About the author: Vincent Richard Perrone (November 8, 1918 — April 4, 2016) served on the USS Fremont APA-44. His obituary reads as follows:
Son of the late Salvatore and Josephine Perrone. He was the husband of the late Rose Culotta Perrone.
Jim attended St. Patricks School in Norwich, graduated from the Norwich Free Academy, Becker College of Business Administration, Long Island University (Mitchell College Branch), and received his Masters Degree from the University of Hartford.
He enlisted in the Navy, September 17, 1940 and received training at the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island. He was promoted from Apprentice Seaman to all the Enlisted grades including Chief Petty Officer and then on to Commissioned Warrant Officer.
During World War II, Jim served aboard the USS Fremont and the USS Bering Strait in the Pacific Theater. While aboard the USS Fremont, he participated in the invasions of the Island of Saipan, Palau, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. While aboard the USS Bering Strait, the missions assigned were to pick up survivors of the U.S. Air Force Bombers returning from their missions over Tokyo, Japan called the Air-Sea Rescue Operation. He received the following Navy Awards: American Theater Medal, American Defense Medal, Victory Medal World War II, The Asiatic Pacific Medal with five Bronze Stars, The Good Conduct Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Medal with one Star.
Jim left the Navy after World War II ended, from there he received a direct commission from the U.S. Army as 2nd Lieutenant. He attended Officers Training at Fort Benning, GA. After Officer Training he was assigned to the 39th AAA Battalion at Ft. Bliss, TX. From there he went to Sculthorpe England where he completed a three year tour, after his tour he attended a Field Artillery Transition course at Ft. Sill, OK. He was next assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, WA he commanded Battery “A” of the Division Artillery. He later attended the Army Language School in Monterey, CA where he studied the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. After school he was assigned as a Battery Commander of the 68th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion. This unit was located on an isolated island off Inchon, Korea called Yung-Jung-Do. While there he received a Letter of Commendation from General I.D. White, Commander in Chief of AFFE, 8th Army for “Outstanding Service performed while Battery Commander of Battery A, 68th AAA Battalion, 10th AAA Group.”
When he returned to the states, he was assigned to the USA Air Defense School at Ft. Bliss, TX where he attended the Associate Advanced AA and Surface to Air Missile Officer Advanced Course. In April of 1958, Jim was assigned as the Commander of Battery B of the 3rd Missile Battalion, 44th Artillery. This was a Nike Ajax Missile Battery at Fairfield, CT. His next assignment took him to Ft. Totten, NY where he joined the 1st Region Army Air Defense Command, he served as the Deputy G-2 Intelligence Officer. While stationed there he received The Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Rescue Medal. During his time at Ft. Totten he was promoted to the rank of Major. Jim retired from the Army in April of 1963.
After retiring from the Army, Jim returned home to Norwich, received his Masters Degree from the University of Hartford and taught at the Norwich Free Academy for 20 years where he taught business classes and was the Campus Store Advisor. He retired from NFA in 1984.
About the diary: Originally published online in the USS Fremont APA-44 website, with the following introduction:
This is a transcript of the war diary of Vincent (Jim) Perrone made aboard the USS Fremont APA 44. These entries were made upon departure from Norfolk, Virginia to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on through the invasions of Saipan, Mariannas Islands, Palau, Ulithi, and the Philippine Islands.
The Philippine Diary Project includes the author’s entries from October 21, 1944 (in Leyte Gulf) to October 28, 1944. Prior to October 21, 1944, the previous entry was June 25, 1944, followed by an update covering what followed. It includes these relevant passages:
Left ULITHI on the 23rd of September to New Guinea. Arrived in HOLLANDIA 28 September. Left HOLLANDIA 1 October and arrived in the ADMIRALTIES on the 2nd (MANUS). Left (MANUS) on the 12th for the invasion of the PHILIPPINES. Met Joe (brother) in HOLLANDIA on the 30th. We are heading for LEYTE and “D” day is 20 October 1944. We have the Army 1st Calvary Division on board.
On 20 October 1944 we entered the islands of the Philippines (LEYTE). At 0700, one Jap plane was passing and dropped one bomb at one of our destroyers. Heavy anti-aircraft was thrown up and drove him off. We found out later that our planes caught up with him and shot him down. After bombardment which lasted until 0959 the boys or rather the first wave landed with success. Not much trouble was encountered. In the other force, a Jap plane torpedoed the cruiser USS HONOLULU. Its destiny is not known yet. The plane was intercepted and shot down, The USS HONOLULU, as far as known was hit on her bow and is in pretty bad shape. General Douglas McArthur greeted the Philippine people over the radio saying “I’m back to stay, I have returned.”
The last entry is dated October 28, 1944, with the following epilogue by the author:
I stopped writing because I had orders to return to the States for reassignment. I and Steve Danko made Warrant Officer. We got a ride from a Hospital Ship to the ADMIRALTIES and transferred to a converted Luxury Liner out of San Francisco called the LURLINE. We traveled to Australia (Brisbane) and spent a few days there. We were allowed to go ashore and enjoy the City and its offerings. When we left Leyete, there were two PT boat survivors one a Lieutenant (Boat Captain) and the other a LTJG the Executive Officer. We bunked in the same stateroom with them. They told us how they were on a night mission in Lingayen Gulf where some of the Jap Fleet was at anchor. While sneaking at a crawl pace, the crew were told not to shoot until given the command. Well, the gunner behind the machine gun thought the Captain said to “FIRE” as they approached a Jap Cruiser. It was like a BB gun firing at the bridge of the ship. This fire brought on the searchlights from the ships thus making the PT Boat a nice target to shoot at. They were fired on by the Japs and the PT Boat was destroyed. They were able to get the boat close enough to wade ashore. Now what do you think they salvaged from the PT Boat??? It was a case of Canadian Club. That was it nothing else. Most of the crew were killed by the Jap fire. The Captain and his Exec said that they had been waiting a long time for this opportunity to torpedo a large Jap ship.
We helped them drink the Canadian Club all the way to San Francisco. I was reassigned to the USS BERING STRAIGHT AVP34. I joined the ship at SAIPAN. Imagine, they had clubs for the Officers and Chiefs to go to when I got there(nothing like the invasion). We went out on Sea-Air Rescue missions. We picked up several B29 crews while on this mission. We also tended the PBM Mariners who went on the Air-Sea Rescues missions.
The diary in full as published online can be accessed by clicking on this link. We are grateful to Mr. Tony Yebba, owner and administrator of the USS Fremont APA-44 website, for permission to use the Perrone Diary.