Honoring and Remembering

Richard Anderson

Carpenters Mate 3rd Class Richard Anderson, was born to Elmer F. and Francis Anderson, Dec. 21, 1924, in Vermillion.

He enlisted sometime in 1943 into the Navy and became a member of the CBs. His training took place in Camp Perry, VA. It must have been during the cold winter months because Dick remembers that the men lived in tar paper shacks with one pot bellied stove in the middle. The stove could be red hot and if you were further away than three bunks you were cold. One morning after the wind had been pretty strong, the tar paper ripped and he woke up to snow on his bunk.

After his training, he was deployed to Honolulu from San Francisco, on a small British Land Lease air craft carrier. About an hour before they arrived in Honolulu, the boiler on the aircraft carrier went out. Two destroyer ships came and gave them protection by circling their ship until it was repaired.

From there he went to Fort Island where he worked on various jobs for about one year. It was also the place where all the battle ships that had been destroyed or sunk and retrieved, including the Arizona, were taken.

He was then deployed to Johnston Island, which was 176 acres of coral reef, being used for a landing strip for planes bringing in the wounded. Johntson Island was located seven hundred miles south west of Hawaii.

His main job while on the island was to make fresh water out of the salt water. The machine he used made 1,000 gallons of fresh water an hour. There were a few smaller machines around that could produce 250 gallons an hour. There were suggestions of limited use of water because it took five gallons of fuel to make 1,000 gallons of water.

While Dick was on Johnston Island, the famous B25 bomber pilot, Jimmy Doolittle , was reported missing after his last battle of bombing Japan. The island was covered with planes as they searched for him. They found Doolittle west of Johnston Island.

The aircraft carrier Hornet, which the Japanese bombed and nearly destroyed it from the bombing and fire was in Honolulu and they worked on that ship plus another carrier which the Japanese had torpedoed.

One time while he was in Honolulu, he was sent to Diamond Head to get some dynamite. Dick was on guard duty for the truck and had to stand at attention because President Roosevelt's motorcade drove by.

Johnston Island had many gooney birds. They were everywhere. The men had some time to go fishing. One day they caught a small shark. The skin was so tough that they couldn't even cut it with any knife they had. So, they threw it down on the beach and the gooney birds, with their sharp beaks, took care of the shark, leaving only its head as a reminder.

The most difficult part on his time in the service was being away from home. He was allowed one two-week leave for almost three years of service.

At this time, his brother Robert was in the Air Force. He had joined the Air Force before World War 11 had started. He was stationed in England, France and Germany.

Some interesting memorabilia which Dick has kept are his Certificate of Satisfactory Service, his card with his classification, his United States Naval Reserve identification card, his Selective Service System Registration Certificate which shows he registered for service Sept. 2, 1943. It also states The law requires you to have this card in your possession at all times for identification and to advise your Local Board of change of address.

As the time for Dick to leave the service, he was sent to Great Lakes Training Center and then on to Minneapolis where he was discharged. This took place sometime in April of 1946.

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