"Arriving at Norfolk, VA., on Jan. 12, 1944, we picked up a convoy of 78 ships. This was the first of many trips back and fourth across the Atlantic Ocean escorting troop ships, freighters, tankers, etc. With Radar and Sonar systems, the DE's were ever on the alert for Nazi planes and submarines.
On the morning of April 1, 1944, we were awakened by the 'clang clang' of "Battle Stations." Jumping out of our bunks, and up the ladder, the clang clang was like my heart beat. The convoy was being attacked by German planes. This was in the Mediterranean Sea between Oran and Algiers, N. Africa. One freighter was hit, and the rest of the Convoy arrived safely at Bizerte, Tunisia. With a hundred ships firing, the sky lit up like the Fourth of July.
During rough seas, we all took quite a beating. On those days, we were allowed to stay in our bunks when off duty. Up in the Radio Shack, our chairs were welded to the floor, and at our feet was a bucket. It was tough copying code and using the bucket at the same time. We typed 'garbled sigs.'
On many occasions, the Sea was too rough for the Cooks, so we had to eat sandwiches. Bouncing around, we ate standing up, with one hand holding on to the table, and the other holding the sandwich.
Our saddest day was when Ed Moritz, coming off watch, opened the side hatchway, and when the ship rolled, it slammed on him. A Doctor from the USS Winslow DE 359 was transferred at night to the Savage. He and our pharmacist mate Doherty kept him alive with oxygen tanks. We left the Convoy, and Capt. Ridgley brought the ship to full speed ahead to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Ed was taken to the hospital, but died soon after.
Before our next trip on July 24, 1944, the Savage left Boston for Casco Bay, Portland Maine for training. We left Casco on August 7 '44 with 64 of the Crew on report, and restricted due to disorderly conduct ashore. It was a Bar-room Brawl. Navy vs. Coast Guard.
Another time when the North Atlantic was never rougher... a sailor from the flagship USS Winslow washed overboard and was lost sight of for 40 minutes. Finally, he was spotted and picked up by the Savage. We were all elated to save him. And so was he. He was a Navy man and said 'I'll never razz the Coast Guard again.'
Mr. Tibbets was the favorite officer of all the crew. He was being transferred to another ship. We hated to see him leave and everyone lined up to shake his hand and wish him well.
At one place, somebody gave me a violin. I played tunes with another guy who had a guitar. One Sunday, Ens. Dickson was giving a special Religious service on the fantail and asked me to play the violin. I didn't know any religious songs, so he said 'play anything.' The only thing I could think of was (of all things) Tommy Dorsey's 'Getting sentimental over you...'
In April, '45, there was a collision in the Convoy. A Tanker 'St. Maihial' and a cargo vessel. The tanker burned and lost 35 men.
April 12, '45, President Roosevelt died. Colors at half mast for 30 days. We held services on the gun deck for the late president.
Between all these trips, were many great liberties... in England, Northern Ireland, several ports in No. Africa, and especially New York City."