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 CONFIDENTIAL  June 20, 1942



FROM: Ens. C. R. Faunt, USNR
Communication Liason Officer, USAT "PRESIDENT FILLMORE"
TO: Port Director, San Francisco, California
SUBJECT: Report and recommendations on Voyage USAT "PRESIDENT FILLMORE"

1.  PRESIDENT FILLMORE sailed from San Francisco to Seatte unescorted. Trip was uneventful.

2.  Ship loaded at Seattle with U.S. Army troops and equipment, and sailed for Dutch Harbor May 28, escorted by USS KING. A continuous visual watch maintained contact for the entire trip. This leg was also uneventful.

3.  Upon arrival off Dutch Harbor the evening of June 2, KING dropped astern and ordered PRESIDENT FILLMORE to proceed while destroyer patrolled offshore. Shore station challenged "INT." The ship replied with correct recognition signals and started to proceed into port. Shore station and USS KING were both signalling. Could not read signals from shore station and assumed it to be signalling to the destroyer. Two or three shells from 155mm. gun were fired and landed near the ship. The ship stopped immediately. It was later learned that the shore battery was ordered to miss the ship by 200 yards. Shortly afterwards, a patrol plane from the Naval Air Station appeared, circled the ship and then gave orders to proceed. Evidently, both ship and shore station failed to understand signals of each other. Upon arrival at dock, the ship was met by the Army Post band. We were told the ship was expected. Evidentlly, this ship was fired upon because of the tension aroused by the knowledge of the impending attack on Dutch Harbor.

4. Ship was in Dutch Harbor during the air raids of June 3 and 4. After discharging cargo, the ship left for Seattle via Cold Bay and Kodiak, unescorted throughout.

5. The communication unit consisted of one officer, one radioman 1/c, one radioman 3/c, and two seaman Signal Strikers. Signalmen had very little experience and were not really qualified for the duty. It is recommended that each ship be given at least one qualified rated signalman, if it is at all possible. On the trip from Seattle to Dutch Harbor two aircraft radiomen, on board as passengers, were pressed into service on visual watch.

6. Vessel had adequate yardarm, truck and triatic-stay halyards for flag hoists and sufficient sests of international code flags. Most halyards were renewed by the communication unit during the voyage. Ship was equipped with one portable shutter-type Navy signal searchlight but no spare parts, and not an adequate supply of bulbs. Mechanical failure of this light forced the vessel



to depend on a homemade affair equipped with a key. This light is a very poor substitute, lacking in power, and transmission must be very slow because of afterglow. Recommend that each vessel be equipped with two shutter-type signal searchlights or one with an adequate kit of spare parts. Navy issue Multi-Purpose Signal Light is of little or no value for daytime signalling because of its low power.

7. Continuous radio watch was maintained on 500kcs. during entire trip, and all BAMS schedules were observed after they became effective. Special commendation should be given ship's commercial radio operator for his wholehearted cooperation. From Seattle to Dutch Harbor the Army schedule from WVD on 152 and 8510 kcs. at 0400 and 0900 GCT were observed as ordered by ATS, Seattle. No signals of any kind were heard. It is suggested that watch on these Army schedules be discontinued and traffic be handled on BAMS schedule or through Navy stations via escort.

8. Radioman 3/c, McKim, has had very little experience and is not qualified to stand a watch, although he appears to be making an effort to learn.

9. Radio equipment consists of three transceivers, two with continuous band from 15-650 kcs., and one with continuous band from 4000-23000 kcs.; two transmitters, one covering 375-500 and 5515-16500 kcs.; and one emergency transmitter, 300-500 kcs. All radio equipment should be given a thorough check and calibration.

10. Use of Navy passengers as described in par. 5 above made possible a continuous visual watch en route to Dutch Harbor. However, each port required the ship to maintain a continuous visual as well as radio watch in port. Therefore, it is requested that three signalmen be given each ship on this run as it becomes very difficult after an extended period to keep an alert watch with only two men.

11. No adequate stowage for CSP's is provided. ATS, Seattle, had carpenter ship build a wooden strong box fitted with hasp for padlock. This was placed in the communication officer's quarters and was the only available stowage during the trip.

Respectfully submitted,

Ens., USNR

National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Branch
Record Group 181, Commandant's Office, Central Subject Files, 1942-43.

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

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