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1957 WestPac Cruise Log Book Entry

19 February. 1957: The steaming watch is set; underway from Pier 5, U.S.Naval Base, San Diego, California for Yokosuka, Japan .

Joined formation with U.S.S George Clymer, Renville, Bayfield, Seminole, Whetstone, Colonial, Balduck, Begor . The men on the decks of the USS Tortuga watched the shores of Point Loma Coronado drop below the misty Pacific horizon. Ahead lay seven months of operation in a part of the world that has mystified the travelers from the Western civilization since the time of Marco Polo. Some of the men aboard the ship had visited the Far East on previous Naval tours; to many, however, it was to be a new experience and one which, judging by the advice of the old timers, would be unforgettable.

From the beginning of the voyage the Tortuga encountered high winds and rough seas in which she took rolls from "38 to 40" degrees. The ship suffered casualties such as split seams and torn away life rafts. Messing became each man's problem; many meals ended up on the deck or in the laps of the crew. For many this was the first cruise and sea sickness was not rare . . .

28 Feb; Tortuga is steaming in merchant convoy formation approaching Hawaii; suddenly "Right Full Rudder" and the ship swings around just in time to avoid an actual "exercise torpedo" fired during a submarine exercise. This training created a realistic situation that went far in making the Tortuga "battle wise."

3 March: crossed the International Date Line (4 March the day that never was)...

Finally, after three weeks of plowing through mountainous seas, the ships were ordered by the Squadron Commodore to build up steam and "run for the shelter of Yokosuka with all possible haste." The three LSD's remained together and steamed up Tokyo Bay .

14 March, 0415; Land Ho . . . 0830; Steaming up Tokyo Bay - all engines ahead full . . . 1548 ; Moored starboard side, Berth 5, Yokosuka Naval Base, Yokosuka Japan. Liberty commences immediately.