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Washington County, Illinois

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Men in the Merchant Marine from Washington County, Illinois

World War II
Nashville Journal
Nashville, Illinois
May 18, 1944
courtesy of Jo House
Marcie Fox and Robert Chambers Have Carried Bombs to S.W. Pacific
      Marcie Fox, son of Postmaster and Mrs. Howard Fox, is home on leave for the first time since joining the Merchant Marine almost a year ago. Robert Chambers, grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Booth Cross, enlisted at the same time and they have been together during their training and on all their voyages. Upon returning to the states, Bob delayed his trip here by visiting relatives in California and his father in Wyoming.
      The boys left here June 2 and were in training at the Merchant Marine academy at Sheepshead Bay, New York for three months after which they were sent to San Francisco and from there to Portland, Oregon. The first trip on the water was on a tanker from Portland to San Francisco and back. On their first long voyage they took a Liberty ship which was so new that the paint was still wet, and sailed to Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands, where they left cargo and took on 10 thousand tons of sugar at Hilo. They made the round trip in about two months.
      They reloaded in San Francisco and on December 5 sailed back to Honolulu and on to Tongareva where they unloaded cargo and picked up smokeless powder. From there on their stops included the Cook Islands, Bora Bora, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, where they stopped at Esperito Santo on the Guadalcanal, the Russell Islands, the Treasury Islands, back to Guadalcanal, where they discharged all their cargo and then he headed for the states.
      On Christmas Eve they passed the Christmas Islands and on Christmas day they crossed the Equator. When they stopped at the Treasury Islands they were only 15 miles from Bougainville, where there was a fierce battle going on.
      They had a lot of fun trading with the natives in some of the ports. The boys traded clothing of all kinds, sheets and pillow cases, etc. for jewelry and souvenirs to bring home.
      Luckily they didn't happen to run into any submarines as they were carrying bombs and airplane gas. Marcie said it didn't seem that they were doing much for the war, but when they brought in a load of bombs the flyers would come down to the boat and tell them just where those bombs were going and it made them feel pretty good about it.
      The trip lasted five months and they returned to the States May 5. About the first of the month they boys expect to go to New York where they will take an examination to become a junior engineer and after three more months sea duty will go back to school. They expect to sail from the East coast this trip.
      Both boys are oilers and work in the engine room and for seven months they worked every day on shifts with eight hours off.

© 2015     Wayne Hinton
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