Journal Entry, Monday, April 16, 1945

We only swept for one hour this morning, then anchored in our same place. We were able to get a little, much-needed rest, exception of a few hours—we had to get some work done. The mail is supposed to be in tomorrow. Everyone is really looking forward to it. Everyone stood ready for air raids this evening. So far nothing has happened. We could use a few calm days for a change. A person’s nerves are on edge constantly. So many narrow escapes, and etcetera are nerve-wracking. That holds true mostly with the older fellows, whereas the younger ones sing and joke at any time, air raids or not. As for myself, be merry while you can. We may all be dead tomorrow.

Journal Entry, Sunday, April 15, 1945

We swept a small patch by the lines ashore, in order for two BB’s and three CVL’s to plaster the beach. We anchored in the same spot until dusk started setting in. Air raids as usual. They overlooked small craft this time, because there was so much big stuff around. Nevertheless, they were close enough. I guess during an air raid is a funny time to laugh, but I did just the same. Doc and a few others are so scared, they don’t know which way to turn. They try to hide, but there is no place to hide. In fact this isn’t much of a ship, let alone having a place to hide. The water and weather have been perfect the last few days. If this Jap weather stays like this all the time, it would be hard to beat. But it doesn’t, it is generally worse than Frisco [San Francisco].

Journal Entry, Saturday, April 14, 1945

We are anchored again at the same place as yesterday, this morning, shortly after daylight. The fellows took turns diving under the fantail, to cut a five-inch line loose that was caught around the port shaft. We heard news that the war was over in Europe today, and Russia had declared war on Japan. If this is straight dope, it is the best news we have heard in a long time. Our biggest worry now is to stay alive. The way the Japs send suicide planes and boats everyday, things look pretty slim at times. Last night, suicide boats were sent out, but shot up before they done any damage. They are a very fast boat, making them all the more deadly. We set out to sea at 1800 with two or more small ships. At dusk air raids started. The ship ahead of us was busy for a few minutes. We were just a small distance away, but was never attacked. Things quieted down shortly, and we returned to our card games.

Journal Entry, Friday, April 13, 1945

We anchored near the beach that is secured. We were allowed to sleep all morning. We sure needed the rest. Finally, we got a movie from YMS-283. It was shown in the galley several times. “Honeymoon Lodge”. At 1815 we returned to the safety of the sea for the night. Things were quiet all night, except for the battling ashore. The sky is always lit up from flares and ack-ack. It beats any 4th of July celebration you have seen.

Journal Entry, Thursday, April 12, 1945

We pulled up along side of [USS Mona Island] ARG-9 for repairs, small stores and etc. 1430 air raids began. Several Jap planes were shot down. They came in small patrols. Several ships were hit by suicide planes. Two more raids were staged around dusk. We were anchored outside the nets where the attacks were being made. Things quieted down very shortly. At 2330 we got underway to the main islands we swept once before.

Journal Entry, Wednesday, April 11, 1945

We anchored all night, at the main anchorage. The night was cloudy and raining, so we had no air attacks. We received fuel and water from an LST. In the early afternoon we got chow from the USS Terror [CM-5], flagship for minesweepers. We had one air raid after another for the latter part of the evening. We were to leave anchorage at 1800, and minesweep the following morning, but our orders were changed to give us a chance for repairs.

Journal Entry, Tuesday, April 10, 1945

Things went along extra smooth today. We finished sweeping early, again with no casualties. In the late morning we invaded the first island we swept. It is a very small one, so should be secured by dark. This gives us the opening to the channel. We started shortly after noon, back to anchorage. We are getting low on fuel and chow. Things were dark and quiet when we arrived. We just missed the evening air raids. Tomorrow we are going to try to send some mail off, if possible. We don’t know as yet when we will get any mail. It sure would help to get some soon. The men are pretty well tired out, and their nerves are on edge. I do not blame them after some of the things we have seen. We have just been plain lucky, that is all.

Journal Entry, Monday, April 9, 1945

There were several new YMS’s added to our group today. There were no casualties through the day. Three times, small craft was fired upon from the beach. Our cruisers soon quieted each attack. We were lucky, for each time we were either close to or under cover of the cruiser USS Pensacola [CA-24] (heavy). We took to sea again in the evening for safety.

Journal Entry, Sunday, April 8, 1945

We arrived as usual to start an early sweep. Our PGM-18 escort was following along as usual, when she hit a mine amid-ships. Upon seeing this, YMS-103 went back to help. As she drew up close she hit a mine, blowing her bow clean off. Again the YMS and PGM exploded, causing much more damage, The PGM capsized and sank very shortly. The YMS stayed afloat. Survivor boats were sent out from AM-15, picking up sixteen—or half of the crew of the YMS-103—and nineteen out of sixty-five from PGM-18. We waited until things quieted down, then resumed our sweeping. Along about quitting time, YMS-92 tried to dodge three mines, but hit the last one with her fantail, blowing it clear off. They saw it coming and was able to save every man. Thank the Lord for that.

Journal Entry, Saturday, April 7, 1945

We took a little time out this morning to raise the acoustic-hammer. After, we joined in the sweep formation. Everything went well today. No casualties or etcetera. There were quite a number of mines cut loose and destroyed.

Journal Entry, Friday, April 6, 1945

We returned from sea during the early morning, to again try our luck. This time we are sweeping dangerously close to the main Island. Our troops sound as though they are really mopping up. We are close enough to see troops along the beach. On our final lap around for the evening, the sweep gear on YMS-427 wasn’t working right, so we switched places. Just as we made our turn, the shore batteries turned loose on us. They’d had too big of guns for us, so all we could do is make a run for it. They nearly hit us several times. YMS-427 wasn’t so lucky—they were hit by the port fifty, killing two men and one officer. If we hadn’t of switched places with them on the last lap, I may not be here today. I have the same station on this ship. Call it luck if you want, but I think that’s one I owe the Father in Heaven himself.

Journal Entry, Thursday, April 5, 1945

We returned and started sweeping at the crack of dawn. Again we received no opposition, and cut several mines. Other than one or two sweeps having a little trouble with their gear, we had a calm day.

Journal Entry, Wednesday, April 4, 1945

At daybreak we had a short GQ, after which we got under way. We arrived at the biggest of the [Okinawa] Islands. Fire sweeps and one gunboat started the first sweeping. The group got five or six mines all day. We could see shore batteries, but we were never fired upon, to our amazement. At dusk we set out to sea for safety during the night.

Journal Entry, Tuesday, April 3, 1945

This morning’s raids were a little more exciting. Two Jap planes (Tony) came in on us. Ack-ack drove one of them away. The second one being hit, saw he was going down anyway, so started a suicide dive at us. Believe me I gave him all I could get out of the old gun. The closer he got, the faster and harder we hit him. Not more than a second too soon he noticed a big LST to the left of him. He turned and in a split second hit her amid-ships (causing 17 casualties). I don’t know why I was shaking, because I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t the only one, so I feel better. At dusk, we had the usual raids. Sometimes you can see what you are shooting at, and other times you just guess.

Journal Entry, Monday, April 2, 1945

We again had three air attacks before dawn. So far I have done very little shooting. They seem to fire on bigger ships. Probably because we are pretty hard to hit. At dusk brought the usual air raids. They are getting to be like regular routine.