DE438 is my name here; it is the number of the Destroyer-Escort I served on during WW2. USS Corbesier. The navy built 563 of these ships before the war was over. They were anti-submarine ships and did miles and miles of "pinging" for subs. We left Norfolk on June 5th, 1944, escorted the Starlight, a ship loaded with Marines; to Pearl Harbor. Went thru the Panama Canal on June 12th, arrived at Pearl on June 26th.<br>
We didn't see a lot of action, the worst was in Leyte Bay, Philippines, Nov. 17-19, 1944. Helped find and sink the I48 a IJN sub; another ship made the actual kill. Near Yap Island. <br>
Involved in the Okinawa operation and was there the night the war ended. Made three trips up to Japan, Nagasaki and sasebo and on the third got orders to return to the states. Left sasebo on October 20th arrived San Diego on Nov. 5th, 1945. There were about 200 Officers and men on that little ship. 306 feet long, 36 feet wide, 1600 tons. Yet there were several men I never spoke to in that time. Life is so regimented on a wartime ship that you are where you are supposed to be every minute of the day or night. Very little roaming about. You stand two four hour watches, day and night. You work in off watch time. You have a battle station and when the GQ alarm sounds you run to it, even if you are asleep. It is a tight situation, 24/7. We visited islands during escort services; Manus, Admiralty Islands; Guam, Saipan, Midway, Leyte, Palu, Ulithi Atoll, where the Navy had about 1500 ships ready to invade the Philippines. We anchored at night when we first went to Ukithi; next morning saw 8 Battleships surrounding us, about 10 AM they requested that we move out. I went aboard just after my 18th birthday and I left her just after my 20 birthday; greatest adventure I ever had. We called her the "Bessie", each year a few of us get together in reuion. I'll be 80 in February, life has past quickly.