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TALES from the FRONT PORCH

Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

CLAUDE DALE MOORE, Jr.

[I was] born Northwest of Mount Ayr, Iowa [November 17, 1920] to Claude D. MOORE Sr.& Nira Glee STEVENS on Family Farm of Calvin MOORE early in the morning. We lived in the Mt. Ayr area until about 1923, then Dad started a job with the Burlington Railroad in St. Jo (St. Joseph,) Missouri.

We returned to Mt. Ayr in Fall of 1926, went to country school then moved to town and started public school and graduated from the Mount Ayr High School in 1938. Played football (center) (had front teeth knocked out). Father worked for Bill FINCH in a creamery and poultry business in 1926-1936.

Father bought the Skelly Oil Co. service station on south side of the town square in 1936 and sold it in the fall of 1941. Worked part time till graduated then worked 80-90 hours a week full time at the rate of $40.00 a month and room and board.

American Flag.jpg [I] enlisted in the U.S. Navy Feb. 1942. Went to boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Was sent to Machinist Mates School at State School of Science at Wahpeton, N.D. We were No. 1 company of Naval personnel to ever be stationed in N.D. Was transferred in Aug, 42 to Gray Marine diesel school in Detroit, Mich. (When I enlisted the pay scale was $21.00 a month and they took $6.50 out of that for insurance. So basically we got $14.50 a month and $10,000 worth of insurance if we got killed. In June 42 the base pay went to $30.00.)

While I was in Detroit Mom and Dad, and Mom's brother R. B. STEVENS and his wife Ruth came up and visited over a weekend. This was just before they started to ration gas. After school was done I was sent to Newport News, Va. down by Norfolk, Va. From there we went to Solomon, Maryland to train on operating LCI-L's landing craft. Was here at Thanksgiving. This is where our crew was selected and we met our officers that we would have from then on.

We Left from Washington D.C. to go to Houston, Texas to put the new LCI-L 338 into commission.(The letters stood for Landing Craft Infantry-Large and were made to load and unload infantry while making landings on the beach.) It was built by The Brown Ship Building Co.

Spent Christmas in Houston. Went down to Galveston and spent some time with other ships training and having shake down cruises out in the Caribbean.

Left Galveston on Feb 4, 1943 and went to Panama and through the Panama Canal. (What a fantastic experience). After a short stay we headed into the Pacific. Went to Bora Bora the first stop. This is in the Society Islands and about a 100 miles north of Tahiti. (This has got to be one of island paradises that you have heard about.) (We sailed as a flotilla of about 12 ships, we were the lead ship all the time because our exec. officer served as Navigator and got the best rating while we were training out of Galveston.)

We went on to the Samoan islands, the Fiji islands and New Caledonia. (Had to make regular stops to get fresh water and diesel fuel and food.) When we left Noumea, New Caledonia we hit a reef and ripped holes in our bottom and bent the screws. Took a few days to get off the reef and back to Noumea and into dry dock to repair all the damage.

We left with another flotilla to go to Sydney, Australia and on the way we got into a typhoon. They estimated the waves were as high as 40 ft. we were only 100 ft. long so it was a very bad and scary trip. I didn't get seasick but several in the crew did.

Got into Sydney, Aus. on Easter Sunday, '43. Seems like it was April 25. I looked in the old Lutheran Hymnal in later years on the dates that Easter could be on and that was the latest date that Easter could fall on clear up and past the year 2000.

Had a lot of repairs and changes to make plus repainting the ship to get ready to go on up to New Guinea.

We left Sydney and went to Brisbane and a town north of Brisbane to regroup with our original flotilla and to train some more.

Went to Milne Bay on the southern tip of New Guinea and that was to be our home base. (Annual rainfall in this area was over 250 inches per year.)

We would pick up a load of about 200 troops and make various landings on north up the eastern coast. About our first trip out we got into some coral reef again and ruined our screws and had to go over to Port Moresby on the western coast where they had a marine railway to get the ship out of the water so we could install new screws.

From then till the following January we were involved in many major landings which included Buna, (I didn't know it at the time but there were several guys from Mt. Ayr involved in that landing that were hurt.) Finschaven, Lae.(Some zero's caught us on the beach here and worked us over pretty good. Our sister ship #339 was abandoned on the beach and we took the crew with us back to Milne Bay. We went back later and helped pull it off the beach and tow it back. It was repaired and put back in service.)

Rabaul was a big landing. About the last one I was in was over in New Britain. The Navy come out with a program called V-12. They would take 1 person off each ship that met certain requirements and send them back to the college in all different areas that was participating. This was an Officers Candidate School and would be a 4 year term. I applied for USC in LA and was approved.

To get back I got a ride on a destroyer in New Guinea and went back to Brisbane Aus. Took a train from there to Sydney where I was put on an aircraft carrier and came back to San Diego arriving in Feb '44. (Mom and Dad had moved to LA).

Things didn't go well at school. When I came back I held a rating of MM1C and this was knocked back to AS. (I wasn't aware that this was going to happen.)

We were put in classes with kids right out of high school. We never received any help of any kind to get us back into this life style. Most of us that came back had been out of school for several years so we just didn't fit in. Could have been a wonderful thing but was never handled right. I was having problems so was sent to a Naval Hospital at Long Beach for a while. The Navy had taken over the Arrowhead Springs Hotel above San Bernardino and had turned it into a rehabilitation center. I was there till Sept, '44 when I got a medical discharge.

Dinty MOORE, as he was best known, [died April 5, 2003, Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona] was cremated. The first memorial service was held at Mesa, Arizona where he and wife Ruth Ann [(HOGER) MOORE] were living during the winter months. Another memorial service was held later at the Luthern Church in Paullina, [O'Brien County] Iowa on 17 May 2003. The remains of Dinty were placed at Prairie View Cemetery at Paullina near where they lived for many years during the summer.
- Ramon L. Bear 5-2003

Courtesy of Deloris (GRAVETT) and Ramon Bear, November of 2009

To submit your Ringgold County's Tales From The Front Porch
contact Sharon R. Becker at srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.


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