My Father's Ship in WWII
#1

I recently found this picture of the SS Lavaca, one of the Victory ships my Dad served on as a Navy 'Armed Guard' during the war. Not a sleek Battleship or a "sexy" Aircraft carrier, but the real work horses of WWII, carrying Invasion Troops & equipment to the Pacific and Atlantic war fronts both. In my garage is a 4' long wooden replica of these ships in painstaking detail which he built years ago, while recovering from a surgery. I recently found a website where you can post messages and look for any living shipmates, but so far no luck. I should have started the search 15 or 20 years ago, as they are now leaving us at a rate of 1200 per day, a fact which depresses me greatly.

 

Dogdaddy,

aka Jim Nelson, Proud son of George M. Nelson, USN 1944-1946

 

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#2

Dear Proud Son:

 

Hey Dogdaddy, loved seeing this photo. It's great that you could post it here. It might also help others who are searching too.

 

Would love to see the model too. What a tremendous project he took upon himself. :armata_PDT_37:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#3

DDaddy/Jim,

 

Great photo! These troopships were indeed WWII workhorses! At risk during every crossing, those guys were brave men and what they did was not appreciated enough.

You are justifiably proud of your Dad!

 

I echo your feeling of depression about not starting your search 20 yrs ago.

There are so many people I'd liked to have talked to - buddies who were with my Dad in the 181st ID in 1941 like Herb Gebelein (My father called him "Gubie") and Bob Cunningham who was with him from Salerno to the Rhine. When he was in Winston Salem NC during manuevars, there were families who'd take the soldiers in on weekends & make them feel at home & a family named Younts (they owned a men's clothing store named "Younts-Deboe") clearly had a special feeling for my Dad. Their children continued to write to him throughout the war (unfortunately, none of the letters survived - just the Christmas cards sent him after war was declared). For the rest of his life, my father spoke about the kindness & generosity of the people in the Carolinas.

 

mary ann

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#4

I echo your feeling of depression about not starting your search 20 yrs ago.

 

AMEN, AMEN! Unfortunately it would have been a LOT harder without the internet. How many of us could afford the time and money to travel around and seek out the people and the existing records? An almost impossible task, especially since these folks are and were scattered across the United States! If we had all the conveniences at our disposal 30 years ago! :pdt: Alas... Trust me I think about this ALL the time. :(

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#5

Great picture. Are there any of these ships left?

I have been so fortunate to have been able to hook up with two gentlemen that served with my dad. One of them I email regularly. It is interesting to look at your parents through their peers eyes.

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#6

1200 per day, that's depressing.

 

WV is now the home of the last American WWI veteran. It's chilling to think that likely in my lifetime I will see the last WWII veteran and maybe the last Veitnam vet.

 

Just think when my gramps was a little boy, the doughboys of WWI were everywhere, a few Spanish American War vets and maybe just one or two Civil war veterans rattling around.

 

A man I work with said his uncle knew a man who fought Indians.

 

Woah...

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#7

I researched a couple of the Victory ships my father was on and found that most of these ships kept working long after WWII had ended as commercial vessels. One was scrapped in Taiwan in 1972. The other one survived 3 name changes and was finally scrapped in 1992, just 4 years before my Dad passed away.There are still a few of the smaller WWII aircraft carriers and other Navy ships at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard here in Washington state. They have all been decommissioned long ago, but it still makes me wonder about all the things they saw and did 63+ years ago. The "Mighty Mo" was moored here for many years. Being on the Pacific side of the USA Washington State has a long & proud Navy History that continues to this day. I have been out in a boat Salmon fishing in the strait of Juan de Fuca many times and let me tell you...it's quite a thrill to see a gigantic nuclear Submarine surface! The Naval Undersea Warfare station is here too, at Bangor.

 

Dogdaddy :woof:

 

PS- Chambers- my grandpa was one of those doughboys :pdt34:

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