Was your dad’s Navy ship too small to have a name? Mine was.
But the LCI 565 on which Gayland Moore Jr. served for more than a year in the Pacific during World War II, a Landing Craft Infantry that had been refitted as a gunship that would escort larger ships, was just 157 feet long. It was built in seven days in 1944 in The Solomons, Md.
The last year or so of his life, I signed up my dad as a member of the LCI Association, an organization that works to preserve the history of landing craft and shares information not only with members who served aboard LCIs, but associate members who are relatives of LCI veterans or otherwise interested in these ships.
He received the newsletter Elsie Item and enjoyed reading about other veterans of the more than 1,000 LCIs.
Elsie Item newsletters published from 1991 through December 2012 are available on the LCI Association website at usslci.com.
Membership in the LCI Association is available for $25 a year sent to National LCI Association, Nehemiah Communications, 101 Rice Bent Way No. 6, Columbia, SC 29229. Those joining are asked to include the number of the LCI they served on. Family members who join are asked to include the name of their relative who served on the LCI and the number of the ship.
The most recent 26-page newsletter from December contains information about plans by the USS Landing Craft Infantry Association to give the LCI Archives to the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Admiral Nimitz Foundation in Fredericksburg, Texas, in March 2013.
The press release by the LCI Association described the materials as “hundreds of Action Reports and War Diaries from the invasions of D-Day on Omaha Beach to Salerno, Sicily, Anzio, Tunisia, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, New Guinea, Philippines, Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Okinawa and various other places from Alaska to Australia and all places in between. The archives also hold over 1,000 photos of the LCI, some scanned from the National Archives.”
The National Museum of the Pacific has its own website at pacificwarmuseum.org.
The information about this donation is certainly helpful to those of us whose family members served on LCIs or in the Pacific.
An electronic copy of the LCI Archives also will be given to the Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum, which has restored the once-rusty hulk of LCI 713 and maintains it at Hayden Island near Portland, Ore., where the LCI Association will hold its 2014 reunion next spring. Currently, visitors to the LCI 713 get to the ship by boat, but the AFFM is hoping to secure a permanent home in the near future.
The newsletter of the AFFM is available online at amphibiousforces.org.
The USS Saratoga, at 888 feet in length, was certainly no small ship. It was the ship which transported my dad back to the United States after WWII ended. The Saratoga, actually the name of six ships from 1779 to 1925, has its own website at uss-saratoga.com.
Originally intended to be a Lexington-class battle cruiser, the Saratoga was converted to an aircraft carrier, CV-3, before construction was completed. The ship earned seven battle stars in World War II, and was severely damaged in a Japanese attack by planes near Iwo Jima in February 1945, an attack that killed 123 crew members. The ship went to Bremerton, Wash., for repairs.
According to the USS Saratoga website, “On 22 May, Saratoga departed Puget Sound fully repaired, and she resumed training pilots at Pearl Harbor on 3 June. She ceased training duty on 6 September, after the Japanese surrender, and sailed from Hawaii on 9 September, transporting 3,712 returning naval veterans home to the United States under Operation ‘Magic Carpet.’
“By the end of her ‘Magic Carpet’ service, Saratoga had brought home 29,204 Pacific war veterans, more than any other individual ship. At the time, she also held the record for the greatest number of aircraft landed on a carrier, with a lifetime total of 98,549 landings in 17 years.”
Whether your ship was large or small, there may be an association which maintains an archive and website to connect its veterans.
Another group I found was the Navy MineSweeper Ocean Association, which has a website at nmsoa.org/portal.html. You may know that this group of wooden ships also was known as the “Splinter Fleet” during World War II.
The Abbot Historical Society will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, at the Abbot Town Hall on Main Road. A program presented by Wayne and Estella Bennett, featuring “Maine Monuments at Gettysburg,” will be held after the business meeting.
Maine played a key role in the Battle of Gettysburg, and this presentation will highlight the men who served from Abbot. For information, contact Estella or Wayne Bennett at 876-3073.
Corinth Historical Society Museum is open 2-7 p.m. Wednesdays at 306 Main St. in Corinth until fall. There are many genealogical resources available to visitors and researchers at the museum. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.