Background The landing and occupation of the Yokosuka Peninsula was assigned to the 4th Reinforced Combat Regiment of the 6th Division of Marines under Brigadier General Clement, USMC. The British Navy was represented by a battalion of Royal Navy Tars and a battalion of Royal Marine Commandos. The US Navy was represented by the Third Fleet Landing Force consisting of two battalions of Third Fleet sailors and a Service Battalion. All were under the command of the Marine General. The goal of the 30 August 1945 landing and occupation was to secure the Yokosuka Naval Base and Peninsula prior to the projected peace signing on 02 September 1945. The naval base and peninsula is located in the inner Tokyo Bay just short of Yokohama and Tokyo proper and was the headquarters of their First Naval District.
Indiana GroupOn 19 & 20 August 1945 selected personnel of the Indiana became part of the Third Fleet Naval Landing Force. The Indiana group included 238 sailors and 76 marines from the complement of the Indiana. On 19 August 1945 76 marines and 4 sailors were transferred at sea to USS Garrard (APA-84) for temporary duty in Able Company, 1st Battalion Marine Landing Force. On 20 August 1945 234 sailors were transferred at sea by breechs buoy to the USS Wantuck (APD-125) for temporary duty with the Third Fleet Naval Landing Force part of Task Force 31. The Indiana group was then transferred to USS Monitor (LSV-05) on August 21st. On the Monitor they were joined by similar landing groups from the battleships Missouri (BB-63), Wisconsin (BB-64), Massachusetts (BB-59, and Alabama (BB-60) making a total of 1,000 officers and enlisted on the Monitor.
Landing groups from nine aircraft carriers, three battleships , two cruisers, and six destroyers from the Third Fleet were similarly formed. The latter were transferred to the USS Ozark (LSV-02). The 2,000 man naval landing force was then transported onto the beach via the Monitor's and Ozark's landing craft at Yokosuka Navy Base on August 30th. The official treaty ceremony accepting Japanese surrender was smoothly concluded aboard the USS Missouri BB-63 on September 02.
Return The BB-58 group of the Third Fleet Naval Landing Force, part of Task Force 31 returned aboard ship on September 05. In reality this return was accomplished via climbing a cargo net thrown over the side at the quarterdeck where all returning personnel stripped fully down and were subjected to an on the spot de-lousing treatment courtesy of H division.
The USS Indiana marines returned to the ship on the following day, 06 September 1945 and received the same treatment from H Division.
Cleaning Equipment, Taken USS Indiana, August 1945
Getting ready, Taken USS Indiana August 1945
Sailors receiving small arms instruction, Taken USS Indiana August 1945
Marines rolling their packs, Taken USS Indiana August 1945
George C. Williams getting ready, Taken USS Indiana August 1945
Briefing the marines, Taken USS Indiana August 1945
Attention, Taken USS Indiana 19 August 1945
Transferring marines from BB-58 to APA-84 "A", Taken USS Indiana 19 August 1945
Transferring marines from BB-58 to APA-84 "B", Taken USS Indiana 19 August 1945
Transferring marines from BB-58 to APA-84 "C", Taken USS Indiana 19 August 1945
Transferring sailor from BB-58 to APD-125 "A", Taken USS Indiana 20 August 1945
Transferring sailor from BB-58 to APD-125 "B", Taken USS Indiana 20 August 1945
Transferring sailor from BB-58 to APD-125 "C", Taken USS Indiana 20 August 1945
Memorandum for the members of the Third Fleet Naval Landing Force. 28 August 1945
Map used by members of the Third Fleet Naval Landing Force for initial landing at Yokosuka Naval Base. 30 August 1945
Certificate awarded to every member of Third Fleet Naval Landing Force, Task Force 31. 30 August 1945
The first ship borne forces to set foot in Japan were underwater demolition team members who landed on 28 August 1945 to check prospective Tokyo Bay landing beaches and ensure that fortifications were neutralized. Lieutenant Commander Edward Porter Clayton, USN, (center, back to camera) Commanding Officer of Underwater Demolition Team 21, receiving the first sword surrendered to an American force in the Japanese Home Islands. The surrender was made by a Japanese Army Coast Artillery Major (standing opposite Lt Cmdr. Clayton) at Futtsu-misaki, across Tokyo Bay from Yokosuka Navy Base on 28 August 1945. Members of UDT-21 had landed from USS Begor (APD-127), whose boats are beached in this view. NH#71599
In the early morning of 30 August, Marines and a sailor landing party came ashore to occupy the Yokosuka Naval Base and other nearby positions. Subsequent landings took place at Yokohama, closer to Tokyo, as the occupation forces built up their strength. Marines go ashore for initial occupation of Japanese facilities, probably near Yokosuka, circa 30 August 1945. Taken by a USS Iowa (BB-61) photographer. NARA#80-G-490432
Marines of the 4th Regiment, 6th Division, come ashore at Yokosuka during initial landings in the Tokyo Bay area, 30 August 1945. They are in full battle gear in preparation for any treachery from the Japanese. Their LCVP is from USS Waukesha (AKA-84), and they appear to be pulling a 75mm pack howitzer. In the distance are the Japanese battleship Nagato (in the center) and Yokosuka dockyard facilities (at right). NARA#80-G-421128
Raising the United States flag at Yokosuka, 30 August 1945, as U.S. Marines and sailors took over the facility. Brigadier General William T. Clement, USMC, presided over the ceremony. In this view, the flag is at the bottom of the mast, ready to be hoisted. NARA#80-G-338244
Yokosuka Landing Force
It was early August, 1945, and as a crew member and Signalman 3/c on board USS Indiana BB58 I was standing watch on bridge when Murl Lucas, Chief Signalman, came up to me and said, "Vicarelli, report to the fantail and see the Sergeant in charge of the marine detachment. You are now transferred to the USS Indiana's marine detachment for infantry training." (I found out later that I was part of the 4th Reinforced Combat Regiment of the 6th Marine Division.) I said, "Are you kidding?" and he replied, "You will take an aldis lamp and be the liaison between the beach and ship, this will be for the initial landing on Japan."
The marine supply sergeant gave me a helmet, cartridge belt, leggings, canteen, a new pair of high shoes and an Enfield rifle full of cozmoline. We took the 30 caliber machine guns off the OS2U kingfishers (seaplanes), had tripods made for them and practiced firing off the fantail.
Within a few days I was transferred by breaches buoy to a destroyer (numerous pictures were taken and one taken on the breaches buoys is in our 1945 cruise book). If I remember correctly, the destroyer transferred us to a LSV where we were put in the charge of a marine corporal who had us break down our rifles and put them back together at least 20 times. I spent most ofthe evening doing this -- I think I can still do it! Lectures were given during the course of the day as to our duties when we landed on the beach. Maps, diagrams, and ammo were handed out and we filled our canteens. I believe it was early morning on August 28, 1945, that we went over the side and down the nets to our landing craft.
Other landing craft were forming up in a circular pattern; I landed at the rear of the landing craft but before long I was slowly pushed to the front 'til I was right up against the landing ramp. Some of the craft and crews went on to board the IJN ship Nagato, a Japanese battleship, but we proceeded to the beach. I realized later that all the older guys and married guys pushed little guys like me up to the front of the landing craft.
We hit the beach in the early hours of the morning. The ramp dropped down and, with my rifle at the ready, carrying the aldis lamp, ammo and canteen, I jumped into the water, and ran up the beach approximately 75 feet. There stood a group of Japanese admirals and officials in uniform. Our officer in charge, I believe, was Major Bruno Andruska. The Major and the interpreters talked for a while; what was interpreted and discussed, I don't know.
We were offered sleeping accommodations in an abandoned military barracks which our officers declined. After considerable time, we sent in our demolition team to the barracks to cut all electric wiring, and to crawl in the crawl space under the barracks to search for booby traps. The barracks had hammocks on two sides. It was an extremely hot day and no water or food supplies had arrived. The rations we had were running out, and we were told not to drink any of the water from any place nor to eat the vegetables, as the tomatoes were grown from human waste.
We stood watches, the night winds were very eerie, the rats were the size of squirrels and the tin sheds, demolished from bombing, rattled constantly. My parther all through the period I was there was Theodore Styrzo from Syracuse, NY, 2nd Division (Teddy is deceased now but most of this can be verified by his wife or son).
Part of the agreement with the Japanese was that they had to put a white flag at every gun emplacement prior to our landing. So, early morning our orders were to go to wherever there was a white flag on the side of the mountains and we were to damage or dismantle the gun so it could not be used.
We split up, as we were told by our leader, and were given a section to cover. There were so many flags that it would take weeks to do them all. The very first flag we went to was approximately 300 feet up on the side of a mountain. We made our way through the brush to the flag. I was very nervous as was Teddy. There was a small hole at the top with a ladder going down about fifteen steps; I went first and Teddy followed me down the ladder. I jumped the last three steps onto a woven rattan bamboo mat; there were children's wood toys on the floor, sleeping mats, a small table and chairs. The room was carved into the mountain; you went right from the room to the outside.
There was a 3" gun or a 4" gun emplacement (I'm not sure) with approximately an 8-foot ring of shells on the outside. It appeared a family lived there and their duty was to use this gun in the event of an invasion by us. We damaged the breech by jamming the barrel so the breech would not close properly. The room or cave-like structure was very neat and there were tomatoes growing on the hill outside. We followed a path down the side of the mountain to a huge cave; there wasn't a soul around, just the two of us. We weren't sure we wanted to go in because it was dark and deep so we only went in as far as we could see. We looked in, rifles ready, not a soul around.
On the right side going in there was a row of machine lathes all along the wall for a hundred feet or so, and two movie projectors. On the left side was a row of double bunks for approximately 100 feet. At the rear there were 20-30 wooden cases and we managed to pry the cover off one to find cans of Japanese crabmeat. Ted asked if we should try eating some; I said no that we should instead take a few cans back to our quarters which by now was a few miles away. I remembered that there were two chickens by the barracks. We decided to give some to them and, if nothing happened, we'd come back and get more. On the way out I told Teddy that my bunk on the ship was the sixth high and it's hot as hell up there. So, I decided to take the small motor off the movie projector and bring it back to make myself a fan. I still have this motor at home with me.
By this time we were very hungry; we still had water and maybe one halfpound of hard tack candy. We proceeded to walk around the other side of the mountain and came into the dry-dock area where there were sunken ships in dry-dock and heavy damage had been done to surrounding buildings. In front of us was a huge building the size of an airplane hanger. It had slight damage on the east side, the door on our side was dosed so we broke the lock and went in. We were in the locker room of the workers (there wasn't anyone around, it was so quiet and eerie).
We ate some of the candy and looked with amazement at approximately 500 or more midget submarines that were under construction and sitting on wooden horses. A separate room nearby had a submarine cut in half lengthwise showing how one person would command this human torpedo and guide it to a ship. To this day I can't believe the things we saw.
We proceeded around the entire area being careful not to run into someone. It was starting to get dark, Ted said we could never make it back. We walked along the railroad tracks for about a mile. I said I wouldn't sleep in that bombed out building --too many rats and the wind rattled everything. About this time, out of the bombed out building came three Japanese soldiers, hands up high and constantly bowing to us. We pointed to them and told them, as best we could, to stay where they were. They did exactly that. Teddy asked, "What are we going to do with them?" I said, " I don't know." It's dark now and quite late. I told him to get a plank and put it across the tracks so he could sleep while I guarded them. As we sat down so did they. They were always approximately 20-30 feet away. They had no rifles only little pouches on their waists which I found out later contained rice.
Every time I got up they would stand up and bow. We couldn't sleep; I was hungry and tired, so was Ted. We watched rats run all around. The three Japanese had a fire and were cooking rice. Dawn was breaking. We ate some more of our hard tack. As we got up to leave they bowed and followed us. We walked through a bombed out area onto a beach. Ted said, "We'll follow the water around, we have to see some ships." All this time the Japs were in tow.
We walked approximately two miles and heard some commands on the other side of the road. I said it looks like a squad of Marines. We ran up to the troops who had a lieutenant leading them. I told him we were lost and that we had these three Japanese soldiers who want to be our prisoners. I said we hadn't eaten since yesterday except for some candy and we were really hungry. He said, "What do you want me to do with them?" I said, "What do you want ME to do with them? They're yours -- we have to find our way back and get some sleep and something to eat."
The lieutenant said there's a ship coming in down aways -- follow the road and you should see it. We left the Japanese soldiers, pointed to the squad and gestured to them to follow the Marines. We continued on our way. Shortly thereafter we saw the ship which made us very happy. if I remember correctly it was the Piedmont, a seaplane tender or sub tender. We waited 'til gangway was set then went aboard and told our story to the O.D. (Officer of the Deck).
His first remark was "Where the hell did you guys come from?" We explained our story to him -- he was somewhat hesitant as we had rifles, canteens, etc., with us. Then he told us, "See the Boatswains Mate and he'll tell you where the showers are and chow hail is." That night we slept in the crew bunks that were available.
Next day we proceeded to look for our unit and barracks. After we got to the area where we had dismantled the first gun on the mountain, we continued in a westerly direction. There was another white flag, only higher than the other one. As tired as we were, we still climbed up the hill. It wasn't as nice as the first bunker and appeared that only soldiers manned this gun (we saw no evidence of children's toys, bedding, etc.). Again, we damaged the breech as best we could, threw the shells on the side of the hill, and started our climb down.
We continued walking towards the group of buildings which appeared on a sketch we had of Yokuska Naval Base. We went towards the beach area and some abandoned buildings, walking through the buildings and out the back. At the rear of this building was a stack about four feet high of rifles and piles of ammunition in clips. We took a clip, loaded the rifle and fired. It worked fine. We took some clips and two rifles and put them between a pile of logs.
We went through another building which appeared to be a classroom for navigation. We met a group of Navy personnel as K-rations were being distributed; we took some of those and left to look for our barracks area. Large groups of military personnel (Army, Navy, Marines) were starting to come ashore. We ifiled our canteens, had some rations and proceeded to the area where we had left the rifles. I also had some books, Japanese Navy hats, a watch, a large family album, a picture and the small motor.
When we arrived at our barracks area the Marine in charge wanted to know where the hell we had been since they'd been looking for us for two days. We told them what we did, dismantling two emplacements, getting lost, ending up on the Piedmont. He told us not to leave the barracks area as tomorrow we were going back to our ship.
Early morning we all assembled on a long pier, guys carrying all kinds of souvenirs, rifles, etc. Some guys had fine swords. The officer in charge said we couldn't take these things back as we weren't allowed to take anything; the guys threatened to throw everything off the pier into the water if we were forced to leave everything behind.
Nothing more was said, we carried whatever we had and loaded onto our motor launches. I still couldn't see the Indiana. We left the pier. We rounded the bend and parked out there was the Indiana. As we went up the gangway I think every crew man was watching us come aboard with all our gear. As we got to the top of the gangway we were told to put down our gear, take off our clothes, and pile them up. Then we had to go through the hatch, get sprayed with water, chemicals, disinfectant or soap. New clothing was issued. If I remember correctly, no one would come dose to us like we had the plague. I then put on my work blues, picked up my gear and rifle and went to my bunk area. The guys came over and we told them of our experiences. Shortly thereafter, within a day or two, we left for San Francisco.
Serving aboard the USS Indiana was quite an experience for me since I had never seen a ship of this size. Coming from a small town, I felt privileged being selected to attend Signalman School and later to become a part of the crew of USS Indiana BB-58 — the Indiana. We had the finest bunch of guys I ever met in my military career and, if I had to do it over again, I certainly would want to do it with them. The Indiana certainly did its share in World War II. I often think of Teddy Styrzo -- without him and his perseverance in getting us back home again, all this might not have been possible.
All of the above was part of my Navy career aboard USS Indiana BB58 and as a Signal Man, my part in the landing and occupation of the Yokosuka Naval Base by the 4th Reinforced Combat Regiment of the Sixth Marine Division.
Albert Joseph Vicarelli, Signal Man 3c, CS Division
Webmaster's Note: Albert J. Vicarelli retired as a Marine Corps Master Sergeant in 1975.
Last Updated 15 June 2002
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