Archive for category During Battle

YMS on YouTube

I took a look on YouTube to see what kinds of YMS videos there are. Surprisingly, there were more than zero…which is about what I expected to find. Here’s what I found:

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Our Muster Roll and More!

In other news, I was also contacted by Jim Harlan, son of John Harlan, who served alongside my grandfather on the ship. He happened upon the YMS-299 muster roll I’d been searching for. I got my hands on dozens of pages from several roll calls. I am in the middle of transcribing them all and will begin posting pieces of them very soon so people may Google their family members’ names and find this site.

I am holding out a glimmer of hope that one or more of the soldiers on my ship are living. I know it isn’t very likely, but I have found another YMS sibling’s crew member who is living. It isn’t my ship, but I’d like to visit soon to ask questions about the ship that I was never able to ask my grandfather.


After transcribing a few letters, I wanted to take a look at all of the stamps together. It turns out, I only have four unique stamps across the batch.

6 cents; Air Mail

6 cents; Air Mail

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Imperial Japanese Currency

Tucked into one of the letters home following the occupation of Okinawa, I found a wad of Imperial bills. They are pretty nifty, I must say.

Imperial Japanese currency (front); one

Imperial Japanese currency (front); one

Imperial Japanese currency (back); one

Imperial Japanese currency (back); one

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A Brief History of the USS Rhea (MSC(0)-52)

NOTE: This history was included in the packet of photos and stories from Chuck Donaldson. It is actually labeled as an appendix, but I’m not sure what it was an appendix to.

The U.S.S. RHEA was built by William F. Stone and Sons Company of Oakland, California. She was launched on 14 November 1942 with Mrs. Lester F. Stone of Almeda, California serving as sponsor.

The U.S.S. RHEA (AMS 52) was originally commissioned as the YMS 299 on 7 April 1942 with Lieutenant F.H. GENTRY USNR as the first Commanding Officer. This ship is a Wooden-hulled minesweeper with an overall length of 136 feet and a beam of 25 feet. Her displacement is about 300 tons, her draft nine feet. Two 500-Horsepower General Motors diesel engines turn her twin propellers for a maximum speed of about 15 knots. She is fully equipped with modern electronic devices including Radar, Sonar and Loran. One 40 millimeter and two 20 millimeter rapid fire anti-aircraft guns comprise the armament of this vessel. While this type of ship is very seaworthy, it is not unusual to experience rolls of from 45 to 50 degrees. The complement of the ship is four officers and 30 enlisted men. Read the rest of this entry »

HBO Series: The Pacific

If you haven’t heard, HBO is airing a new mini series tonight about the Pacific War. It is in the style of the Band of Brothers series. One of the neat things about the website is an area for people to post their own stories.

You should read through them, or post your own:
HBO’s The Pacific, Stories

I don’t have HBO, so I’ll have to watch the episodes in delay, unfortunately.

48-Star American Flag

Measuring smaller than a sheet of paper, this flag was tucked into the personnel file. It has holes in the corners, as if it were attached to something, though no rivets or visible weathering. With that in mind, it was probably not a flag hung anywhere on the exterior of the ship, but was more likely a rally flag that would have been attached to a stick at a parade. None-the-less, it is period and a neat little trinket.

48-Star, Handheld, American Parade Flag

48-Star, Handheld, American Parade Flag

Curious Receipt or Subscription

If anyone reads Japanese, I am very interested in finding out what this is. It was amongst the rest of the naval paperwork. It appears to be a postal receipt or subscription to “The Rocky Mountain Times“.

Update: Thank you to Jeff Hannan of Cheshire, UK for the information on the history of the paper (see below).

Update: Thank you to M.S. for transcribing the receipt (see comment).

The Rocky Mountain Times

The Rocky Mountain Times

History of Rocky Mountain Times

Based in Utah, with a Christian focus, Rocky Mountain Times was one of four Japanese-American papers that published in the United Stated during the WWII. It was originally published by Shiro Iida, until it was absorbed by Utah Nippo (another Japanese-American paper) in 1927. Utah Nippo was a collaboration of husband and wife, Uneo and Kuniko Terasawa, begun in 1914. In 1939, when Uneo died, his wife took over the publication. Soon after, she added an English section to the paper that caused it to peak in circulation during the war. Then running three times per week, the circulation was up to 8,000 during the war. After the war, the paper steadily declined in circulation until Kuniko’s death in 1991.

Questions to Answer:
  • What country is this from (or what language is it in)?
  • What is it? A subscription receipt? A postal receipt?
  • Does it have a date anywhere on it?
  • What is the watermark at the bottom? (There is part of a block-type watermark facing backward at the bottom. It reads “MMERMU”.)

Map of Japan

This map was originally tucked (glued) into the journal, but had since been divorced from the book. I found it amongst some other paperwork. I am guessing it was standard issue and something most naval troops had. I have Googled the document number with no hits to find out more about it. If anyone knows more, let me know.

The map’s legend reads:





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Letter Home, September 7, 1945

After the surrender and occupation of Japan, the veil of censorship was lifted and the soldiers were then allowed to write freely to their families. Early messages were filled with assurances that everything is fine and that morale is high, despite missing home. These letters tell a different story and express the need for venting after over half-a-year of daily battle.

September 7, 1945; Letter to Home, from Chuck

September 7, 1945; Letter to Home, from Chuck

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Journal Entry, Saturday, June 30, 1945

Today we had general cleaning for inspection today. Everyone was busy doing something or the other. With such short notice, we were sort of caught off guard. Nevertheless, we passed everything with “excellent”.

Journal Entry, Friday, June 29, 1945

We are preparing for another big push somewhere. There will be plenty of small craft. We heard we will probably see China. Just so it is the right part. We may receive plenty of opposition, and yet we may not. Anyway, we are preparing for it. There hasn’t been any real excitement for a few days. It does not seem natural at all. “Pistol Packin’ Mama” [1943], was the show tonight. No one cared much for it.

Journal Entry, Thursday, June 28, 1945

We can take it a little easier now. Just do odd jobs and look busy. We traded movies, so had a little entertainment.

Journal Entry, Wednesday, June 27, 1945

Today was slightly easier. We work on the generator, as the oil seal was broke. By dark we were finished with the generator and done a little extra work on the main engines again. Well anyway, we had all night in, and we sure needed it.

Journal Entry, Tuesday, June 26, 1945

We started work after four hours’ sleep. We are all pretty tired, and look forward to a good night’s rest. We have been working all night again, finishing up the main engines.