I was the Coast Guard radio telegrapher on that vessel during the voyages from Guam to Yap/return to haul emulsified asphalt to resurface the Japanese built dirt fighter strip on Yap. I might not recall all things concerning the YO-257 but I do recall much.
There is no such thing as a 60 caliber machine gun to the best of my knowledge...I think what was probably mounted in the gun tub was either a single 40 mm cannon, or possibly a 20 mm cannon (most likely) or maybe twin 50 caliber machine guns.
I do recall a CG HU-16 coming out from Guam to ‘check on us’ but I don’t recall it happening every day. We were big boys with a compass, sextant, air almanac and polaris. I helped with morning and evening star shots. We had a cracker jack quartermaster that did the navigation.
We did rig the gun tub as a shower because we did not have the water aboard to take showers. It was great to go up on deck late in the evening and take a nice. long shower by standing under the shower head we installed in a gun tub scupper. I’m the only crewmember I recall taking a shower on the ship utilizing the rainfall. There might have been others but I don’t recall seeing anyone else. That was in Yap harbor and I stood under the cat walk which had drain holes in it. The rain was so heavy that standing under the drain holes in the cat walk was like taking a shower. I also used that cat walk ‘shower’ to scrub my clothes and rinse them.
The vessel was not used by the CG to haul asphalt to resurface any other Pacific runways unless the navy did that which I would doubt. There was a rumor when we, the CG, had the vessel of using it to refuel our Pacific LORAN stations. Some being Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Yap, Palau, Saipan, Marcus and many more. I would have stayed on that vessel as long as I could if they had done that. As the radio operator my job underway was just about 20 hours a day. I had many duties other than simply being the telegrapher. We had a cook on the ship that was superb. Excellent chow on something you wouldn’t think would be so good. The CO of the vessel during the CG’s tenure has ‘crossed the bar.' I was once contacted by a navy fellow that said he was aboard the YO-257 when they sent it to the Philippines and he remembered reading the logs of our voyages.
Before I was aboard the 257 I was at our base on Guam. It was CG Depot Guam with the office of the Commander Marianas Section and the radio station, where I was assigned. We were located on one side of Apra harbor with the navy station on the other side. I recall seeing the YO-257 anchored out in the harbor well before we ‘borrowed’ it. I assumed it was inactive for quite awhile. During the war we, US forces, had a large anchorage at Ulithi which is about half way from Guam to Yap. I thought maybe it served as a refueling vessel for those ships coming and going from Ulithi.The electronics aboard her were WW2 vintage. As I mentioned my ‘radio shack’ was at the back of the bridge. There were two racks of equipment. One rack contained VHF/.UHF voice FM equipment and the other rack was my high frequency CW gear. I also had a voice transceiver. I mentioned that my work day was just about from 4am to midnight while at sea. The early hour was to assist taking morning star shots. If a ship passed during the night someone on the bridge would come down and wake me to flash light with the ship. As I said it was a great deal of fun.
My radio gear on the YO was at the rear of the pilot house just behind the helmsman. I had a rattan table, typewriter and my speed key (telegraph key). I worked with NRV our radio station on Guam.
One evening coming back from Yap and probably mid way to Guam we went dead in the water. The Japanese had reported an earthquake and that a tsunami had been generated. The seas were running pretty heavy. All hands except me and the helmsman were in the engine room trying to get the main engine back on line. We had lost suction on our fuel line and the engine had quit. I got a telegraph message from our station on Guam that due to the tsunami they were closing the station and heading to higher ground. I had no one to communicate with. I finally found Marcus Loran, on the radio, who had a telegraph station. I told the operator on Marcus that we were in deep s---- and not to lose me. I recall standing in front of the helmsman and us starring at each other.
Being a 21 year old kid and recalling those south sea movies with the huge waves at sea I’d say we were concerned. We didn’t realize at the time that a tsunami at sea is nothing. I think we were both very concerned with being dead in the water with heavy seas approaching...Oh, I didn’t mention we had a typhoon closing in too.
We regained propulsion and were steaming towards Guam at the YO’s super speed of 9 knots. We were taking green water across our well deck continuously. We made our approach on Apra harbor. The opening to Apra harbor isn’t that wide. On one side is Orote point and the other side is the glass breakwater. As we were ‘surfing’ in between those two obstacles the USNS Core was coming out. The Core was what they called a ‘baby flatop’. We passed the Core at the harbor entrance with inches to spare. Our CO had nerves of steel.
O’yeah, I saw some underwater pix of the galley. As you walk out of the galley, on the starboard side, I think you went up a couple of steps. Then a small landing and then you turned right up a few more steps and you were on the main deck. When I would walk out of the galley and reach that landing the motor generator that ran my radio gear was overhead and I would reach up and hit a switch that turned on the radio gear on the bridge.
YO-257 Crew Member Fred Goodwin, LT, USCG Re