I'll never forget the meeting. It was the first week in December 1944, and I was an ensign on board the USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570). Commander H. W. Baker, commanding officer of the Fletcher-class destroyer, had called all the officers to the wardroom. He started off by announcing that the U.S. invasion of Mindoro, one of the Philippine Islands, was to take place on about 15 December. He then explained that the Ausburne would not be involved in the assault landings but would probably be called on to convoy the first resupply echelon a few days later. "There will be more excitement on this trip," he predicted, "than there will be in the landings."
The skipper then proceeded to explain the whole phase of the operation and describe our task in the subsequent Luzon landings, which were originally set for 20 December. As it turned out, that operation was postponed until 9 January 1945 to permit more air cover to be used in the attack phase, and on the 20th we were escorting a resupply convoy from Leyte Gulf's San Pedro Bay to Mindoro.