To Lt.(j.g.) William D. Baker, USNR,retired
For his service and contribution to LCT history.
LIST OF LCT CREW MEMBERS
*= LOCATED **= DECEASED
|Name||Rank||Dates of service||Contact Information|
|William D. Baker **||Lt.(j.g.)||7/1/43 to 6/22/46|
|Joseph G. Didario||Ensign||na||na|
LCT 1045, Palermo
By Lt.(j.g.) William D. Baker, USNR, retired in 1946
On April 20, 1945 I had been in command of LCT 1045 for two weeks. I wrote the following letter:
Got two new men today. One was fresh from the States. You figure it out. I can't. I have a pretty good crew now, all except two are the younger, more energetic type. The head of the engineering department, a MoMM2/c (Motor Machinist's Mate, Second Class) is a little older than the rest. He knows his stuff and is a good man. All this week while my Coxswain was in Rome, I used the Motor Mac as my acting Bos'n, so he led all the work on the deck, which was considerable to say the least.
LCT 1045 underway at sea. Note the water on th deck from rough sea.The Original on the left was
printed backwards but with 1 click of the mouse button and the conn is back where it belongs.
They turned us loose on the craft these last couple of weeks, and we have made strategic gains in the Battle Against Rust. The salt water rusts these barges (made entirely of metal) almost as soon as we can get them painted.
The other older man is the mess cook. He helps in the galley, helps the cook prepare food, helps keep the galley clean, and we really have a clean galley now. It looks as spic and span as a hospital kitchen. It is all white practically, and they scrub down the paint often to keep it white. Everyone calls the older fellow in the galley, Pop, and while all officers are supposed to call all enlisted men by their last name, in this case where no particular intimacy is indicated, it is o.k. But as I am the same age as most of the LCT
crews, I have to be particularly careful of that kind of stuff. [Skipper Wilson told me officers don't eat with crew, and when I became a skipper I maintained the tradition.]
If you're interested in names, here's a list of my crew: Razor, Miller, Burian, Zinewicz, Kirvanet, Rovenolt, Schumaker, Mallos, Clark, Hamilton, Steckner, and Shouse. It shows that it takes all kinds of people to make a world--and a crew.
We still get inspected often, usually every Saturday, and once in a while more often than that. Seems like something is about to pop because they are driving us pretty hard to get all the barges in as perfect condition as possible. Ours is nearing that now. Yes , our flag will be at half-mast for thirty days for the president's death. It is surprising how little talk there is about anything like that over here. We live in our own world, far, far, away.
In my present job I could rest and relax all day, read books or do anything I wanted, probably even go on liberty, but I wouldn't last long that way, and the work-hard method has paid off by being made skipper. As you might suspect a flagship has more headaches than a regular LCT, also quite a few advantages.
I took a survey of my crew. The results: Average age: 21 (six at nineteen, three at twenty-one, one at eighteen, one at thirty, one at thirty-eight). Average education: eleven point one six years (very good in comparison to other crews I've had) Religion: six Protestants, five Catholics, one Jew. Average time overseas: nine months (same as me as of today)States represented: PA (four), IL (two), NY (two), VA, CT, OH, FL
[On July 6, 1945 the 1045 was loaded on LST 88 and we headed back to the
States. I was given a thirty-day leave on August 1 and assigned LCT duty for the invasion of Tokyo Bay (expected casualtliles=50%). Needless to say I was overjoyed to hear that the Atom Bomb brought the Japanese surrender. When I returned to Little Creek, VA, I was eventually assigned to LCT 535 on Staten island. A few months later I was ordered to sail the 535 to Norfolk. No charts were provided and the generator burned out soon after we got underway. But that's another LCT story for another time.]
Lt.(j.g.) William D. Baker. USNR, retired in 1946
Bill also served on two other LCTs in the Med,the 1040 & 34 and has sent in information for those pages. Click here to read an excerpt from his new book The LCT Story Victory in Europe Plus the Letters of a Young Ensign
© 2001 LCT Flotillas of World War II ETO PTO