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"Coming Home"
Submitted by Bill Bradfield

I had left EURYALE in Sasebo on November 6, 1945, and transferred to USS ANDROMEDA (AKA 15) for the ride home. As senior petty officer (in points) of a group of about 20 from EURYALE, I was given the papers to carry to Andromeda. Jammed aboard were several hundred home bound guys from many ships.

I put my seabag down on the deck and went below to the tank deck, where temporary bunks hung from the overhead in groups of 4 or 6, depending on the space available. There was a "head" forward, fed with seawater at the bow end, which drained "downhill" in a trough to the back of the head, and then exited God knows where. The opportunity to take this interesting voyage in that pit was not particularly appealing.

Retrieving my seabag, I went up to the bridge, where I found the Radio Shack and a young Ensign, and coyly inquired as to the number of Radio Operators he had aboard. He said "ONE". I said, "Could you use a vastly skilled supervisor-operator with several years experince?" He bit. I then set the hook. "I will work my way home for Andromeda, if you get me out of the pit and allow me to stay topside in Ship's Company quarters." He was thrilled (the ship was running on about 60% complement) and we struck the deal.

I moved into the ritzy quarters and worked my way home, standing 8 on and 8 off, sleeping on a real mattress, with all the fresh water I could reasonably use. Although I made the offer, none of my EURYALE radio-gang shipmates volunteered to join me. There were some inquiries about six days out, but by then I was wearying of the 8/8 routine and, being just a little peeved, was unable to hear them.

Two incidents marked the journey. One day I detected the unmistakable aroma of vino, on the bridge, no less.The Officer of the Deck, whose nose probably contained a direction finder, traced the delicious wind to a water keg on a life raft. Yes, some one was making raisin wine in it. It was confiscated with the comment "D..m that J....he was one quartermaster who knew all the angles." The assumed culprit had left the ship before I came aboard.

Of more depressing interest was a message that I copied about 3 days away from our destination, San Francisco. "YOU ARE DIVERTED" it San Francisco for us, but go instead to Seattle. This added a day to our journey...that day was Thanksgiving Day, 1945. The Commissary Officer worked miracles, however, with a handful of frozen turkeys and many boxes of saltines. Turkey Soup!! (Talk about the loaves and fishes!)

We spent the day steaming up the West Coast, Mt. Hood in sight. Saw a lot of tears that day, after two years away, including a few of my own. Moored out at about 5 o'clock. Home (sort of) at last!

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