheets of Crocus Cloth; 1,500 sheets of Emery Cloth; 6,960 lbs. Soap Powder; 1,700 reams of Mimeograph Paper; 1,784 General Mess Cups; 7,194 Pencils.
LT, (SC), U.S. Navy
17 JULY 1943: Moored alongside the dock at Bethlehem Steel Company, San Francisco, California, is the U.S.S. OAKLAND a new untried, lifeless, floating steel, structure.
At 1515 Set the Watch: Manned by a crew consisting mostly of slim, boney, young raw and poorly trained recruits, but punctuated here and there by a trained or semi-trained man the first watch aboard the U.S.S. OAKLAND was set.
17 July 1944: With the passage of twelve months long, battle weary ardous months and through the combined efforts of some eight hundred officers and men the U.S.S. OAKLAND now comes forth to proudly take her hard earned and rightful place among the fighting ships of the Unites States Navy. In the place of a green and poorly trained crew and a mere steel structure has emerged a living thing, the ship becoming an inseparable part of each man aboard and they are actual part of her.
J.J. JEFFRIES, CBM, USN
M.P. PIKE, CPhM, USN
Usually when you have a birthday your friends and relatives send you birthday greetings, but we are going to reverse that procedure this year and send you greetings. Yes, we are having a birthday and the good ship OAKLAND is two years old today. Two years jam-packed full of action with lots of hard work, and shooting plus our share of fun and a few heartaches to boot.
Most of you who have followed the carrer of the OAKLAND know pretty much what we have been doing but maybe you would like to have brief description of the ship and her activities, so here it goes.
The OAKLAND was built in San Francisco, at the building yard of the Bethlehem Steel Company. The keel was laid 15 July 1941 and she was launched on 23 October 1942. The lady who smashed the bottle of champagne against the stem and sent the ship down the ways into the bay was Dr. Aurelia H. Reinhardt, President of Mills College in Oakland.
The OAKLAND was commissioned on 17 July 1943. Her first skipper was Captain William K. Phillips, now Chief of Staff of Commander Cruisers, Pacific Fleet and the first executive officer Commander E.F. May, now Captain May, in command of one of our largest attack transports. Captain Phillips was relieved by the present commanding officer, Captain Kendall S. Reed on 7 August 1944 and Commander May was relieved as executive officer by Commander A.M. Patterson on 23 September 1944. A lot of the original "plank owners" are still aboard, but every month sees a number of our original shipmates heading for other duties, usually back to the good old U.S.A.. Lucky fellows! Within the next few days, for example, the CPOs will lose their most familiar face when "Sparks" Lindsey shoves off. Cole, SoM1c, Fredrick, GM3c, Wolfe, FC3c, Reid, WT3c, and Davis, MM1c, will also be leaving, as will Commander Harman, the Navigator and last of our original heads of departments and Lieutenant Dave Hall, one of our old time gunners. When Lindsey goes, Jefferies, Knaus and Johnson will be the only Chief Petty Officers left aboard who were chiefs when the ship went in commission. Thus old shipmates go and new ones come, but the OAKLAND stays right in there punching.
Lieutenant Commander Walter Reuland, our engineer officer, is one of these people who likes figures (numbers!). He recently dug into his records and came up with some astounding statistics. Most people don't like statistics but we think these will be of some interesr to you folks at home who occasionally ask us, "What do you do all the time?" These figures cover operations from 17 July 1943 to 1 July 1945: Hours underway - 9,023; Hours at anchor - 4,443; Miles travelled - 169,753; Fuel used (gallons) - 12,125,624; Approximate cost of fuel - $345,108.
During this period and counting time at anchor and in the navy yard as well as time underway, the ship averaged 10 knots for each and every hour for the past two years. That means we really had to make high speed at times to average 10 knots day in and out for two years.
The Supply Officer, Lt. Kypke, assisted those two indispensable Chief Petty Officers, Kendall and "Stew" Kirkpatrick, has also given us some figures on what we eat and buy at the store. In two years the Commissary department has fed us, among other things, Flour - 120 tons; Beef - 125 tons; (No red points required), Eggs - 2,150 dozen; Butter - 13 tons; Doughnuts - 85,000; Apples & oranges - 505,345.
Probably the most popular place on the ship is "Tiny" Young's Gedunk Stand, which has dished out 34,100 gallons of ice cream and 4,025 gallons of Coco Cola and Root beer. Then, there is the ship's store where Stroud and Woodward have high pressured us into buying 500,000 packages of cigarettes, 200,000 cigars and many other thing including 24,640 packages of stationery on which to write to you folks at home.
Life at sea is generally pretty dull except for short periods of intense activity and excitement when we are in contact with the enemy. The rest of the time we sleep, eat (and sailormen can really eat!), stand our watches, have drills, and just "shoot the breeze." We have movies on the fantail every night when in port andat sea we have them occasionally in one of the mess halls. Recently a glee club has been organized under the very capable leadership of Friedman, the weatherman. A band under the direction of Ensign Barnhart is coming along nicely and a hill billy string combination would bring tears to the eyes of thehardiest Ozark mountaineer. These outfits have a lot of fun themselves and add to the enjoyment of the rest of us.
For those of us who occasionally get sick, Dr. Day's Sick Bay and Pill Dispensary is always open. Dr. Knechtges during his 15 months on board as dental officer, has filled about half of the teeth on the ship and some of us think he's pulled the other half. Anyway, our heath is well taken care of and we have not had a single man die on board as a result of illness.
The OAKLAND is a 6,000-ton light cruiser, generally referred to as an anti-aircraft cruiser and this class is the smallest of our various types of cruisers. Steam turbines developing 75,000 horsepower drive us along at better than 30 knots. As the type designation implies the ship is well armed with anti-aircraft guns and that's important in this war.
Now to get back to some of our operations in the past two years. We joined the fleet in the fall of 1943 just in time to take part in the Gilbert Island operation. After that, we took part in the following operations, which permit those of us who have been aboard all along, to wear one bronze star on our Pacific-Asiatic Area Campaign ribbon for each operation. Gilbert Islands; Marshall Islands; Bismarck Archipelago; Western New Guinea; Asiatic-Pacific Raids, 1944; Marianas Islands, including the famous Battle of the Philippine Sea; Western Caroline Islands; Philippine Islands, including the Battle for Leyte Gulf.
Since the above operations took place, we had the good fortune to be sent back to San Francisco for a navy yard overhaul. Everyone got leave, ranging up to three weeks for those who had been on board since commissioning. Never before has anyone seen three weeks go so fast, and before we knew it we were back to the old grind and headed toward the so-called, "Land of the Rising Sun." We assisted in the Okinawa operation and did our share to hasten the day when Japan will be the "Land of the Setting Sun."
During our various operations, we have shot down a considerable number of Jap planes, and have assisted in shooting down a good many more. We have taken part in two shore bombardments and assisted in sinking one Jap ship (they are hard to find these days!).
Well, there you have some of the highlights of the life of the OAKLAND, the "Flying O", which at the frisky age of two is feeling her oats and raring to go. Please excuse us if we seem to brag a little but we think we have a good ship and that we are entitled to pat ourselves on the back.
Our fondest birthday wish is that by the time 17 July 1946 rolls around the Japanese sun will have set and that we will be back in what we truly believe to be God's Country, the United States of America. Yes sir, ladies and gentlemen, we want to finish this war and go home!
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