September 15, 1945.
Yipee! The ships that came for us were in the harbor! The Fourth Division Marines are the ones who came and picked us up. Was I happy? I should say so. Who wouldn’t be after all these years of war and waiting?
The officer in charge was Commander Simpson of the Navy. He said, ‘Men, you are the last ones for us to pick up, and we have been working hard, so get ready and let’s go aboard.’ He didn’t have to tell us but once!
As we went aboard we were told to pull off all our clothes and throw them overboard. Then we went through a decontamination process – a spray mist of some form of medication. We then showered and were given a new issue of underwear, a new suit of khaki and a sailor hat.
We went through an interrogation process – were asked a lot of questions about prison life and were asked to write out statements in regard to the treatment of the prisoners in our camp. I did this and turned it over to the Navy Intelligence Officer. After boarding the U.U.S. [sic] Rescue, a Navy hospital ship, we had our first meal under Old Glory. It wasn’t a big meal, but consisted of honest to goodness good vegetable soup, bread and butter, and coffee and sugar. The bread tasted as good as cake, and I must have eaten at least a half pound of butter. It sure looked good to see FREE men and women, and when I speak of women, I refer to the nurses. They were white, wore clothes and had shoes on their feet. They also wore lipstick and rouge. The sicker men were kept aboard the Rescue ship, but I then went aboard the A.P.D. Wantuck, a Navy landing ship. We had supper and afterwards I saw the first movie I had seen in over three and one-half years. The title was ‘Stage Door Canteen,’ and I enjoyed every minute of it.