When we last left the USS Sway (AM-120), she had completed refitting and repairs in the United States, had cleared the Panama Canal, and was now reassigned to the Pacific Fleet. During the time she spent stateside, the war in Europe had ended, but the war in the Pacific was still being fought across vast distances and on many islands. Allied forces were quickly closing on Japan and plans were already being made for an invasion, one that would dwarf any that had come before. This would come at the high cost of countless soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen on both sides as well as an untold number of Japanese civilian lives. This, however, was many months away and the Sway was headed back to combat.
All entries come from the ship's was journal unless otherwise noted.
4 May 1945
Anchored as before. 0633: Underway and formed cruising disposition in accordance with CominDiv 16 Op Plan 2-45. Took departure for San Diego, California, in accordance with COMPASEAFRON Dispatch 022449/May. In company with ComDiv 16 (OTC) in USS Seer, CominDiv 18 in U.S.S. Swift, USS Threat, USS Symbol. Fired A.A. practice at sleeve from 0835 till 1024. Continued on Course.
55–14 May 1945
Enroute to San Diego, California. Carried out various exercises in accordance with Op Plan at various times enroute. Fired surface practice at smoke floats and A.A. practice at balloons on 11th. Positions for all trips at end of War Diary.
15 May 15 1945
Enroute to San Diego. Entered San Diego approach channel at 1115, entered harbor at 1310, and moored, at repair base San Diego, California at 1415. At 1530: Inspection party from COTCPAC, Lieut. Comdr. J.P. COLEMAN senior member, made arrival inspection leaving ship at 1605. Reported to Commander Service Force, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET, for duty in accordance with COMPASEAFRON Dispatch 022048/May.
16–22 May 1945
At U.S. Naval Repair Base, San Diego, California for emergency voyage repairs. In floating drydock U.S.S. AFDL-23, from 0900 18 May to 0820 21 May for repairs to rudder post. Loaded ammunition afternoon of 21st.
AFDL-23 was an auxiliary floating dock, light. These were non–self-propelled floating repair dock for smaller vessels. AFDL-23, though now in private hands, is still in service today as a repair vessel.
My grandfather made note of Sand Diego in his diary as "Just a Navy town." San Diego remains a Navy town to this day. One of my cousins would later be stationed there when she served in the Navy as well.
22 May 1945
At Naval Repair Base, San Diego, California. Made post repair trial runs in the morning and ran degaussing range in afternoon. At 1840: Got underway for Pearl Harbor, T.H. in accordance with COMSEAFRON Dispatch 161801 of May 1945. At 1940: Cleared swept channel and took departure, proceeding alone.
Enroute to Pearl Harbor, T.H. Calm, uneventful trip. Fired A.A. practice at balloons 29th May.
Enroute to Pearl Harbor, T.H. Made landfall at Molokai Island at 0815, and arrived at DE Piers, Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor at 1507. Reported to Commander Minecraft U.S. Pacific Fleet, for duty in accordance with COMWESEAFRON Dispatch 161801 of May 1945. Assigned Mine Division Eighteen, Mine Squadron Seven, Commander Mine Craft Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
In the three years since the attack on Pearl Harbor that launch United States into the war, Pearl Harbor Naval base was again fully functional and served as a repair base and layover for ships heading to the Pacific.
31 May 1945 At Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, T.H. Depermed in morning.
Deperming is another term for degaussing or demagnetizing the ship's hull. This was done on steel hulled vessels to prevent attracting magnetic mines, especially important for a minesweeper whose job was to find and destroy mines safely.
My grandfather writes of Pearl Harbor. "Sore Feet'
With the Sway arriving in Pearl Harbor it would undergo more repairs and refitting as well as training and preparations for returning to combat. From here the Sway would travel to Guam and then Okinawa, which is where we will pick up next month.