Memories are fading fast!
I really had a great time attending the reunion in Corpus Christi. I was, however, surprised how many facts become dim as the years pass.
While sitting at a table in the reception room, I and others began reminiscing about times on the Whetstone and the layout of the ship. The head on the port side of the mess deck came up. I thought I remembered it pretty well as it was the B&M division head when I came aboard. It seems like some crewmembers didnít like to see naked (or nearly so) BTs and MMs come out of the shower and go to the B&M compartment while chow was being served. Sometime while I was aboard the head was given to another division and we were assigned the head down one deck and forward of our compartment on the Port side.
During our conversation I was informed that they welded the opening between the mess decks and that head shut and made a doorway into the compartment forward of the head. That makes a lot of sense, but I donít remember it being done while I was aboard.
While we talked about the head on the Port side it was mentioned that there was a similar head on the Starboard side. I thought about that, and was surprised that I couldn'tí remember it at all. It was hard for me to believe that in over 3 years (and a stint at mess cooking) that I would have never used it. After I got home I suddenly remembered; there was no head there. It was the Chiefs mess and quarters. At least that is how I remember it. I only stuck my head in the Chiefs quarters once or twice, looking for my Chief, but thatís how I remember it. What do you think?
As we were talking about these locations, the 1st Class mess came up. I remember a handful of 1st Class POs, including my 1st class PO, Joe Kalina, building that mess on the port side of the mess decks. I was informed ďNo, it was always thereĒ. For a short time I was worried I must have served on some other LSD as I have some memories that conflict with other crewmembers. Maybe they rebuilt the 1st Class PO mess, but I can still picture the hammering and sawing to put up a bulkhead. It was made of 2X4s and some sheeting. I was only in it a time or two.
Anyone else remember when this all happened?
Some of the crewmembers tried to go into almost every space on the ship at one time or another. I was surprised to admit that as curious as I usually am, I didnít venture into many parts of the ship. So many times I hear of the shaft alleys, and although they were engineering spaces, not once did I go down into either one of them. Too bad.
Often I bemoan the fact that digital cameras werenít invented back then. I would love to have many more pictures of the Whetstone and have images of life aboard her.
The Christmas season always reminds me of the effort the Cooks put in to make up a great meal on Christmas day. About all I can say is ĎThank youí.
You may notice in the masthead that our new Reunion Chairman is Everett Ward. Everett has committed to writing a column about Charleston, Virginia, the location of 2008 Whetstone reunion. The first of these columns is in this newsletter.
LST-325 - The Early Years
- On June 7, 1944, Stephen Nedoroscik and his crewmates on the LST-325 anchored off the coast of Omaha Beach at Normandy, France, and began unloading men and materiel onto smaller craft as part of the massive D-Day invasion that would mark the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.
After they emptied the ship, Nedoroscik, a 17-year-old seaman, boarded one of those craft and went ashore with the medics to begin loading the 325 with the dead and wounded. Under fire, Nedoroscik and the others brought fallen soldiers aboard the ship, where surgeons and medics worked to save their lives.
"I was scared as hell," Nedoroscik recalled during an interview in his Millbury, Mass., home.
Sixty-one years after D-Day, the memory of that horrible and historic mission is still fresh for Nedoroscik,
Yosemite Sam© Warner Brothers
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