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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 05:24 AM

8. My father, who was working for a newspaper

in Juneau, Alaska when Pearl Harbor occurred, returned to the Lower 48 to enlist in the US Navy after Pearl Harbor.

He always told us that people in AK were actually expecting an attack from Japan, but rather on Alaska, so Pearl Harbor was a surprise for them.

He spent WWII in the South Pacific, serving on a tender. Tenders were ships that could come closer to shore to ferry troops to battle areas and were also used as evacuation transports for the wounded and dying to hospital ships which were further out or to hospital facilities often in New Zealand.

Because of their dual role, such ships could not be classified as hospital ships and could come under fire, so they were also armed.

Here is some information about one of the best-known of such ships, the USS Tryon. http://warart.archives.govt.nz/node/137

And here is more: https://usstryon.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/concise-factual-history-of-the-u-s-s-tryon/

Fortunately, Tryon’s concise history is very well written and includes many useful details. The author (who is not identified) starts the report by relating how the hull that would become Tryon was originally laid down as the Alcoa Courier, but was requisitioned by the Navy, initially to become the USS Comfort, a true (by Geneva Convention) hospital ship. This plan was scrapped to allow for the creation of a new class of ship, the evacuation transport, of which Tryon would become the first, and the namesake for the class. This is followed by a brief description of Tryon’s activities, assignments, and ports of call. Tryon’s dry dock and overhaul history is explained, and her war-time captains are listed (Tryon would receive yet another new skipper shortly after this report was written).

The organization of the Medical Department and their function was given considerable attention. Differentiation was made between the early function of the Medical Department and it’s operation later in the war. During her first two years of service Tryon’s Medical Department provided medical care during the evacuation of “thoroughly processed” patients to rear areas – with Tryon serving essentially as a floating ambulance. Later, beginning with the invasion of Tinian Island, Tryon “operated for the first time as a front-line hospital transport entering the combat areas assault loaded with cargo and personnel acting in the capacity of an APA [an attack transport ship, designed to carry troops and cargo to the invasion site], later receiving the wounded directly from the beaches . . . operating as an APH [evacuation transport].”
But she would see action of a different type before completion of her war duties – Tryon served in the very important role of transporting “Recovered Allied Military Personnel,” i.e., POWs, from Japan back to the United States, in what was called “Operation Magic Carpet,” although at the time of the report she had not returned stateside yet, and had removed them only as far as the Philippines.

The writer concludes this portion of the report by saying, “Deaths during the entire operational period totaled forty-eight.” Given that 10,652 patients were carried aboard Tryon, many being those that required the most rigorous medical attention, that single sentence pays well-deserved tribute to the tireless work of the Medical Department in seeing that our wounded servicemen were given the utmost care possible.

My father would not talk about his WWII experience until MUCH later in life. I wish that he had been able to. It would likely have made a very big difference to us all.

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