In mid-February 1945, I was a lieutenant (junior grade) serving on the staff of Rear Admiral William H. P. "Spike" Blandy, commander of the Amphibious Support Force for the invasion of Iwo Jima. On the 16th, three days before the scheduled landing, Admiral Blandy's flagship, the USS Estes (AGC-12), was at anchor several thousand yards off Iwo's Mount Suribachi. Alongside was the USS Bates (APD-47), which carried Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) 12.
So far during the war, I had run into several dozen University of Oklahoma friends whom I knew were serving with the Army, Navy, or Marines in the Pacific. Nevertheless, as I walked across the Estes' deck, I was shocked to hear a shout of "Hey Abbott!" from the Bates. Waving, with a big smile on his face was my good college friend Joe Artman, clad only in dungaree shorts in the bright, clear 60-degree weather. Joe was a "frogman" in UDT-12, which was scheduled to reconnoiter Iwo's assault beaches.