Milne Bay New Guinea: (Photo provided by Harry T Wildman)
This photo is dated December 10, 1942. It also says Milne Bay. In the background are the mountains of the Owen Stanley Range. They are off the coast of Papua.
At this time, the Japanese were in possession of the other side of the peninsula and they bombed the US forces on a daily basis. The American P38’s were waiting for them on a daily basis.
Here she is again, coming to rest New York City. Before she was USS West Point she was known as the SS United States.
Before World War II she was an ocean liner. Today we know them as cruise ships. When World War II broke out she sailed to the shipyard at Newport News. She was converted into a troopship. In fact she became our country’s largest.
The luxury liner was originally designed for over a thousand passengers but as a troopship she would carry over 8,000 troops at a time. The ballroom was set up to sleep 545 men. The bunks were stacked five high and left 16 inches between bunks.
By 1946 the West Point made 151 trips and transported over 500,000 passengers.
After all those nautical miles and dangerous waters she survived unscathed. In 1946 she was returned to the United States Lines and became a ocean liner once more.
This is a list of passengers assigned to the USS West Point, sailing from San Francisco to destination unknown. You can see it stated January 11, 1944. The last name visible says Olivas, Frank. My brother. He was sent to somewhere in the Pacific. He wasn’t allowed to say where he was exactly. However we have his letters that were mailed from the Solomon Islands.
Here he is back in Oxnard, Ca. He survived the war and returned home safely. He fell in love, married, had a child. He was well on his way to living a good life until a car accident took him away in 1953.