Calm Before Battle, Soaking Up Hawaii

I have a handful of photos of Chuck with his friends stationed in California for training, then in Hawaii. I’m not sure if any of these guys are still alive. I don’t have all of their names, but their nicknames and such are on a few of the photos.

Photos include (in order of appearance):

  • William “Bill” Loren McIntyre, RdM3c (Svc. #896-64-93), of Hattiesburg, MS
  • Charles Dean Paul (CDP), MoMM3c (Svc. #660-35-65)
  • William “Bill” “Red” Hatch Davis, SoM3c (Svc. #884-88-90), of Salt Lake City, UT
  • Joe Aragon, S2c/RM3c (Svc. #381-95-02)
  • Welch
  • Richard Millington George, S1c (Svc. #564-97-25), of Los Angeles, CA
  • John, Eugene, Charlie, and Barbara (in the car photo)

Update: I found a family member of Joe Aragon and confirmed this is him on Find a Grave (1926–2012).

William 'Bill' Loren McIntyre, RdM3c, of Hattiesburg, MS and CDP; December 1944, Hawaii

William ‘Bill’ Loren McIntyre, RdM3c, of Hattiesburg, MS and CDP; December 1944, Hawaii

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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.

Campaign Medals

Chuck was awarded three medals and a bronze star for his service in WWII. The medals would have been the same as those below. One of these medals would have had the bronze star pinned to the middle of the ribbon, though I am not sure which.

World War II Victory Medal

This medal was awarded to any member of the US military to serve between December 7th, 1941 and December 31st, 1946.

The medal’s front depicts Nike standing victorious, holding a broken sword, representing the broken power of the Axis, with one foot upon the helmet of Mars, the Roman god of war, representing the end of the conflict. Behind Nike is a sunburst, representing the dawn of peace. The reverse recalls the “Four Freedoms” speech by President Roosevelt, with a laurel sprig, surrounded by the words “United States of America”, and the dates of the conflict, “1941-1945”. The edges of the ribbon revisit the multi-colored rainbow ribbon of the Allied World War I Victory Medal. This again honors all the allied nations. The wide red center represents the new sacrifice of blood by World War II combatants. The thin white lines separating the central red band from the outer multi-colored bands represent the rays of new hope, two of them signifying that this was the second global conflict.

World War II Victory Medal

World War II Victory Medal

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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”.)

Cadet Charles “Chuck” Donaldson (post-war)

Chuck Donaldson (not Chuck Paul, my grandfather) joined a junior sea cadet group when he was 13, to learn good seamanship. He was posted on the YMS-299 (then USS-Rhea) for 14 years, until it sank in 1983. Having started in the engine room and worked his way through jobs on the boat over the years, he knows everything there is to know about the boat. Intrigued, I asked him if he had a couple more photos, particularly of any inside the boat. He didn’t have any inside, but said he’d send me a couple anyway.

Well, I was expecting an email at some point, but I was expecting incorrectly. I was surprised today when I checked the mail, to find a scrapbook of the ship with professional photos of the ship sailing, a full history of the ship issued to the cadets in 70’s, handwritten memories aboard the ship, photos of himself as a boy on different parts of the deck, a beautiful painting of the ship his brother made and the sad newspaper article of its unexpected sinking at dock in 1983.

I’ll be typing up these stories and scanning these documents for inclusion here as quickly as I can. Thank you, Chuck!

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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User Registration

I decided to open up user registration in case I have any repeat commenters who might want to sign up and secure a username, photo, etc. Eventually, when I get more info up, if someone related to this project is particularly interested in sharing their own photos, stories, findings, I might add an author or two as well.

Signalman Thomas Morley

I was contacted by the son of Thomas Morley, a signalman aboard YMS-299 during the same period as my grandfather. Exciting!

We’ll be swapping some photos, documents and stories. More to come…


The following are a handful of the photos I have of YMS-299 (later renamed AMS-52 Rhea). The first of which came from my grandfather’s keepsakes. The rest I found online or were sent to me by former crew members (or the family of).


YMS-299 in front of the Eastern portion of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. The Berkeley Hills can be seen faintly to the East (on the left side of the bridge) with the Port of Oakland and (now gone) Alameda Naval Air Station to the right of the bridge. (notes from Rich Warren)

If you look at the photo in full size, it has a couple dozen crew posing and waving.

YMS = Yard Minesweeper. Mines had magnetic force to make them attack battleships. The YMS was made of wood to skirt around the mines and destroy them. Read the rest of this entry »

43-452, San Diego, CA, 1943

San Diego, CA, circa 1943, 43-452 after boot camp

San Diego, CA, circa 1943, 43-452 after boot camp

Questions to answer:

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Getting started

I’m getting this blog set up so I can have a central place to start making notes on photos and such. It’ll be a slow start, but I actually have a good amount of data to begin and as people run across this blog my contacts should snowball.

If you are a historian and/or a family member of a soldier involved in the story of YMS-299, I’d be more than happy to hear from you.

October 10, 1997, YMS-299 Sinks and is Scrapped

On October 10th, 1997, Rhea sunk due to a rotted hull and was left sunk for a month before being raised on November 11th to be scrapped.

Below is the local newspaper article (and transcription) from the next day (October 11th), provided by post-war cadet, Charles “Chuck” Donaldson.

WWII Ship Takes Plunge; Toronto Sun, October 11, 1997

WWII Ship Takes Plunge; Toronto Sun, October 11, 1997

WWII ship takes plunge

MESSY SPILL… Oshawa marine rescue personnel work to clean up diesel oil that was leaking from the MV Rhea after the ship sank yesterday morning in Oshawa harbor.

Former U.S. navy mine sweeper sinks in Oshawa harbor

Toronto Sun

OSHAWA—A mine sweeper that led U.S. military forces into Tokyo harbor at the end of World War II sits on the bottom of Oshawa harbor today after a mysterious sinking.

The MV Rhea—a 136-foot-long mine sweeper converted into a home—sank in about seven metres of water yesterday while tied to the Oshawa dock that has been its home for the past decade.

Harbormaster Donna Taylor said the ship appeared fine during a visual inspection at 10 a.m. but, 10 minutes later, it was sinking rapidly.

Phil Murphy, a tenant on the ship, had left for work when it went down. But it’s assumed that his cat was trapped in their cabin and unable to escape, Taylor said.

Taylor said emergency personnel from COMRA (City of Oshawa Marine Rescue Association) were immediately on the scene and prevented an estimate 1,600 litres of diesel oil from escaping into the harbor. The harbormaster said the former U.S. navy ship also saw action in the Korean War after World War II.

Later it was used as a training vessel.

The Rhea is owned by Gary Zulauf of Oshawa, who was away on a camping trip and had not been reached yet by authorities.

Taylor said that, although the Rhea was being used as a home, it was in the process of being restored as an operational [boat?]

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”.