I spend the third night in Jack’s boat because I had to send mine back to the ship for repairs and couldn’t find it when it returned because of the darkness. I got a little shelter by lying under a small bow deck but my feet stuck out in the rain and I had nothing to put over me so I didn’t sleep to heartily. The next night (D-3), we had the wonderful pleasure of getting back aboard the ship and getting a hot shower.
We’d not been able to wash, of course, since we left the ship on D-day so you can imagine how that hot shower felt! After cleaning up we went to sick bay where we got a lovely big drink of brandy and a nice pill to make us sleep. We had a good dinner and fell into our bunks in a state of sheer ecstasy and exhaustion. When I think of what the Marines had to put up with on Iwo Jima I’m almost ashamed to write about my own fatigue. It took them just about a month to finish their job and during that time what they experienced can’t be grasped by people who weren’t actually there with them.
The next morning the transports returned to the island early and Jack and I were about our salvage business again. That night there was an air raid and a terrific AA. barrage. Every surface craft in sight was banging away with all it had and the color pattern from the tracers in the sky was beautiful. The beauty of the sight was suddenly destroyed by my realization that a great deal of the fire was converging directly overhead and that we’d be in a shower of steel if we didn’t get out from under. We scrammed in a hurry and ran up the beach in a northerly direction about a mile and watched the rest of the show from there. It’s a good thing we did because a number of casualties resulted from our own AA. fire. Everything that goes up has got to come down somewhere and not all the shells explode in the air.