Vern Wilcox

Elton V (Vern) Wilcox





In Honor of Elton V (Vern) Wilcox






Elton V. (Vern) Wilcox served honorably in the US Navy Armed Guard Service
during World War II. Vern was well liked by his crew members and his gunnery 
officers. He was also assigned to the boat crews, taking new crews to their
ships at anchor in New York Harbor and bringing the old crews back to the
Armed Guard Center in Brooklyn. Later he was assigned to Guadalcanal in
the South Pacific.

While in the Armed Guard, Vern was assigned to:

SS Gulf Disc
SS William H Wilmer
SS Samoset



Vern Wilcox home on leave


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Brooklyn Armed Guard Center


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Bow shot of a Liberty Ship just like the SS William H Wilmer


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The above is a bow shot of a LIBERTY ship, (over 2,700) were built during WWII. 
He was on one just like this,  the SS WILLIAM H. WILMER. for about 9 months. 
Went up to the Persian Gulf on it.  Also went up to the Persian Gulf when he was
on the SS SAMOSET.  He relates that there only two remaining LIBERTY ships left
now.  One on the East coast and One in the West coast as museum pieces and thinks
they still give rides in the harbor.



Picture of ship of same class as the SS Samoset


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Comment by Vern:

 
You will notice the orders assigning me to the SS Samoset, oil tanker  as shown
by the picture above of the same class of ship.  Our cargo was aviation gasoline
for shipment to England  for the RAF and the 8th Air Forces.  The orders were
cut in December 1943, and crossing the North Atlantic was a tough ride.  With
the zigzag track we had to follow in order to make it harder for German U-boats
to line up on us for a target shoot.  Because of this it took three weeks to get
from New York to England.  In those days we had no RADAR,  (it hadn't been
invented yet)  and lousey SONAR if you could call it that. All we really did
have of any value was a pair of binoculars and salt water eyes. I had to take 2
shots of the orders in order to get it all in. I and the third name on the list
of Armed Guard sailors be assigned to the ship. Note the, "catwalk."  I lived
amidships, and when it was time to eat I had to go aft to the mess decks.  When
the seas were rough, I had to time it just right, then run like hall aft on the
catwalk, so I wouldn't get wet with splashing sea water.  Sometimes I did get
soaked though. I was the second enlisted petty Officer in command of the Gun
Crew.  I was 18 years old.

Vern comments further:
 
Below are the orders assigning me to the SS Samoset, oil tanker  as shown
by the picture above of the same class of ship.  Our cargo was aviation gasoline
for shipment to England  for the RAF and the 8th Air Forces.  The orders were
cut in December 1943, and crossing the North Atlantic was a tough ride.  With
the zigzag track we had to follow in order to make it harder for German U-boats
to line up on us for a target shoot.  Because of this it took three weeks to get
from New York to England.  In those days we had no RADAR,  (it hadn't been
invented yet)  and lousey SONAR if you could call it that. All we really did
have of any value was a pair of binoculars and salt water eyes. I had to take 2
shots of the orders in order to get it all in. I am the third name on the list
of Armed Guard sailors assigned to the ship. Note the, "catwalk."  I lived
amidships, and when it was time to eat I had to go aft to the mess decks.  When
the seas were rough, I had to time it just right, then run like hall aft on the
catwalk, so I wouldn't get wet with splashing sea water.  Sometimes I did get
soaked though. I was the second enlisted petty Officer in command of the Gun
Crew.  I was 18 years old.



Orders assigning Vern to the SS Samoset


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Picture of the SS Samoset


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One side of the Cartwheel Sight Instruction Card


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The other side of the Cartwheel Sight Instruction Card


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Vern Comments:
 
These cards were given to us in order to understand how to effectively shoot
down attacking aircraft.  The 20 MM guns all had open cartwheel sights as did
the 50 cal. machine guns. The 3"/50 gun and the 5"/38 guns had telescopic sights
for surface targets and open cartwheel sights for aircraft targets.  The
cartwheel sights were mounted just over the telescopic sights.  There was no
director fire control at all,  and radar was just coming into play, and it was
mounted on combat Navy ships.  Our fire control techniques was the,MARK I
EYEBALL. as we used to call it.  These cards were initially issued in 1942



Picture of the Armed Guard Center Boat Crews


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Vern Comments:
 
This is a pic of the Boat Crews at the Armed Guard Center in Brooklyn, New York
in early December 1945.  I can be picked out by the pointing arrow.  I was 20
years old at this time.
 
Our job was to bring Gun Crews out to merchant ships at anchor in New York
harbor, to their newly assigned ships and to bring gun crews back from the ships
that they had been serving on., to the Armed Guard Center for leave and further
assignment.
 
Shortly after this pic was taken,  I was assigned to Guadalcanal via Noumea, New
Caledonia in he South Pacific.  Because the German U-boat threat was coming to
an end in 1945,  a lot of Armed Guard personnel  were being assigned to the
Fleet and Advanced Bases,.  mainly to go after Japan at this time.




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