Navy Life - a Veteran's Story
Enlistment in the Service
The day after a brutal attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan. During that time, a wave of patriotism swept the nation swelling enlistment in the armed forces as young people sought to do their patriotic duty.
Two months later in February 1942, my father and two high school chums, George Abood and H. C. McCormick, took the bus from Valdosta to Macon, Georgia to a recruiting station. Small of stature at seventeen, he failed to meet the minimum weight requirements. Determined to enlist, he stuffed his pockets with rocks to reach the minimum weight for acceptance to the Navy.
Apprentice Seaman Moore, 1942
Shortly after returning home, the trio received their official letters to report for duty. They took the train to Portsmouth, Virginia, before boarding the ferry to Norfolk, Virginia headed for boot camp.
During the first two weeks of training, the new recruits of Platoon Unit 842 were administered shots, given dental and physical exams had their clothes stenciled and began a rigorous calisthenics program to prepare them for battle.
USS Augury (AM 149) Allied Warship
The US Navy Minesweeper,Admiral Class, AM 149 was built at Tampa Shipbuilding & Dry-dock Co. Inc. Tampa, FL, U.S.A. in December 1942 - Launched 23 February 1943, Commissioned 17 March 1943 - End Service 18 July 1945.
Decommissioned 18 July 1945 at Cold Bay, Alaska and transferred to Russia under terms of the lend-lease, renamed T-524, scrapped in 1954 (not reported by Soviet Union). It was reclassified as a Fleet Minesweeper (Steel Hull), MSF-149, Feb 1955. This picture was taken while docked at Kodiak, Alaska
Specifications: Displacement 650 t.; Length 184' 6"; Beam 33'; Draft 9' 9"; Speed 14.8 knots; Complement 104; Armament one 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, two twin 40mm gun mounts, one depth charge thrower (hedgehogs), two depth charge tracks; Propulsion two 1,710shp ALCO 539 diesel engines, Farrel-Birmingham single reduction gear, two shafts.
Missing the Boat
After Boot Camp, the enlisted men received a three day leave. Dad traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit his step-sister that worked at the Anchor Room in The Annapolis Hotel, a favorite hangout for servicemen.
When his new orders assigned him to a ship that had already left port, he hitched a ride on board another ship, a WWI Destroyer heading toward Russia. The ship would first travel through New Jersey to pick up ammunition, then, headed toward Key West, where he was assigned for duty. There he was to be a “Sound Man” and complete a five-week course which entailed spending the last ten days of class at sea practicing their new skills.
His older step-brother, Harold, served in the Army in World War I and his other step-brother, Ervin, served in the Navy. After a tour of duty overseas, Ervin came down with tuberculosis. Dad told us about taking a leave to visit the hospital to visit. In those days, a red light was turned on outside the door of those patients not expected to survive. Although he lost a lung to the disease, his brother survived and went on to finish law school and later become a judge in Florida.
Mid 1945, he received orders for Okinawa to serve on a Mine Sweeper, in dangerous territory to be sure. Taking a troop transport from Seattle WA to Denver, the young Moore boarded a commercial flight to Dallas on a Braniff PBO Hudson with one pilot and one stewardess.
He was aboard the USS Augury on his twenty-first birthday, and served aboard for eighteen months until its decommissioning in July of 1945. At that time, he took a well-deserved thirty-day leave in Texas. There he met my mother and married her nine days later; a true war-time romance.
Dad believed that the more training you took the more pay you could earn. He set out on a determined program of schooling and enrolled in every class he could get. After completing a five-week Sound Course, he was selected to take a ten week Sound Maintenance Course detailing how to repair, tune and maintain sonar equipment.
Later he enrolled in Flight School in Dallas, Texas. While he was learning to fly Piper Cubs and N3N Navy Peril craft at this sixteen week course, the war was raging overseas. When a surprise navigation test caught the student pilots off guard, he washed out of flight school along with forty-nine others in his class. Soon afterward he headed back to the danger zone.
His next assignment as Temporary Prison Chaser Guard included orders to head to New Orleans with twenty-two other Military Guards to escort prisoners to Port Smith NH. After that assignment, he received new orders for Tampa, Florida to serve aboard the Auxiliary Mine Sweeper, the USS Augury AM-149, which was to be put into commission after sea trials.
He was among the first crew aboard the new ship built at the Tampa Florida ship building yard. The ship’s shake-down cruise took them from Tampa to Norfolk VA, afterward, to the Panama Canal, then San Francisco, then to Hawaii. Nearing the Philippines, a new set of orders changed their destination to Kodiak Alaska for convoy duty. Their job was to escort Merchant ships back and forth from Alaska to Attu in the Aleutian Islands. 3
Between escorts they sailed Picket Duty or steaming in a Picket Square. That meant the ship traveled north, east, south, then west, patrolling each direction for one hour.
The Commander's life was a collection of roles which played out over eighty-one years: big brother; serious student; proficient teacher; avid fisherman; seasoned sailor; beloved father; cherished husband; talented carpenter; and devoted Christian. He could be stern, rigid, disciplined and aloof, yet, there were times his tender-hearted side came through.
USS Allegheny ATA-179
Dad fell in love with the silver screen as a young boy. Even into his eighties, he dedicated hours to recording and watching vintage movies, labeling and keeping them in alphabetical order on the shelves he built to hold them.
He lived the motto, a place for everything and everything in its place. He liked to keep things orderly drawing an outline around each tool where it belonged on the pegboard behind his workbench. We were taught not to borrow tools without asking and to return each to its designated place.
He was an avid reader who taught his children the value of books and the importance of good reading skills. He impressed on his children and others the value of discipline and hard work. He stressed the importance of honesty and loyalty and was an example of kindness and compassion to all living creatures.
USS Rich DDE-820 Gearing Class Destroyer
Many duty stations and military assignments followed over twenty-two years during which Dad served in World War II, Korea and the beginning of the Vietnam era. He worked his way up the ranks from Apprentice Seaman to retire as a Lieutenant Commander through hard work and sacrifice. A tribute to Commander Moore’s record of service is found on the web site for the USS Rich where he remains a Plank Owner of the ship.
Do you know anyone in the military?
USS Suribachi, AE-21 Ammunition Carrier
God Bless the U.S.A.
© 2009 Peg Cole