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History (Sep 1944 - Jan 1946) - Alan Kline


This history is an excerpt of Alan Kline's Biography.


Gunnery Practice

The USS Enright sailed for gunnery practice in the North Atlantic off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire.


Convoy CU-38 to Cherbourg, France and Portsmouth, England

On September 5th 1944 we joined up with nine other Destroyer Escorts to provide protection to 43 merchant and troop ships headed for Cherbourg, France in convoy CU-38. The ten escorts were positioned in the form of a V, with five escorts on each side of the convoy. The main purpose of the Escorts was to protect the front and sides of the convoy from submarine attack and keep the subs from getting inside the screen. Once the convoy passed the submerged submarine, the submarine could not catch up and attack from the rear, unless it came to the surface where it was subject to being fired on or rammed by the ships in the screen. The submarines of that era were driven by diesel engines while traveling on the surface but, when under water they used battery power which limited the underwater speed to 9 knots (10 miles per hour), The escorts could go 20 knots but, we traveled in a zigzag evasive pattern to ward off a torpedo attack which lowered the convoy speed to less than 15 knots.

The escort ships had sonar (a sound detection system), similar to a radar system that would send sound waves down to the bottom of the ocean which would bounce off any hard surface and return a signal to the detection system on the ship, the time interval between sending the signal and receiving its return would indicate the depth or range of the object and if it was a sub, a large fish or wreckage would be indicated by the strength and characteristic of the return signal. From this information a good operator could usually determine what the object was. The USS Enright had several contacts during the trip and although we did not see or have any indication of destroying a submarine, our attack was very spectacular. The ship that made contact would pull out of the screen and head toward the contact while hoisting a large black flag with white crossed bones on the main mast and blasting a very loud Klaxon horn (the other ships would move up to fill in the gap in the screen). The Destroyer Escort had depth charges (55 gallon drum filled with explosives and containing a pressure sensitive fuse) stacked on racks at the stern and mounted on K-guns on both sides of the ship. As the attacking ship approached the target it would start to discharge the depth charges into water from the racks and K-guns as it traveled over the targets location, the resulting explosions would erupt the ocean around the ship as it continued dropping charges until the convoy had past. The ship would then abort the attack and return to its position in the convoy. We continued this until we safely arrived at Cherbourg, the destination port on the coast of France.

We did not stay in Cherbourg but, instead went across the Channel to Portsmouth England. As we entered the port we hit a buoy and damaged one of the ship’s propellers, requiring us to go into dry dock for repairs. The repairs took several days and then we sail for the States. We had a safe return trip with no surprises and when I arrived on October 3rd 1944.


Gunnery Practice and Convoy UGS-59 to Oran, Algeria

After I returned to my ship we sailed north for gunnery practice off the coast of Portland Maine.  We then sailed south to Norfolk, VA to meet our next convoy UGS-59 and on November 1 1944 headed for the Mediterranean Sea port of Bizerte, Tunisia in North Africa. The trip took 21 days and was about the same as the previous convoy; we did not have liberty in Bizerte but, did manage a couple of hours in the seaport town of Oran, Algeria. On our return to the States we refueled at Ponta Delgada in the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. As we first enter the port the buildings on the beach resemble one large fort but, as we approached you could see that they were individual buildings painted to resemble a fort. We left the Azores and headed for the States arriving at New London, Connecticut on December 1st.


Submarine Evasive Tactics (New London, CT) and Conversion to Auxiliary High Speed Transport (Boston, MA)

In New London, we practiced evasive tactics with submarines until late January, then to Boston Harbor where we entered the shipyard for conversion to an Auxiliary High Speed Transport (aka APD), a Destroyer Escort modified to carry 150 troops in addition to the crew members. Rumors had it that after completion of the modifications we were headed for the Pacific Ocean.  The crew moved off the ship to shore barracks during the conversion.


Sailing for through Panama Canal, headed for Pacific Duty

We left Boston on March 28th 1945 and proceeded South to Norfolk, VA and on to Miami, FL conducting training engagements with American submarines and aircraft along the way and arrived at the Panama Canal on April 17th. We went through the locks to Balboa Panama then up the west coast to San Diego, CA and west to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 


Underwater Demolition Teams (predecessors to Navy SEALS) Board the USS Enright in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

On May 7th 1945 Germany surrendered, the war was over in Europe and the USS Enright was boarding an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) for practice beach clearing operations on several islands in Hawaii. The UDTs were used, during an invasion to clear the beaches of mines and other anti invasion structures before the invading forces arrived. The training as well as the actual beach clearing was done at night. The APDs were constructed for use as the” Mother Ship” to support the teams during an invasion.

We were too late for use during the invasion of Okinawa but, probably would be used for the invasion of Japan. It was our job to take the team close to shore where they would launch inflatable boats to get to the area to be cleared. We would remain in the area until they returned and were secure on board our ship. We did this training for about two weeks and after having our last liberty in Hawaii, boarded 150 UDT passengers and joined a Destroyer Escort to escort a group of Navy Transports, APAs, west to Eniwetok (map) in the Marshall Islands.    


Eniwetok and Ulithi

Eniwetok is seven miles long and less than one mile wide. It is the largest of 15 islands that form an atoll or narrow ridge of land that encircles a large body, or in this case 600 square miles of ocean. There are many atolls in the Marshall Islands and thousands more throughout the Pacific. The islands making up the atolls are the tops of very steep mountains extending from the Pacific Ocean floor.

Our location on the globe is now eleven degrees north of the Equator and eighteen degrees west of the International Date Line as we leave Eniwetok and head northwest to Ulithi (map) another atoll in the Caroline Islands.   We went ashore on a small island in the atoll. The island had a fence separating the troops from the natives of the atoll who had come to the island to sell their wares to the troops. I bought a few things and mailed some money home at the post office on the island.


Battle for Okinawa

We left Ulithi and headed north to the East China Sea and on June 11th, 1945 arrived at Okinawa, an island in the Ryukyu Chain which is located between Taiwan (Formosa) and Japan. Okinawa is 66 miles long and 3 to 10 miles wide, the Allies invaded the island on April 1945, first with 180,000 combat troops, 368,000 support troops and 1320 Navy Ships, it was the largest amphibious operation in the Pacific during the war. We joined up with other escorts on Picket Duty in the East China Sea protecting the ships in Naha Harbor from submarine attack and stayed in the area for the rest of June. Enemy planes were in the sky day and night, they were either out of our firing range or being engaged by our aircraft. The dog fights at night were very spectacular, we were usually at battle stations and from my position on the gun deck I could see the explosion when a plane was hit and the sky light up as it fell into the East China Sea, it appeared that the pilots went down with their planes. While we were refueling in Naha Harbor we witnessed a Kamikaze plane fly into an Landing Ship Tank (LST) that was docked just across from us, the plane hit the massive ramp doors on the Landing Ship and fell into the water. Our closest encounter came when an enemy plane flying behind an American aircraft , to avoid detection, dived on us, flew over our mast and dropped two bombs which straddled our ship and exploded in the water, one behind our stern, the other forward of our bow. From my “front row seat” at my battle station I could see flames coming out of  what was probably the plane’s exhaust, thinking it was hit I shouted out, “we got him” several times as the plane flew over. The USS Enright’s guns had not been fired.

We were all very excited about our close encounter and how lucky we were, no one mentioned my shouting and I certainly didn’t, but lucky we were. During the 3 month Okinawa campaign the Navy lost 36 ships and 368 were damaged, most from enemy air craft and submarines. The subs were in the area, our sonar detected them, one enemy torpedo exploded in our ship’s wake, and we dropped plenty of depth charges, killed a lot of fish but, as far as I know no submarines were killed, so I guess we were even.  Organized and most mop up fighting was completed by the end of June 1945 but Okinawa was still being attacked by enemy aircraft until Japan’s surrender in mid August.


Philippine Islands

We left the Picket line on July 1st to escort a communication ship to Leyte in the Philippine Islands and arrived there 3 days later, just in time to celebrate the 4th of July with the ship anchored in the harbor, having turkey and fresh churned ice cream for dinner. Food wise the Navy had it good.  The next day, July 5th 1945 the organized fighting was over and the Philippine Islands were declared secured. Mop up operations were still going on in the southern islands near Borneo until mid August

We stayed in the Leyte area for two weeks enjoying going ashore on the small islands in Leyte Gulf for swimming and beach parties. On one Sunday they held boxing matches aboard the ship. I entered and lost by a decision, we used big boxing gloves, nobody got hurt and it was fun.


Convoy from Leyte Gulf, Philippines to Okinawa.  Typhoon

We left Leyte and joined up with a destroyer and seven LSTs and headed north back to Okinawa. While still in the Philippine Sea we picked up a submarine contact and started dropping depth charges around the contact area. We continued patrolling for the sub until the next day when two destroyers took over the task and we headed north to join up with the convoy. When we arrived at Okinawa it was under a severe typhoon, Naha Harbor was closed and we joined other ships to ride the storm out at sea. During that evening one of the ships got hit broadside by a very large wave which caused it to roll seventy degrees and take sea water down the stack. When this cold sea water came in contact with the superheated steam drum it caused an explosion. I don’t know how much damage the explosion did but, it could have killed members of the fire room crew.


Convoy from Okinawa to Leyte Gulf, Philippines

After the storm we returned to Naha Harbor to refuel and pick up another convoy for escort back to Leyte. Things were warming up now and the fleet was getting ready for the invasion of the Japanese Islands. We left Okinawa heading south and when we were one day out picked up another submarine contact in the Philippine Sea. The sub was probably not a threat to our convoy and we were the only escort so, we stayed with the convoy and arrived at Leyte Gulf on July 24th. It turns out that six days later, July 30th an enemy sub torpedoed and sunk the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea.


Transporting Passengers and Mail

By that time we had already been given another assignment and were heading south to the Southern Islands and Borneo to deliver mail and passengers. We stopped at Lloilo on the Isle of Panay; Puerto Princesa on the Isle of Palawan; Cebu on the Isle of Cebu; Zamboanga on Mindanao and finally Brunei Bay In Borneo. We did not go ashore at any of these places but, island people came out in boats selling their wares and diving for coins. One evening we were approached by a covered boat and the man on board flashed a light inside the covered area revealing a beautifully decorated woman dressed in a red and gold long gown and invited us to slide down the anchor chain for a good time.

We made one more mail run to the same islands and while on that trip the US Air Force dropped the “A” bomb on Hiroshima, August 6th and on Nagasaki, August 9th. On August 15th the Japanese agreed to an unconditional surrender. The Japanese surrender took a while to spread to other countries still engaged like China and Russia, also, there were still submarines that did not get the word so, we still traveled in convoys and maintained war alert.

On August 21st we joined a 5-inch DE (destroyer escort with a 5 inch caliber gun) to convoy two Auxiliary Ships to a position 300 miles south of Tokyo where the Fleet was assembled waiting for orders. When we arrived we circled the area for two days and then joined the DE for the return trip to Leyte. On the first night out we hit another storm and had to cut our speed to seven knots. Storms occurring between Leyte and Japan happen often and are very bad. If you head into the storm too fast the bow will rise out of the water and then slam down causing a heavy shudder through out the ship. This is very damaging to the ships structure so you slow down and the ship rolls side to side. We had been traveling back and forth in the area for almost three months so most of us got used to it, but a few including some of the mess cooks never did. You see some awful sights while waiting in the mess line for your meals during a storm.

The official signing of the Japanese surrender was held on board the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay at 8 am Sunday morning on September 2nd 1945. We were in Leyte getting ready to leave for Manila, where we would join a convoy and head north to Japan. The last time we had liberty in any city was the middle of May when we left Pearl Harbor, so we were hoping that this four month streak would end soon.



Well it didn’t in Manila when we picked up the 27 LSMs (Landing Ship Medium) and headed north to Japan, arriving in Tokyo Bay on September 17th. A storm had hit the area so we continued north to Sendai on Honshu Island. We went ashore several times for beach parties on small islands in the area, on one of our shore trips, after we played ball and finished our two cans of beer four of us took a stroll away from the beach. As we walked back into the island you could see that people lived there because many of the hills had been terraced to provide flat plots for gardens, as we continued we came across a small village. A group of women standing around talking noticed us as we approached and immediately went into their houses or what looked like grass huts. Pretty soon about twelve or more men came out of the huts and came toward us. Naturally we were not armed and it didn’t appear they were, we stopped walking and waited for them to come to us. It turned out that one of the men had been a radio operator on a ship that had traveled between Japan and San Francisco and could speak English. We were invited to his home which was a well constructed woven grass exterior building, served tea, talked a while and then returned to our ship. We were pleasantly surprised that they had been so friendly because we had no idea what was going to happen when they started to approach us. Approaching this village had been a dumb thing because although I don’t think any of us would have done harm, they didn’t know that and just two months before we had been bitter enemies. We continued to see this friendliness by the Japanese as we made our way around the island of Honshu and back to Tokyo Bay and our first liberty in a town or city since we left Hawaii.

Tokyo had been cleaned up since the bombing. Whole city blocks were void of buildings but, the rubble had been neatly piled up at the end of the block ready to be taken away. We passed General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters and as we were crossing the street he came out of his quarters and drove off with his driver.


Manila, Philippines

We had been in Japanese waters for five weeks and it was time to move, so we joined two other APD’s, APD-65 and APD-72 for our trip back to Manila. We had good weather all the way and the three ships played follow the leader doing all types of turns and maneuvers, this was tough on the fire room crews but we enjoyed the challenge and tried to keep up. I was too far down in the hole to have any association with the ship’s Captain or any of the officers but they seemed to know what they were doing. We had a well run ship, there was no bullying from the people in command, they just expected you to do what they asked and we did. We were kept busy but, still had time off for beach parties, movies or shore liberty when possible. The crew responded positively, worked hard and effectively, the ship was ready. When we were requested to go somewhere we went and the best part we came back. The Chief Water Tender was my main point of contact and I kiddingly asked him when he was going to give me a second class rate. His answer was that I would not make a pimple on the rear end of a water tender, but to my surprise shortly after that I was offered the rate. I turned the offer down after I found out that the rate was frozen and that I would probably be transferred to another ship and remain in the area when the USS Enright returned to the States.

We arrived at Manila Bay on October 31st and stayed two weeks working on the boilers in the fire room and on liberty in Manila. The city, the largest on the island of Luzon suffered a lot of war damage. It had been occupied by the Japanese from December 1942 until February 1945. They were starting to get back but there was still a lot of clean up to be done. We could count the masts of 20 sunken ships within a one mile radius of our anchorage. I think it was while on liberty in Manila that several of us decided that we would play “real navy” and have a couple of beers and go find a cat house. I don’t remember how we found it but it was on the water front and in a not too friendly area. We paid to enter the building, walked down a  hallway and each of us entered a separate room.  As I entered my room I saw what appeared to be an old, very hard looking, naked woman sitting on a bed. She didn’t speak English but, motioned for me to come over, I won’t give you any more details, it will probably bore you to death, I know it did me. When I left the room I put a big grin on my face, went outside and told my friends how great it was.


Shanghai, China

We completed our work on the boilers and boarded 150 passengers for a trip to Shanghai China. We headed to the East China Sea where on two occasions our radar picked up floating mines, which we destroyed and arrived at the Navy base on the Whangpoo River in Shanghai the day before Thanksgiving.

We stayed four days, had one liberty which I enjoyed riding in rickshaws all over the down town area.


Manila, Philippines

For our return to Manila we boarded a group of interned Philippine musicians (from Shanghai, China) named Loupes Band.  On our way to Manila we made an overnight stop at Okinawa where the band entertained us with a concert .            

Loupes music was high brow compared to what we were used to from the ship’s PA system. One song still sticks in my mind, "One Meat Ball" by Hoagie Carmichael, I think the lyrics were “you get no bread with one meat ball.”  It really got my moves going. After leaving Okinawa, we had to go 180 miles off our course to pick up two sick Navy men off a ship in the Philippine Sea. As we returned to course and approached Luzon Island a sea plane came out, landed on the water and boarded the sick men for delivery to the hospital.


Sailing back to the USA

After our return to Manila we discharged our band passengers and took on 200 high point men that were returning to the States for discharge. Yes, we were going home. We were scheduled to make fueling stops in Eniwetok and Pearl Harbor, HI and arrive in San Diego, CA just before Christmas. As we came out of the San Bernadino Straights into the Philippine Sea we hit another storm which slowed us down for three days until we refueled in Eniwetok. As we were heading east to Pearl and while working on my cleaning station I discovered that a section of the ship’s haul had rusted out and sea water was seeping into the boiler room. The hole was above the water line and not an immediate problem, I notified the duty officer and he relayed the information to the captain. The decision was that the ship’s welders would make the repairs rather than go in to dry dock and delay our return to the States. The ship’s welders made the repairs when we got to Pearl and we arrived in San Diego on Christmas Day three days less than eight months after we left.

We left three days later, went south to Balboa Panama and east through the Panama Canal and up the east coast of Florida and in to the St. Johns river to Green Cove Springs, just south of Jacksonville where we tied up to a group of DEs and APDs already being decommissioned and preserved for future wars. I worked on the USS Enright for four months and then a group of us now high point men departed by train to Lido Beach, Long Island New York where I was discharged on May 20th 1946 to end my two years two months and seven days service to my country.



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