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|Ted Majusick and Joe Chartrand, both from the troop transport USS
HUMPHREYS (APD-12), participated in the landings on Los Negros island in the
Admiralty Group that began on February 29, 1944. Both would have contact with
the USS BUSH during the landings. In addition to several
troop transports such as the USS HUMPHREYS, the destroyers also carried Army personnel.
The USS BUSH carried about 70 soldiers that would participate in the landing on Los
USS HUMPHREYS (APD-12)
|Both Ted and Joe were part of the boat crews that helped to land men from the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division. As the landings began, Ted acted as engineer and port machine gunner on the APD-12's Boat #3 and Joe was the bowhook and a machine gunner on Boat #2.|
Just prior to the landings, Joe had switched places with another man (Albert Pinto) so that he could ride in Boat #2 with his good friend Walter Bretz. Albert took Joe's spot in a different boat and was killed during the landings. Just as Boat #2 was about to land, a sniper shot Joe in the chest. Recalls Joe, "A Japanese sniper fired from the trees and struck me in the chest. I was losing blood, but managed to get the ramp lowered so the 1st Cavalry could hit the beach, then passed out."
Boat #2's orders were to head for the USS BUSH after the initial landing and pick up any soldiers that may still be aboard her. Joe reports, "I was transferred to the BUSH for care, and came to about the time I was placed in a bunk aboard ship. I was concious and aware of all that was happening to me after that. There I was treated by an excellent doctor named Johnson." (EDITOR's NOTE - That would be Lt. George Johnson, the USS BUSH Medical Officer.)
|Joe was the first casualty treated by the Medical team aboard ship. The
BUSH deck log for February 29, 1944 reads, "0834-Took aboard wounded crewman
Chartrand, J. C., 610-21-23, Slc, USNR, gunshot wound in upper left chest."
When wounded, Joe was 17 years old, his mother having signed for him so that he could join the Navy. Because Joe had switched places with Albert Pinto, and due to the nature of Pinto's injuries, Joe was mistakenly identified as killed during the landings instead of Pinto. Notes Joe, "My mother received a telegram telling her that I had been killed in action on February 29, 1944, but figured out there must be an error when she received a letter from me dated March 5, 1944."
Ted Majusick shares the following recollections about his initial trip to Los Negros in Boat #3 from the USS HUMPHREYS. States Ted, "That morning arrived gray and rainy with heavy swells .... In addition to 36 troops we had a quantity of ammunition, 30 caliber, carbine, hand grenades and a small field gun. The swells gave us a heck of a ride. First higher than the ship, and then almost under the ship. Made loading troops a hairy business.
On one such bounce the boat banged against the side and dislodged my 30 cal. air-cooled machine gun, and it ended up in Davey Jone's locker. We hit the beach in the second wave, shells flying over, some crashing all about our frail craft. At one point I giggled because my being there seemed so insane. My mother had sent me a box of Oreo cookies which I passed out the G.I.'s and the rest of my crew. There we were eating cookies, while all hell was breaking loose around us. I didn't think there was any advantage to save them for another time."
|Once at the beach, Ted was transferred to Boat #4 and beach duty,
while Boat #3 was slated to remain at the landing site transferring wounded
and running other errands. After spending the night on Los Negros, Ted and
Boat #4 helped transfer wounded soldiers for medical treatment to the
Ted recalls that after one run, Boat #3 took a shell, killing several G.I's and wounding the sailor that had taken Ted's place. Notes Ted, "Around noon we evacuated some wounded G.I.s to the the destroyer BUSH which was patrolling off shore. It was chow time and the crew invited us to lunch. They took us to the head of the line and treated us like heros. I gave them some battlefield souveniers, Jap ammo and such. We grabbed a quick lunch because the ship couldn't stay in one position too long .. We had brought the real heros as I discovered when I looked down on the deck of our boat. It was red with blood and not from our crew. I washed the decks with pails of sea water and the bilge pump dumped the gore overboard. We repeated the process twice."
The USS BUSH deck log for D-Day +1 (March 1, 1944) indicates that wounded Army personnel were delivered to the ship at 1029 hours (5 soldiers), 1227 hours (3 soldiers), and 1617 hours (2 soldiers).
That's Ted on the phone, next to the spot where the starboard machine gun would be placed.
|Ted spent a second sleepless night with the Army on Los Negros.
After finally falling asleep in some shade, he awoke as LST's were arriving with
more troops and supplies. But his Boat and the USS HUMPHREYS had departed. It
would take a couple of weeks for him to catch up
to his ship.
Both Ted and Joe received Bronze Stars for their actions at Los Negros.
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