The Stamford Historical Society Presents
Pride and Patriotism: Stamford’s Role in World War II
George Cartsounis enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in December of 1943. He served aboard the USS Staff (AM-114) a minesweeper. His ship was amongst the first to approach the Normandy Beaches on D-Day. The USS Staff supported the invasion until November of 1944 then returned to Norfolk, Virginia. The ship was then posted to the Pacific and reached Eniwetok on 18 May 1945 then sailed to Guam. During his Pacific duty Cartsounis served as a baker for the crew.
We were escorting ships to do with the D-day invasion and we were mine sweeping…
We had no trouble operating in the Atlantic but near England yes, there were subs.
We were amongst the first ones in for the D-day invasion…We went in at night…fire was everywhere…it was scary. Soldiers were bombarded…we were far enough out that shells didn’t hit us. Our goal was to get the mines swept.
The shore batteries…had hidden big guns, we had shrapnel in the smokestack but there were no casualties on the boat.
After Normandy we headed to the Mediterranean, south of France. We brought supplies to Palermo, and Oran.
I was a 3rd Class Baker…in the Pacific
We had a crew of 110 on the boat, 220 foot boat, five 2 40mm , two 20mm and some 50 caliber.
We were going up into Japan to sweep mines…Formosa…November/December `45
Okinawa Japs would send swimmers to blow up ships…I saw something at night and shot at it but it ended up being a barrel
Normandy…We were taking off survivors and the destroyer escort went over the same route that we did but we had acoustic bars, two bars that go out and make a lot of noise and vibration, they take the vibration away from the engine, well anyway the destroyer escort came in to help too so we were standing there when all of the sudden a mine blows off the front of the other one…all these sailors were there and then, suddenly, there was nobody.
1945 log of events with sarcastic comments - censured
Images Courtesy George Cartsounis
History of Minelayer Staff AM-114
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