May 27-31, 1945: Today we are tied to the navy yard pier. We are taking on ammo and provisions. Liberty is up to 0800 hours, and I am taking advantage of it, returning just before time runs out. I was A.O.L. on my last liberty and I probably will get extra duty for being late. After we loaded ship, we pulled away from the pier and anchored inside the breakwater about one mile off shore. People were jumping ship and stole the whaleboat. They floated ashore on empty ammo cans.
June 1, 1945: This morning we weighed anchor pulled out of the breakwater and out to sea. This is our last look of the California coastline, probably for a long time. I was looking at the coast line till it was out of sight. We are on our way to Pearl Harbor. The ship has a new paint job, blue hull with gray superstructure. We are minus of over 100 crew members, who are A.O.L. Frank Studenski
Excerpted from Samuel Eliot Morison’s Victory in the Pacific 1945 (Vol 14 of his History of United States Naval Operations in World War II): This attack (the eighth kikusui assault of 27-29 May) coincided with the relief of Admiral Spruance by Admiral Halsey on 27 May, when Fifth Fleet again became Third Fleet, and TF 58, TF 38. Since 17 March Fifth Fleet had been at sea dishing it out and taking the rap, exposed to the threat of deadly air attack day and night. With a count so far of 90 ships sunk or damaged badly enough to be out of action for more than a month, this Okinawa operation had proved to be the most costly naval campaign of the war, seldom exceeded in any war.
And . . . . Thus, as the war against Japan drew to its close, Okinawa became a giant air and naval base which was destined to play a major role in the cold war that followed the war with Japan. For it we paid a heavy price. Thirty-two naval ships and craft had been sunk, mostly by kamikaze attack, and 368 ships and craft had been damaged. The fleet lost 763 aircraft. Over 4900 sailors were killed or went missing in action, and an additional 4824 were wounded. This was by far the heaviest loss in any naval campaign in the war.
June 7-July 1, 1945: This afternoon we pulled into Pearl Harbor. We will be here for about three weeks. The anchorage and piers are crowded with ships. We are tied up to a pier at the navy yard. Every time we pull in or out of Pearl we have to shift into whites. While in pearl, we had a change of command, we also had an Admiral’s Inspection. The ship is still Flagship of Cruiser Division Ten.
Our sister ship, the St. Paul, pulled into Pearl and tied up alongside of us. I ran into an school buddy, who is stationed aboard the St. Paul. We pull out of Pearl early in the week and are back by the weekend. We have anti-aircraft practice, and day and night eight inch and five inch firing. On liberty I went shopping for non-perishable groceries. I think of those mid-watches, when these snacks will really taste good. We will be pulling out of Pearl on July 2nd. Some of the A.O.L. men were picked up and returned to the ship.
Frank Studenski. RIP. I’m really glad you decided to keep a diary, Frank.