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          The GUADALCANAL (CVE-60) an escort aircraft carrier of the Casablanca class, was converted from a Maritime Commission hull by Kaiser Co., Inc., of Vancouver, Wash. Originally ATROLABE BAY (AVG 60), she was reclassified ACV-60, 20 August 1942 and launched as GUADALCANAL (ACV-60) 5 June 1943. (Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships)  
Class Casablanca
Engines 2 Skinner Unaflow reciprocating steam engines, 4 "D" 450 psi 750 F boilers
Horsepower 9000 shaft horsepower on two shafts/two screws
Endurance 7,200 nautical miles @ 19 knots or 10,200 nautical miles @ 15 knots
Max Speed 19.25 Knots
Fuel Capacity 2,113 tons
Length overall 512 feet 3 inches
Length at waterline 490 feet
Beam 65 feet 3 inches
Extreme width 108 feet 1 inch
Draft 19 feet 9 inches
Displacement (Std) 7,800 tons
Displacement (War) 10,400 tons
Complement 860
Catapults one
Elevators two
Weapons (Initial) 1 5" 38 Caliber Mk 30 Mod 48 dual purpose guns
  16 40 mm 56cal Mark 1 Twin
  20 20 mm 70cal Mark 20
  28 aircraft
Task Group   Operations Date
(No TG Designation)   Hull 306 launched Kaiser yards, Vancouver, WA 05 Jun
    Commissioned Astoria, OR 25 Sep
    Dep Astoria for Bremerton, WA 16 Oct
    Arrv Bremerton 17 Oct
    Underway briefly for deperming vicinity Bremerton 19 Oct
    Dep Bremerton for San Francisco, CA 20 Oct
    Arrv San Francisco 22 Oct
    Dep San Francisco for San Diego 25 Oct
    Arrv San Diego 27 Oct
    Dep San Diego for training vicinity San Diego 28 Oct
    Arrv San Diego 29 Oct
    Dep San Diego for training with VC-42 aboard vicinity San Diego 31 Oct
    Arrv San Diego 7 Nov
    Dep San Diego for Norfolk, VA 15 Nov
    Transit Panama Canal 25-28 Nov
    Arrv Norfolk 03 Dec
Mrs A. I. Malstrom christening the ship as her husband looks on, 5 June 1943
Hull 306 launched Kaiser yards, Vancouver, WA, 5 June 1943
Crew in ranks for the Commissioning Ceremony, 25 September 1943
Mrs. A. I. Malstrom, the ship's sponsor, adressing the crew, 25 September 1943
Captain Daniel V. Gallery addresses the crew, 25 September 1943
The Footprint in the Cement
        In June 1942, the Naval Training Station, San Diego was undergoing rapid expansion to accommodate the flood of new young raw recruits entering the Navy. The barracks occupied by our training company was separated from a field by a new road under construction. The concrete sidewalks on this new street had just been poured that morning. The company Chief, a salty old character with hash marks from his wrist to his elbow, informed us at the morning muster there would be an air-raid drill that afternoon. When the air-raid sirens sounded we were to double-time it across the new road and jump into the slit trenches which had been dug in the field on the other side. We were to stay in the trenches until the all-clear sounded. He also warned us of a punishment he would personally inflict on any man who stepped in the wet cement while crossing the road; a punishment so terrible and gross it must herein go undescribed. Duly impressed by his graphic description of this torture, we went about the morning drills looking forward to a few quiet and undisturbed minutes in the trenches that afternoon; anything to get off that grinder!
        When the sirens sounded that afternoon the company took off on a flat-out run for the trenches. The recruits were leaping over the road and sidewalk like a bunch of gazelles chased by lions. In just a few moments all the white hats had disappeared from view and the field containing several hundred men appeared to be completely void of human life. After a while the all-clear sounded and we slowly climbed out of the trenches. Walking in small groups, the men headed back for the barracks. When we reached the sidewalk we found the Chief standing at the edge, hands on hips, arms akimbo, looking down at a huge footprint about 5 inches deep in the fresh cement. As if seeking to side with the outraged Chief, one of our group piped up with ..."Jeez Chief, I wonder what dumb SOB did that!"
        As the Chief, not uttering a word, face beet red, slowly turned his head to glare at us we noticed his right shoe was covered with fresh cement right up to the ankle. He was standing there with a shoe full of cement. Momentarily frozen in time, as the enormity of the situation soaked in, we could only stand in shock and stare at each other. Then youthful lightning-quick reflexes kicked in and the whole group, as if on command, broke into a dead run for cover, leaving the Chief to ponder the terrible punishment now his due.
        Back in the barracks uproarious laughter rang out as we howled in glee. In our minds eye we could see the Chief inflicting upon himself the punishment with which he had threatened us. Muster the next morning proved uneventful and nothing more was ever said about the cement incident; but on our first liberty, the hero who uttered that now famous line was treated to a fine supply of beers in a local bar.
...Donald M. Baker ABM1/c, USS Guadalcanal
Loading an aerial torpedo, Bremerton Washington, 17 October 1943
An airship in the groove, 18 October 43
Tracers during night gunnery practice, 28 October 1943
F4Fs of VC-42 are hoisted aboard at NAS North Island, San Diego California, 31 October 1943
Captain Dan Gallery prepares to take-off in an SNJ trainer for the USS Guadalcanal's first launch and recovery, 1 November, 1943
VC-42 TBF is catapulted from USS Guadalcanal, 3 November 1943
Morning calisthenics, 7 November 1943
An Innovative Approach to the Salute
        During the first few months of WWII, the Navy was inundated by a flood of raw recruits issuing from high-schools all around the country. These kids were mostly in the age range from 17 – 18 years old. Raised during the depression years of the 20’s and 30’s, hardly any of them had been more than 50 miles away from home much less having ever been to sea. They were also of a generation which, for the most part, had been raised with a certain cautious respect for authority. When companies of such young men were formed in the “bootcamps”, they were encountering for the first time a strange new world and a whole new way of life. The inevitable outcome was a lot of funny and hilarious situations.
        During those first few weeks in the Navy, a Chief Petty Officer was regarded as somewhere just beneath God in the hierarchy of command and any officer, resplendent in his dress whites and gold braid, was an object of awe.
        So ….after about two weeks in the Navy we had learned all about the importance of the salute, which was to be rendered unfailingly. We had no ideas on how to sail a ship or fire a gun but we did know that failure to render a proper salute might result in an appearance before the firing squad. With a mind set like that we were at least now equipped to paint fences, which duty two of us drew one Saturday morning.
        The fence, constructed of boards about six feet high, bordered a gravel path which ran from the officers club to a parking lot. “Whimpy” Brazil and I had been issued a couple of buckets of dark green paint and brushes with instructions to paint the fence. Actually, it was a very pleasant sunny Saturday morning under the trees up in Camp Kidd, and we found the painting a relaxing break from the usual routine of marching around on the grinder in the hot San Diego sun.
        We had been at this task for a couple of hours and were beginning to get a little tired of the monotony of dipping the brush and slapping on the paint. Deep into a discussion of what we were going to do when we finally got that first liberty, we heard footsteps crunching in the gravel behind us. Glancing around we spotted two officers coming down the path about ten feet away. They were dressed in whites and the gold on their uniforms and caps glinted in the sun. Each carried a sword and one had gold braid looped over and around one shoulder. They were a truly awesome sight.
        Something akin to “buck fever” set in. The salute …the salute! We knew we had to render the salute! Whirling around on our heels we came to rigid attention and the right hands snapped up in “the salute”. As my hand came up, eyes locked straight ahead, I heard this loud sort of …”Sploosh”… right beside me. To my astonishment, the two officers began to laugh, … great “hoo-ha-hahs” bellowing forth as they staggered on down the path holding each other up.
        Lowering my arm I turned to find Whimpy still at attention, holding his salute. In his right hand he grasped his paintbrush which was now plastered along the side of his face. The paint smeared his face and dungarees and dripped from his elbow and chin. He seemed to be in a state of shock as he stood there, holding the salute, staring straight ahead. I tapped him on the shoulder and told him the officers were gone. He slowly emerged from his trance asking, …”How did I do?”. Trying hard not to collapse in laughter, I told him, “Well Whimpy, you gave them the best salute they ever had …they won’t forget it.” Then we both sat down on the grass, backs to the fence, had a good laugh, wiped off Whimpy’s face, and tried to figure out how the hell such a thing could have happened.
        But you know, … as I look back on this, I seem to remember that regulations require a salute be returned. I don’t remember those salutes being returned. Oh well, …that was a long time ago.
...Donald M. Baker ABM1/c, USS Guadalcanal
Passing through Panama Canal, canal lock Pacific side, 26 November 1943
Entering the Main Cut, Panama Canal, 26 November 1943
The Pie Contest or How I Ended up in the Signal Gang
        I had a variety of jobs on the ship, eventually ending up on the signal bridge. How I got there was pretty funny. I started out as a S2/c in the 1st Div. when we commissioned the ship in Astoria and later drew duty as an orderly to Captain Dan. After a stint as orderly I was transferred to the Chief’s mess. That is the best job in the Navy. GREAT food, no watches, and lots of free time. This also turned out to be my entry to the signal gang.
        One day pie was on the menu. The Chief Commissary Steward told me to save the last piece for him. Later the Chief Signalman came in for a mid-day snack and spotted the pie sitting there. I told him it was for the Chief Commissary Steward but that didn’t make any difference; he ignored my warning and ate the pie anyway.
        When the Chief Commissary Steward came for his pie and I had to tell him the Chief Signalman had eaten it, he blew his stack and landed all over me for letting his pie get away. Life was looking pretty grim at this point. I was headed for duty in the crew’s mess.
        When the Chief Signalman found out what was going on he jumped in and said “no way”. He needed another striker and got me transferred to the signal gang, better known as the Kelnosky Kids. Duty on the signal bridge turned out to be a whole lot better than life down below in the crew’s mess would have been, and all of this because of a piece of pie.
...Howard Sherer S1/c, USS Guadalcanal
ADM Ingersoll visiting with Captain Gallery in CIC, 6 December 1943