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tv   1945 Film Hannibal Victory  CSPAN  February 8, 2015 3:50pm-4:51pm EST

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the different ways across 100 years that the arts were used and used in different ways. world war i, there was a lot of intersect between vocational training and occupational therapy, and it got very confusing. by world war ii, some of that was shifting. some of what was being done in world war i was occupational therapy and was being done as recreational therapy in world war ii. arts for recreation was something else entirely, which was on military bases, and then our therapy -- art therapy moving today. is that what you are looking for?
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>> yeah. so many questions. [laughter] >> one more question. ok? >> is there any effort to do art programs in the field, or is it all when soldiers are returning home? >> that's a great question. can you answer that? >> [indiscernible] if it stung, it's not done on any predictable basis. within selected units or individuals, if you have a behavioral health person attached to you, it might be facilitated, but i don't think
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there's anything dod-wise. [applause] >> please join me in thanking tara again. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> aside from the white house, the smithsonian's portrait gallery has the nation's largest collection of presidential portraits. join us today as historian david ward gives a virtual tour of the gallery's presidential paintings, including those of andrew jackson, abraham lincoln, and harry truman. that is tonight at 6:45 eastern on c-span3's american history tv. each week, american history tv's reel america brings your archival films to help tell the story of the 20th century. developed during world war ii as
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a more powerful version of the liberty ship, over 500 victory cargo ships were built to replace ships destroyed by german submarines. in 1945 film "hannibal victory" documents the journey of a victory ship from san francisco to the philippines to deliver cargo, including several steam railroad engines. ♪ >> right here on this peaceful river is where the story starts of the sea voyage that took us halfway around the world a wartime sea voyage. it's the mississippi old man
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river himself. it sort of makes you homesick, doesn't it, homesick for when you were a kid in the good old summertime when you listened to the steamboat blowing through the banend. remember your first ride on a stern wheeler with her paddles biting the mississippi water and thinking maybe how you would like to run away down the river on one of them to st. louis or memphis or maybe even new orleans, then board a big ship out to sea? well, that happened to me. it is a long jump from the middle of america to the deck of ac-going freighter, but that is how i happen to know about this voyage that started right here in the town of hannibal, missouri hometown that mark twain made famous. it would have tickled mark to have been with us.
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he like to tell about big things happening, and they happened big to us, all right. he was a great traveler, too. wherever he went, he brought his america, the real america of hannibal, missouri along with him, and we did, too. we have the kind of adventures huckleberry finn and tom sawyer dreamt about. there they are looking out across the big river. real american kids. the town of hannibal has changed since those days. paved streets and automobiles and so forth. the people haven't changed. they pitched in to fight so the american brand of freedom and liberty could survive. hannibal had sent its boys to the battlefront, and her men and women were hoping to win the toughest war america had ever been in. when i said the town of hannibal was the starting point of a wartime sea voyage here's --
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here is what i meant. the united states army needed a railroad. railroads bring freight cars and freight cards need wheels. hannibal is famous for making car wheels. hannibal's car wheels went to war, and their first lap was from here in missouri to the shores of california. here's what happened to hannibal's wheels. there was only one place for it to come from, the good old usa and only one way to get it overseas, on a ships of the united states merchant marine. throughout here on the docks of san francisco, we began to take aboard our ship car wheels for a railroad somewhere, we guessed
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across the pacific ocean. this is early february 1945. lots of things are happening out there west of the golden gate. i'm sure the new boys are yelling that our troops are gone to manila, that our navy is blasting the china coast, and our b-29's were blasting. we were in a hurry to get this cargo where it was needed. the great port of san francisco was naturally the jumping off place for most of the stuff moving west. we were just one of the hundreds of merchant ships taking goods aboard. we were mighty proud of our brand-new victory ship. look at her name. she is one of the bunch named after american towns. do you remember? nobody aboard hailed from hannibal itself, but that didn't stop as -- us from adopting
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hannibal is our hometown. -- as our hometown. we began stacking our holes with freight car under frames. the longshoremen wasted no time setting it up. their job was to speed up what they called turnaround time. in other words, hustle each shift out of port as fast as possible. in war, it is the ship at sea not at the dock that counts. in the spaces between our bulky cargo, we packed russians, cops, hospital supplies like bandages and plasma, and dozens of other valuable items the boys overseas were hollering for. but this was the payoff cargo. nothing less than 84 grown railroad engines complete --
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eight full grown railroad engines. the idea was that these fellas would be ready to run as soon as we could set them down on rails somewhere in the pacific. they were tied up to the dock where they had the biggest claim in the harbor, the 100-ton job. the way the crane handle those babies, you would've thought they were toy electric trains. if they dropped, the hannibal victory would have never sailed from frisco. one of our mates told me afterwards of this voyage gave him a bad dream. he dreamed he was an old greek king. what is his name? damocles. instead of the sword dangling over his head, it was a locomotive.
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one by one, they were set into place on the deck. four hatches, eight locomotives. easy. easy does it. relayed regular road beds, you might say. pushing our way to the locomotives steel rod assemblies were pushed to the deck, plant tight and wedged, chained, and bolted down. all hands knew that the sailing day was near. somebody else knew that our time was short, too. the chief mate had only been
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married a little while but it does not take a woman long to realize what the voyage will be like. i can remember the chief saying that i will go ashore on a couple of errands and i want to see your hats secured. we went ahead with the job and got the big tarps lashed into place. the embarcadero was windy that day. under that baseball cap that he always wore, i wonder how many times in history some woman had gone down to watch her seafaring man off on what might be the last time. we began to lashed on the cargo time to wind up the last details. sure, sailing time was great but you would think -- was a
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secret, but you think it could be kept secret from her? maybe she did not know the exact hour, but all i can say that is i'm glad no one was there to tell me goodbye. the best thing is to keep busy until the last minute. you do not have any brass bands when you sell during wartime. we practically snuck away. it took away -- took a while to get out of the bay. if you have never done it that's an experience. you watch the other ships, the great city built on the hill slips by like on a movie screen. we had a feeling that everybody on sure was looking at us. the bay bridge was ahead. there was a hospital ship, in from the pacific. and that is a big new passenger ship converted to carry troops when the war broke out.
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those bridges? we had to army corporal's board. first mates for the locomotives. net sparks, a radio operator with an army security officer. they saw the golden gate bridge ahead. we have been led to the submarine with our navy radar signals. the pilot was on the flying bridge with the skipper. the talker is checking his telephone. he is hooked up to each of the dining stations. that is paid leg and joe on the engine. funny how he got attached to those.
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now the golden gate is a storm and the boat is laying to pick up the pilot. now we know we are on our own. dropping the pilot always makes you feel like you cannot drop your last line to the shore. the engineer opens the main throttle. the turbines start to turn smoothly and spin the big shaft, linking 6500 horsepower -- horsepower turbines and gaining speed.
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now you begin to feel the lift. this is what a ship is built for. this is why a fellow goes to see. so, we are headed west. 10,000 tons of steel cargo in the hold and lashed to the deck. the advanced victory ship is the answer out here. lots of ocean, time is short. we tried out the guns right away. finding out if anything was wrong with them. we are out at sea now and anything can happen.
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it is the first morning out. the sun was peeking through just enough for the skipper to get our position. you have got to admire the captain. he has had two ships shot out from under him, but he kept sailing even though he had not gotten any other. he had opened his sealed orders and spotted the course for the navigation officer. we were headed to a certain point of longitude and latitude. as far as we were concerned it was destination unknown. once we headed westward, the scuttlebutt began. we were leaving the invasion on the chinese mainland the philippines, india, or possibly japan itself. most of us had learned to discount this type of talk and just to wait and see.
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so, we settled down onto ship or routine. the maintenance starts right away. you have to like one thing if you go to see, to obtain. anyhow, it is a fine job for the young fellows. a bit of a reminder of tom sawyer and how he got the boys to whitewash his fence and pay for the privilege. we told them it was a good experience. half of them had been to the government's maritime training schools but still had a lot to learn. aboard ship there is a you something to be lifted, lowered, and moved from here to there. in landlubber language, that is a police. a faulty block might cause an accident. if you are not painting, you are chipping away old paint, or so it seems.
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there was one routine job nobody ever tried to get out of keeping the life boat here in first class shape. if you need a light boat -- lifeboat, you need it in a hurry. that is paid leg going along. seems like he had all the toughest jobs. the other job was aluminum. somewhere around the canal they got a ship and he came to hospital with one less leg. that did not stop him. when he learned how to use his shiny new leg, he went to see. there he was, more of a man than any of us. in peacetime you can tell what company operates a merchant ship by the colors on the stack.
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this is a job for a man who knows how. max and how. he had tough hands for this. the day of the sailing ship may be gone forever, but there are still a couple of miles of ratings coming around on a steel rope, i enough to win several tons over. there is the splice, strong is the line self. the rigging aloft had to be kept down with towel and graphite so that it did not rust and jam. so, the seagoing housekeeping went on. all the small jobs takes to keep the ship sailing.
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brad wasn't a football player, but another lad fairly new to the seafaring profession. one day he came up to catch some air. so, you get paid to watch the birds? maybe you can learn to fly and be a pilot. he came here on the back and to rest up a little. on the what? you and me are going on a tour. he lectures as he goes. that's the number four hatch. on the bridge deck, max stops.
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ok, a stack of the following. he says -- gee i don't know. max says he doesn't know either. they make their way forward until they hit the flying bridge on top of the wheel house on a duplicate set of controls. did they tell you what this was at school? that's right, the wheel. in this? correct, the pinnacle. he says -- i will show you a thing or two. lifeboats. porthole, not window. the deck, not the floors.
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the cross stream ventilator. :. a cargo will -- a hatch. a cargo boom. anger windows. now they are all the way forward. the front end? so what? sorry, i mean the bow. max is through. he is starting below. scram. this was a mother and very important routine job on them over -- on the voyage.
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taking care of the locomotives. they groom the engines like prize resources. they use the gooey mixture of oil that would not drive out -- try out. otherwise they could get ruined in the salt spray. these guys have been working for the railroad with a got to the army and how they were doing this in thing in peacetime. the days went by in hurry as we went westward. the pacific was living up to its name so far. i remember our first sunday on that voyage. on the after gun deck came the sound of singing. hinz, it was, the gun crew going
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to church, holding their sunday services in the shadow of their own guns. it was a fine, full sound in the clean air. the chief mate happen to be making his rounds because sunday or not, we were a cargo team underway on the west side of the pacific delivering those locomotives in good shape. now, church services are part of the navy custom but in his own quiet way, the chief joins in.
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all the while, the lookouts scanned the face of the warriors and kept watch. that was the sunday we had a strange visitor. here we were moving away from unknown land, this long leg and fellow, some said that he might be a spy, so we caught him. he was here on business and would not have chow with us. we gave him a lift but we did not realize he had is this to attend to.
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and then we got it, he came aboard to inspect us. with his hands behind his back and his white frock coat, he turned over each turnbuckle and ring coat to see that they were shipshape. pretty soon he went back somewhere to make the report. sunday was a good day for a lot of little personal jobs. we took turns cutting each other's hair. sounded a good job, too. lots of advice. also, you had a little bit of time to repair your sea bag, for instance. with expert resistance, of course. ever see a good ship with a monkey aboard? on sunday you felt domestic
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running around to do your household chores. maybe that's why so few sailors get married. they figure they can handle this department by themselves. each man develops his own technique, you might say. sunday was the day voice showed off. they baked great bread. we all agreed that we were fed well in the well fed shifts is a happy shift, as any taylor now. it makes my mouth water just think of it. . he was as his mother. he had noticed earrings before he signed up and swore was the truth, i guess he just had
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natural talent. the bigger was a friendly guy so maybe he did not care if it was dangerous to leave the slices hanging around. one of the rules aboard ship was that every man must have plenty to eat. the stewards apartment totaled about one dozen cooks and makers all told. these men served six meals per day. coffee and sandwiches are on hand. any night -- anytime, day or night. meat, poultry, butter, eggs, and
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so forth. we had our own refrigeration of course, keeping the food good and fresh. no one suffered from not getting all the vitamins or whatever it was they needed. no cover charge and a free floor show confluence of tokyo rose. if they knew how much we were tickled by those broadcast, they would have taken them off the air. the woody he seemed to have a care in the world but you could not keep the engineers from talking shop. revolution, steam pressure, the up-and-down of liberties and so on and on. >> ♪[singing in japanese] ♪
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>> well, a good meal calls for a good cigar. i'm a navy lieutenant wasn't's football coach, by the way. even the skipper loosened up after sunday chow. we were wondering how long and bloody the road to tokyo would be. the thing that you noticed about the army guard, they were very young. filing first -- filing clerks, machinists sons, the soft and spoiled americans that did not stand a chance against the trained armies of hitler, mussolini, and hear a veto -- hiroki dell -- hirohito. there is subtly, showing off
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what he learned and maritime school. joe wasn't's fisherman from monterey. serving in the merchant marines. do not let the beard full view this was his first voyage. the real expert was red, as usual. all he really needed was a grass skirt. then the old maestro showed how the family did it. sunday was not entirely a day of rest. our midshipmen had to finish a certain amount of shut -- studying before they returned to the states. they could not help but be homesick around the edges now and then.
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sunday was the traditional day for writing home. the mate was good about it, but some of the rest of us put it off. we had no one to write to. well, the day is nearly over and the watch comes around to bring us back to reality, back from our thoughts of home. blacking out, almost dusk. even a pinpoint of light can be seen miles away. at dusk and dawn all hands before to battle stations. it might be a thing of beauty to an artist, but to an enemy submarine it is the time of day were there almost invisible. the ship stands out against the sky like a target in a shooting gallery.
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word had just come from the bridge. hawaii should be off the starboard bow anytime now. world -- the word spread out like wildfire. they come running, all anxious for a glimpse of home. the whole gang heads to the top of the post, convinced that we are not headed for perl in a wahoo. there is diamond head now. we felt mighty sorry for those
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boys, but there was not anything we could do about it. it was an old story to sam. today diamond head is only a point on a chart to him. our business takes us westward. we happened to be battling the breeze. here we have a iron mascots and some of them do not even have names. this ship is named for the hometown of mark twain. and we have a whole set of books that they gave us. one of them has got to be tom sawyer, one of them says.
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huckleberry finn? where all the christenings take place. what is it that makes american guys give these names to planes, tanks, trucks, even railroad engines? suddenly brought up a serious problem. somebody else yelled, hannah bella.
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the ocean was getting to look a little different to us. so far it had been all smooth sailing. this cannot last much longer. low on the horizon, we pick it up on the pacific a toll. one of those island paradises that they made how on earth for our marines. it is a normal, circular chain of islands, part of an extinct volcano 30 miles across. inside it hits the deep laguna bluewater, protected from the open sea. as we rounded the point we saw ships of every size, type, and shape. warships and merchant vessels as far as you can see.
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this is over there the carrier sager -- carrier saratoga. seagoing workhorses with long gray tankers with transports and cargo ships. landing craft and patrol boats. pretty soon the harbor boat comes hustling up from the port director.
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now, here we were, two thirds of the way across the pacific. 5000 miles from san francisco. the real tough going lay ahead of us. now is the chance to check on our life-saving equipment. check the provisions, the water the first aid equipment and the boat. we had the latest kind of rig. the boats were launched by gravity and placed in high electric power. they took personal charge of this detail, so you could be sure that everything was done right. list during hours in the tropics were spent on lifeboats like these before getting rescued. somehow we had come through. or up, i guess. 5000 of our shipmates in the
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merchant marines were never seen again. yes, we wanted to be sure that we had something to hitch our rides to. life was not so bad. you had to wait for the other vessels that made up the convoy in the meantime we could not keep ourselves out of the clear, bluewater. these lads wasted no time including a little bit of showing off. after all, some of them were athletes in the new their stuff. other island boys were practically born with webbed feet. we waited for the serious work it to come.
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we did not have long to wait. we broke out the laundry in the navy began to around us up for the convoy. aircraft street low overhead. and export vessel began to rouse. it was anchors away for the handle. we were going to make a long, final stretch of our journey in each other's presence. there is one of our sister ships. wherever you look, the whole surface of the lagoon was busy with ships getting ready to leave.
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working the big blinkers that we all carried, this was the way that we talked to each other out here. there were tight orders not to break radio silence. we had to keep our exact distance within the pattern in the convoy. along with us were 10 big tankers containing high octane gasoline. this was a great test of strength. our ability to keep the sea lanes open for a steady flow of fuel lasting the home islands of the japanese into rubble. we were mighty proud of our merchant marines to realize that the airpower in the pacific was directly reliant upon us. now the whole battle zone late ahead. the word got around.
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the philippines, that is where we were pretty sure we were headed. we realized we were in indian territory right now and like our forefathers and coven were -- covered wagon days, we had to keep our eyes peeled and our powder dry. the tropical nights were beautiful and dangerous. we were blacked out like the inside of a cannon. one dawn we made landfall. the japanese defenses had broken during the landing. we change breaker signals.
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the jets were lying dead on the bottom against our, khasi ships while soldiers went on to the beachhead. we were not going to stay here long. the word was passed. we were headed for the gulf, where they needed the railroad to connect with manella. this time warships were joining us. couple of big navy transports like this fellow. only a few weeks before this was what -- was where one of the great battles of history took place. the carriers from our third and seventh fleet. workouts reposted, but the japs were still held up in these islands, even if we had them on the defensive. and we had air cover, too.
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we all carry valuable cargo. but what about that big sea ship on the starboard? 2000 american gis aboard. behind us in the column, the ist's. flashing warning someone picked up unidentified signals off the detector. lookouts strained the eyes there between the trooper and the lst, was that the order?
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[bell] we were a juicy target, this convoy. the subs were an even greater danger. they wanted bad to plant one of their japs flags on us. our experts are laying down a pattern of charges.
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from down here you can feel the concussion from the ash cans going on around us. maybe they had located. we think that we got that one but there may be others that we cannot stop find out.
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this is an ideal time for attack. below the surface another sub maybe laying in the gap. and then the plane street to the north. suddenly the signal led from
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ship to ship. all clear? all clear. the alert is over and it is a welcome rest for our deserved, strained crew, a cup of job a and a quick rest before they go on watch. except for weedie, this is his first attack. we have come through on top. the china seas belong to us now and all the carriers on the shore of a jet -- shore of asia. we have the feeling of power now. seapower in the pacific. keep pouring in the flood of american production. 10,000 ton cargo ships.
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rocking the sons of heaven back on their heels. we have reached our destination. the destroyer is throwing a salvo at the enemy. japs this is the gulf where the first and -- this is the gulf where the japs first invaded and 41. the lads are wasting no time.
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the enemy is shelling. here comes the landing trend they will take the smaller stuff to shore. we need something bigger to handle the railroad yard on our next. these fellows can handle the k rations. but this baby can take 70 tons. cast it off, jack, the harbor is hot and we don't want to get caught with this stuff on our decks. here's the answer. and lct, landing craft tank, ferrying us to shore, a neat trick if they can swing it. now the lieutenant charges showing them how to corral it. here is a rigor from texas.
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and then she moves. for the first time in a month now the rolling stock is put loose.
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the locomotives leave us, but they do not get away in secret. we all turned out to watch them go. getting the tenders off came next. plenty of room to spare on either side. despite the fact that the gulf was getting rougher, the word was passed to hurry up the job with faster supplies on the road
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to manila. we work to later in the day take chances that we usually would not, to get the rolling stock ashore. we worked until darkness caught up with us. with japs all around us, the lookouts were posted but the night was inky black. they had caught us flat-footed. a single solitary bomber driving low with one bomb for ammunition on the shore. we felt like crying watching the sweat and labor of the thousands back home going up in the smoke and flames, not to mention the
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guys on the ammo ships who risked their lives to get it here, all in one night's fireworks. the anchorage. by the time that the lct had moved to the top, the shore had taken real beating. the army had rigged up a dock to lay rails on it and take the engines. only one last job now. then the transfer would he complete. the railroad would be ready to run. you could not help but wonder how mark twain would have told the story.
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as tom sawyer, huckleberry finn and the others finally got their wheels on terra firma. railroad engines with names that many of us would worry about for years to come. touchdown. our ready to run engines will get one more lift before going under their own steam. working on land and water. locomotives are on solid ground once again.
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it is a strange setting to find our engines in. they will carry the war goods first, and we know they will mean a lot to the rebuilding of the philippines, helping our friends get on their feet again. maybe she will have a better world to live in. right now, like the kids everywhere in this war, it is our go. now we have got news. we are told that manila bay is open, taking the rest of the cargo to manila, where they set up a shop to put them together. always around the south china sea and to the harbor.
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proud and sorrowful memories. we see they have begun throughout route other ships in already. since the docs of manila have crashed, the hook was offshore and we have unloaded our cargo. it is almost the end of the journey and we all heard what happened, so those of us who can leave the ship and climb aboard to head for the shore. for some of us this was the first time that we would be seeing the destruction left by modern warfare. first, the japs direct the
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waterfront then we had to blast them out when we came back. it will be many years before the scars are healed. our wheels are coming a shower -- ashore. the filipino stevedores get busy , setting on the tracks. here is a filipino tom sawyer to help. our railroad men check the bearings and look over the blueprints. then they get busy.
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the engines will soon be done. this is where the wheel belongs on a rail ready to roll. in the meantime the chief mate is taking a look at what used to be a familiar street scene. manila was once a peaceful prosperous city.
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some others from the victory are sure to. but this is the worst. they don't take kindly to seeing something like this. now comes the job of putting on the couplings. next the frames are lowered onto the trucks and used as flat cars on the chassis. the job is nearly done.


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