During my service on the USS LCI(G)373, I experienced a friendship with some of my shipmates that is going to last a lifetime. During my stay, I was honored to receive five battle stars, and with the Blessing Of Our Lord, made it home to my loving family.
Abert D. DiVincenzo MoMM3/c
Ordered to active duty 28 April 1944—-Discharged 12 January 1946, Amphibious Pacific Fleet Flotilla Three, Served on the Landing Craft Infantry LCI(G) 373. The flotilla command of 36 LCIs and at times were under different commanders during World War II.
31 August 1944 Ships company LCI(G) 373, Walpio Amphibious Operation Base Pearl Harbor.
The LCI’s were the smallest ship the Navy had that did not produce fresh water and went to sea under it’s own power. At sea all the faucets were removed, and the crew was rationed a half-bucket of fresh water every other day for bathing. Leaving Pearl Harbor 11 September 1944, qualified as a member of the Realm of the Golden Dragon 18 September 1944. Also became a Shellback (covered with green paint) crossing the Equator on Mission of War 1 October 1944.
20 October 1944, prior to the initial invasion of Leyte Gulf Phillippines all the faucets were installed, orders to shower, fully dressed, long sleeved shirts, clean dungarees, and steak was served for breakfast. Shipmate, Harold Lavine in the chow line. (I don’t feel like eating this morning.) Lavine, I am just as scared as you are, but if you’re not going to eat your steak, I will, mission accomplished.
055 Manned Battle Station, 0933 commenced firing #1, 4, and 5 40mm guns. At 0950 we fired our Rockets. Casualties: Darby, W. H. Gm3/c burned right hand handling hot 40mm shells, Dozier, V. G. S2/c suffered flack burn around right eye caused by Rocket fire, Erno, W. R. S1/c burned right hand caused by handling hot 40mm shells. Left, Leyte Gulf 25 October 1944, heading for Hollandia, New Guinea.
Okinawa. We arrived at Okinawa 24 March 1945 we almost froze even though the temperature was in the 70’s. At General Quarters we wore fur lined jackets and pants, a mask over our face and gloves to keep warm. Regular duty in the engine room, we were fully clothed, long sleeves shirt dungarees socks and shoes. Prior to Okinawa at our regular watch in the engine room, we wore cut-off dungarees and wooden sandals.
27 March 1945. We participated in the initial invasion of Kuba Shima, Kerama Retto, again firing our 50mm and 20mm guns at targets on the beach, then firing our Rockets prior to the first wave of our troops. Then commenced patrolling along the beach. The island was secured on 29 March 1945, and became the Navy’s repair base and functioned as an anchorage during the assault on the main Island of Okinawa. At Kerama Retto we observed many of our ship’s that were hit by kamikaze plane’s and had to be towed in or came limping under their own power badly damaged. It also became known (tragically as the grave yards of ships) due to the many ships that were hit by Kamikaze planes. The dogfights that we witnessed were very real.
28-31 March 1945. Our ship and others gave fire support, with our 40mm guns firing over the heads to cover the activity and reduce enemy fire on the (UDT) Underwater Demolition Team swimmers. Also on the 31 March at Yellow Beach Land Blue Beach 1 and 11 at Okinawa, we were ordered to do range spotting for DD 590.
Carl Divens. Again I was asked to give a haircut and shave his head. I told him the same thing I told Fox, but he did not believe me. Not knowing better, I cut his hair and shaved his head against the grain so to speak, and he had a sore head for over a week. No one ever asked me for a haircut after that.
Home. Caught the Salt Lake City in Guam 19 December 1945, arrived at Treasure Island 31 December 1945, back to Bainbridge Separation Center Baltimore Maryland, and received an HONORABLE DISCHARGE 12 JANUARY 1945, right where it started from. I thank God for bringing me home safe and sound, and I also thank God for our late President Harry S Truman.
Albert D. DiVincenzo
Dearborn, Michigan 48124-253 I