Monday, May 29, 2006

A Young Soldier's Diary: First Publication

We are all grateful for the sacrifice of our soldiers, and in honor of Memorial Day, I tip my hat to the bravery of a young soldier, headed into a battle he could not have imagined. From March, 1945, here are some excerpts from my father's diary as he served aboard the USS Simms in the Sea of Japan. A.D. Hamrick was 21 years old. His his diary ends on March 16. After that, the battle was too heated to allow for more entries. Soon, his flotilla came under attack, an attack that included suicide bombers. One Japanese plane crashed into the sea just shy of his ship, and the force lifted the Simms out of the water. My father was lucky to survive the battle, and often spoke of the bravery of his shipmates as they paved the way for the Marines. His words will take you to that time, to that place:

Mar. 12
Sixth day of steaming- all conditions 4.0 Making for Siapan at 14 knots for further assignment- Had unidentified plane on radar to-day. Stood regular watcher and charged batteries. Praitic (sic) G.Q. at 1540.

Mar. 13

Steaming as before. Refueled from LSV. Passing Marshall Islands, with Enitiwok just off our port beam. Plainly visible. Talked with Skipper and he ways we will anchor 2000 yds. off the shore at destination and we will have enemy resistance 3000 yds back in the hills. First Light. Mr. Smith (N.C.) said yesterday that 85 per cent of casualties since November of '44 have been by Japanese suicide pilot's- each made a hero and sent out to crash a ship with his plane. Took throttle during refueling of ship. No extra curricular activities.

Mar. 14

On 4-8 watch. Had down battle stations. Precautions against early morning plane attacks. Sea a little rougher than common. Sunshine all day long. Captains inspection for deck force. Field day in #2 Eng. Room. Battle stations at dusk. Area designated as "forward area". Expect action any time.

Mar.15 '45

Pay day, but I didn't draw mine. Sea still rough. Nearing destination (Siapan). Usual G.Q. stations Put in about 16 hrs. today. Nothing else our of the ordinary. Very hot. Tough sleeping at night.

Mar. 16

Arrived at Siapan to-day. Had 4-8 throttle watch. Island 15 miles long and varied as to width. Has high (1000 ft) volcanic rise in center.


Button Gwinnett said...

Thanks for sharing those entries with us. It does help to put into perspective what Memorial Day weekend is all about. As well as a small peek into the mind of someone who witnessed history.

Ava said...

A Navy History of the USS Sims
(DE-154) can be found at

Ava Howe