LSTs, all amphibious craft, and many other navy ships like PT boats were
dispensable, i.e. they were written off the records of BuShips once they
entered the war zone. When this happened, no longer was BuShips authority
needed to make modifications as long as combat readiness was maintained.
(This cartoon is a copy of one that appeared on June 14, 1945 in our ship's
newspaper, The Porthole Press.)
The Mad Hooligan crew included the best of ship carpenters, welders,
electricians and machinists. No job was too difficult. We found the
difficult could be accomplished "immediately". The impossible took "a little
longer". The first changes made on our ship had to deal with the blistering
heat of the tropics. Awnings were fashioned for the con tower and the
after deck area. Deck hatches were raised with light trap covers to get a
better flow of air into crew's quarters. If an air vent was adjacent to your
bunk, all you had to do was cut a hole into it so that when you slept, cool
night air flowed over you.
Most of the modifications were at the order of our skipper. A complete
rebuilding of the con tower was designed by him. Included was the construction
of a catwalk surrounding the con allowing more people to hang out on the
highest part of the ship (the skipper liked to have you visit the con, even
if your duty station was in the engine room).
Warren Young, our captain, was quite a yachtsman prior to entering the
service. At one time he expressed the idea that he would like to steer the
ship from the con tower, rather than pass orders down to the helmsman in the
wheelhouse below. The engineering division (machinists and electricians)
were able to move an electric "joy stick" from the steering engine room to
the con tower. This joy stick was mounted in front of the captain's chair so
that he could control it from a seated position. Here comes the fun part!
As we entered one of the island harbors, it was necessary to have a native
pilot guide us in. The pilot stood directly behind our seated skipper and
proceeded to give orders. At the order "Come left Captain", our skipper
leaned way over to the left side of his chair and, lo and behold, this 327
foot ship swung to the left. Never did the pilot see the captain move the
joy stick and was amazed that no order was given to the helmsman in the
wheelhouse below! Each following order that was given had the same
results! Needless to say that pilot was super anxious to get off our ship
as soon as possible!
Earlier, we told how ventilation was increased to make it a bit cooler below
decks. Our efforts were great for the tropics, but when the war ended and we
had to sail up to Japan, too much ventilation became a big problem. After
almost two years in super heat, we were now faced with being extremely COLD.
On one watch the temperature dropped 40 degrees in four hours as we moved into
the Sea of Japan. All new vent holes that we created had to be stuffed with
rags and to add to the problem, we had to learn how to fire up the heating
system which up to this point had never been used.