An excerpt from “The Life Story of a lucky Tennessee Sailor that Lived to Retire” by Abb R. Truett:
This entry may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. These transcriptions are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.
November, 1940, as we came up from the south to New York on a Standard Oil tanker, I was called by the Navy for active duty. The Navy dispatched me to the U.S.S. Santee at Baltimore as a Commissioned Officer. The U.S.S. Santee at that time was on oil tanker rigged for fueling ships at sea.
My first assignment aboard the Santee was First Lieutenant and loading officer. A few days after I arrived aboard, we set sail for the West Coast through the Panama Canal. When we arrived on the Pacific coast at Los Angeles harbor, we did a few practice drills loading ships at sea. Then, sometime in April, we sailed for Pearl Harbor and in May, 1941, the U.S.S. Santee was getting in shape to convert into a light aircraft carrier. I was transferred to the U.S.S. Cuyama, another oil tanker that also fueled ships at sea.
U.S.S. Cuyama Offitcers
P. R. Coloney- Commanding Officer
V. F. Rathbun -Executive Officer
W. F. Huckaby – Navigator Officer
D. D. Lett-A.A. Battery Officer
E. M. Tellefson- Communication Officer
C. W. Lowith – Engineer Officer
R. G. Brown – Gunnery Officer
P. A. Bane -First Lieutenant
A. R. Truett – First Division Officer
F. E. Mullins – A.A. Battery Officer
J. J. Reidy -Second Division Officer
I. R. Strickland -Asst. Engineer Officer
J. W. Root- Medical Officer
B. A. Chandler-Supply & Disbursing Officer
R. F. Hitchcock -Asst. Supply Officer
The U.S.s.Cuyama loaded cargo of diesel oil and fuel oil in San Francisco Bay for Pearl Harbor. We also went to some of the South Pacific Islands lohninson Is., Palmyro Is. Wake Is., and Midway Is.. We met Lieutenant Colonel James P. Devereux, Commander of the Marines who later made the heroic stand against the Japs for sixteen days before he and his Marines surrendered. We were back in Los Angeles Harbor sometime in the late summer of 1941.