The following are a couple more snippets from the one-month-anchorage (August 1944):
While at anchorage, I had to pull duty on one of the Higgins boats. I was the bow man, and we had to make a trip to the battleship Indiana to pick up a passenger. The lagoon was choppy and as we came alongside the starboard gangway, the Coxswain was having trouble coming alongside; we tried 2 more passes, but we could not get close for me to grab the lines. The Captain happened to be standing on the quarter deck watching us. He finally yelled down for us to stay where we were and he would up anchor and bring his ship alongside us. We were looking for a place to hide, because several hundred people were watching us. (Frank Studenski)
Being parked in the lagoons was kind of dreary and dull and boring. Depending on which one you were in, they would send you ashore. They had a limit – only so many guys at a time from each of the ships. So what they’d do is give you two warm cans of beer and send you on the island. But these guys got together – they’d carry a green tablecloth like you’d find in a gambling casino and they set up either a crap game or a card game . . . they had some real games going too. (George Pitts)
And, later in the War . . .
We got a chance to swim once in a while when we were anchored in the lagoons. The Boston was out there for a long time. Twenty nine months of fighting. A lot of guys came out and went back – they got some relief. We didn’t. We were vital to the Navy’s strategy. After a while we were so homesick and so . . . psycho . . . I guess ‘difficult to get along with’ would be a good way to describe us. The Admiral put out a warning to the other ships while we were in the lagoons to stay clear of the Boston’s crew when we were on an island. Really! It was an order! And we had to be careful on the lagoons ’cause we were getting into fights all the time with guys from the other ships. (Pat Fedele)
Lagoon liberty was nothing more than a beer party. They’d give you two cans of beer and a sandwich. Sometimes four cans of beer and two sandwiches. There came a time, at one point, where they wouldn’t let us go ashore to the same beach as all the other sailors from the other ships. Both us and the guys from the New Jersey had to go to our own beach. We were considered ‘Asiatic’ – out there too long . . . trouble.
In one of the lagoons, the Wasp was out there on liberty. They had beer left over at the end of their liberty and they buried it in the sand. Some of our guys saw what they were doing. Our guys went ashore and drank all the beer that they hid. They knew it was us; we were the only other ship to come ashore there. We always had fights after that – the Wasp and the Boston. We drank their beer – the stuff they were saving for next day. (John Farkas)