A Marine's Story by  Eddie Evenson


Sept 30,  Portsmouth, Va.  Sea Duty Training Center. Began sea duty training. Primary training on 20mm anti-aircraft machine guns. Also stood guard duty and participated in close order drilling exercises.

Dec. 4,  Shipped to Dam Neck, Virginia gunnery range for target firing at towed targets. Trained on 20mm and 40mm guns.

Jan. 1,  Arrived Marine barracks Philadelphia, Pa. We were now formed as the Marine Detachment scheduled for duty aboard the Essex class aircraft carrier USS Antietam CV 36. The USS Antietam will have a crew of 3,291 men including a Marine Detachment of 81 men. The ship is 890 feet long, with a flight deck width of 148 feet. The ship's armament consists of 12 five inch guns, 18 quad 40mm gun mounts and 20mm gun batteries placed both sides of the flight deck. The 20mm guns will be manned by the Marine Detachment. The Antietam will carry in excess of 80 aircraft.

Jan. 20,  Arrived Lido Beach, New York gunnery range for more training on 20mm guns, firing at towed targets. Also some more time spent on 40mm guns.

Jan. 28,  USS Antietam CV36 commissioned. Marine Detachment aboard and assigned 20mm gun batteries, and other primary detachment duties including standing guard at various posts aboard ship. The Antietam remained in the Philadelphia Navy Yard to complete outfitting until judged ready for shakedown cruise. This is the ships first deployment and will determine her fitness at sea.

March 4,  Left the Philadelphia Navy Yard, down the Delaware River and out to sea.

March 5,  Arrived Norfolk, Va. and loaded supplies.

March 9,  Arrived at Yorktown, Va. and loaded ammunition.

March 12,  Arrived back at Norfolk, loaded more supplies.

March 14,  Initial landing of an aircraft made on the Antietam by Commander A. J. Shinn flying a F4U Corsair while operating in the Chesapeake Bay.

March 18,  Arrived Annapolis, Md.

March 20,  Back to Norfolk, Va.

March 22,  Left Norfolk for Trinidad, British West Indies. Training consisted of constant air operations day and night, gunnery practice on towed targets and drones every day. Antietam made high speed runs, high speed turns and tested all personel on general quarters response several times per day.

April 24,  Shakedown cruise completed, arrived back in Norfolk, Va. enroute to Philadelphia Navy Yard.

April 28,  Arrived in Philadelphia Navy yard.

May 19,  USS Antietam left Philadelphia for eventual deployment in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

May 20,  Arrived Yorktown, Va. Loaded ammunition and supplies.

May 22,  Arrived Norfolk, embarked Air Group 89.

May 24,  Left for Panama, stopping at Guantanimo Bay, Cuba.

May 31,  Arrived Colon, Panama.

June 1,  Went through the Panama Canal, arrived Balboa, Panama.

June 2,  Left Panama for San Diego, Calif.

June 10,  Arrived San Diego.

June 13,  Left San Diego for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

June 19  Arrived Pearl Harbor. Began operating in the Pearl Harbor area conducting air operations training and gunnery practice. Additional 20mm and 40mm guns were added at Pearl Harbor in anticipation of a Japanese Kamikaze attacks that were expected to happen when we would deploy to the Japanese homeland area.

July 19,  A 5 inch shell explodes in the mouth of the barrel, killing two and wounding sixteen. Parked aircraft set on fire with damage to twenty airplanes.

July 21,  Returned to Pearl harbor.

July 23,  Rear Admiral R. E. Jennings and staff came aboard to make a "Fitnes for Battle Inspection". Admiral Jennings pronounced the Antietam and crew ready for battle and deployment to the forward area.

July 28,  Returned to operating off Pearl Harbor to qualify a new air group for day and night landings.

Aug. 3,  Returned to Pearl Harbor.

Aug. 6,  News of a large bomb that had been dropped on Japan.

Aug. 9,  Another large bomb dropped, learned it was called an Atom Bomb. No word from Japan on demand for surrender.

Aug 12,  Left Pearl Harbor, destination Wake Island with orders to strike Japanese held Wake Island enroute to Japan for participation in expected invasion of Japanese homeland.

Aug. 14,  Japan agrees to unconditional surrender, Wake Island strike canceled. Some disappointment strike was canceled but great joy that the war is over. In the task force scheduled to strike Wake Island with the Antietam were the USS St. Louis, USS Santa Fe, USS Birmingham and a number of destroyers. Antietam ordered to proceed to Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands.

Aug. 15,  Crossed the International Date line.

Aug 18,  Arrived Eniwetok. Annoucement made that we had been ordered to proceed to Tokyo Bay, Japan to take part in the surrender ceremonies. This was greeted with great anticipation as we would be witness to a historical event.
Aug. 21,  Left Eniwetok and headed for Japan and rendezvous with the Third Fleet for entry into Tokyo Bay. Plans were to enter Tokyo Bay as part of a fleet of allied ships.

Aug. 24,  Enroute to Japan encountered a storm with heavy seas. Structual damage to the hull developed. Antietam changed coarse for Guam to have hull inspected.

Aug. 26,  Arrived Island of Guam. Inspection determined no significant damage to the ship's hull. Word received we would not proceed to Japan for the surrender ceremonies , great disappointment for the crew. Ordered to Okinawa to join the Seventh Fleet.

Aug. 27,  Left Guam, destination Okinawa.

Aug. 29,  Arrived Okinawa, joined the USS Intrepid, an Essex class aircraft carrier  and the USS Cabot an escort carrier to form Task Force 72.

Sept. 1,  Left Okinawa with the USS Intrepid, USS Cabot and several destroyers for operations in the Yellow Sea. Conducted daily air operations sending planes over Jinsen, Korea and Shanghai, China to cover troops landing to occupy Japanese airfields and bases. Mine fields were encountered in the Yellow Sea, used 20mm and 40mm guns to explode the mines. While sending planes overwas in sight, came upon more minefields , again exploded mines with 20mm and 40mm guns.
Sept. 13,  Returned to Okinawa. Anchored in Buckner Bay.

Sept. 15,  Typhoon struck Okinawa, left Buckner Bay to ride out the typhoonat sea. Winds 110 miles per hour, eith waves reaching a height of 70 feet. Typhoon lasted three days before moving out of the area, after which the Antietam, Intrepid, Cabot and other ships returned to Buckner Bay, Okinawa. While at anchor we went ashore on Okinawa for a beer party, each man alloted three cans of beer.

Sept. 27,  Left Okinawa to continue operations in the Yellow Sea. Air and gunnery excercises daily in the Gulf of Pohai, in thenorthern corner of the Yellow Sea. Planes from the Antietam flew overTaku and Tienstin in support of landings in those areas by the Seventh Anphibious Force.

Oct. 7,  Essex class aircraft carrier USS Boxer CV21 joined the task force with a relief for the USS Intrepid.

Oct. 13,  Anchored in the Yellow Sea just a few miles from the Chinese mainland.

Oct. 15,  Antietam ordered back to Guam.

Oct. 21,  Arrived island of Guam. A Japanese destroyer came in for fuel and anchored on our starboard side. It was the destroyer Kyosai. Allowed to go ashore on Guam for short periods every other day.

Oct. 31,  Left Guam with the USS Boxer and support ships, destination Tsing Tao, China.

Nov. 5,  Arrived Tsing Tao, USS Boxer left for Guam to replenish supplies. While anchored off Tsing Tao liberty was granted to go ashore to visit the city. Found Tsing Tao a city of extreme poverty, with high inflation. A Chinese $100.00 dollar bill could be exchanged for $.03 of American money. Many rickshaws available for transportation about the city. Antietam anchored in Princess Augusta Bay.

Nov. 8,  Left Tsing Tao for Gulf of Pohai and Shanghai area. Planes flying over Linan, Tienstin.

Nov. 19,  Returned to Tsing Tao.
Nov. 22,  Celebrated Thanksgiving at Tsing Tao. More liberty into the city, many U.S. servicemen present.

Nov.23,  USS Boxer returned from Guam. Antietam and Boxer became part of Task Force 58. Continued to have liberty in the city every other day.

Dec. 1,  Antietam left Tsing Tao with Task Force 58, destnation Japan. The Task force was under the command of Admiral D. B. Duncan. While underway, flight operations and genaral drills were conducted. Also landing 7,000 was made aboard the Antietam by LT. (JG) Kindt.

Dec.8,  Arrived Yokosuka, Japan and anchored in Tokyo Bay. Anchored in the bay just four years after the war had been declared on the Japanese. Given liberty in Yokohama a city devastated by the bombing. Citizens living in makeshift tin shelters with dirt floors, cold weather made living conditions difficult. The people were polite and we felt compassion for them but they were the same people that cheered when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, intending to destroy the United States.

Dec. 17,  Left Yokosuka for training operations off the coast of Japan.

Dec. 23,  Returned to Yokosuka, anchored in the same birth inTokyo Bay.

Dec. 24,  Christmas Eve. A large stage was constructed on the hangar deck and the crew including members of the Marine Detachment put on a show called The Antietam Follies. After the show a Protestant candlelight service was held by Chaplain LT. Commander E. C. Helmich. A midnight High Mass led by LT. Zimerle was also held.

Dec. 27,  Went ashore in Yokosuka and participated in a work detail to clean out a Japanese concrete bunker filled with new Japanese rifles. Each of us on the work detail were entitled to keep one rifle. Other U.S. ships anchored nearby  in Tokyo Bay were the USS Boxer, USS New Jersey, USS Pasadena, USS Breton and USS Kalinin.

Dec. 31,  New Years Eve in Tokyo Bay.
Jan. 3,  Left Tokyo Bay for Saipan.

Jan. 8,  Arrived Saipan Harbor. Present in the harbor was Essex class aircraft carrier USS Hornet, which left in a few daysto return to the United States. Operational training was conducted off Saipan each day, returning late in the afternoon.

Jan, 18,  Left Saipan for an overnight trip to Guam.

Jan. 19,  Arrived at Guam. Supplies were brought abaord and liberty granted ashore.

Jan. 26,  Left Guam and returned to Saipanon the same day.

Jan. 28,  First anniversary of Antietam since commissioning. An annual inspection was held.

Jan. 31,  Aircraft landing number 8,000 made aboard the Antietam, ordered to Manila, Phillipine Islands.

Feb. 9,  Arrived Manila Bay. Given one day of liberty to visit the city of Manila, much evidence of shelling and bombing that had taken place in retaking the city from the Japanese. Many bridges and buildings destroyed.

Feb. 15,  Conducted training operations off Samar in the Gulf of Leyte. Ordered back to Saipan.

Feb. 23,  Arrived Saipan Harbor. Began a series of shuttle trips between Saipan and Guam.

March 9,  Arrived Guam. Marine Detachment given two days at Fleet Rest and Recreation Center.

March 17,  Arrived Saipan.

March 23,  Arrived Guam.

April 1,  Arrived Saipan.

April 21,  Arrived Guam.

April 25,  Left Guam, destination, Hong Kong, China.

May1,  Arrived Hong Kong, anchored in harbor. Givenliberty in the city several times. A detachment of British Royal Marines entertained us with a meal of soup and tea followed by a party in their barracks. Had a great time drinking warm Australian beer and singing songs.

May 6,  Left Hong Kong, destination Okinawa.

May 9,  Arrived Okinawa, after a brief stay ordered back to Tsing Tao, China.

May 13,  Arrived Tsing Tao, operated in and out of Tsing Tao conducting training exercises, also visited the city again several times, especially a large Catholic church were the nuns treated us to a light meal.

June 4,  Left Tsing Tao, destination Saipan.

June 11,  Arrived Saipan.

June 12,  Arrived Guam after overnight trip from Saipan.

June 25,  Most of original detachment had been transferred off by this date. USS Antietam returned to the United States August 19, 1946. First extended deployment completed.

My thanks to Eddie Evenson for sharing his time on board with us.