I was member of original crew of the Magoffin. Arrived in Astoria, Oregon just before ship did and was aboard for commissioning (and all the work that was involved). Ship left Nov. 4th, 1944 and went to Seattle area where we were "degaussed". After a couple of days there, we went to Long Beach (where we "hurried up and waited"). At Long Beach, Comdr. Graybill took over as CO from Cdr. McManus.
While I note one former Ensign criticizes Cdr. Graybill, but as his Chief Yeoman for well several months, I always found him an excellent officer (one of the best I ever knew) - strict but fair. At all drills I was on the bridge as "Captain's Talker" so had a great view -coming into port, anchoring, G.Q. (including Okinawa)(and a good chance, I think to judge his ship's handling, etc.).
From Long Beach I believe we went to San Diego and spent some time practicing lowering of boats off coast; spent a day or two at Christmas time at Seattle, then to Pearl for a short period; thence to South Pacific. Enroute, as we crossed Equator for first time, Captain turned over the ship for the "ceremonies". Fortunately (for me) I had "done it before a few times) so was able to watch the fun. Someone shot a bunch of pictures, and after the war we were supposed to get copies - mine were lost in mail, but a friend let me take his to show my friends (wish I had made copies).
For a short time Magoffin made a few stops in So. Pacific area - including Noumea and Espiritu Santos. On Mar. 1, 1944, we spent a couple of weeks of rather intensive training - with and without Marines - lowering boats, loading them, etc. in area of the Solomons and Russells. One day (I suppose as a reward for all the work), we anchored in bay off Tulagi and liberty parties were provided with beer (only occasion). CPOs got 6 bottles. Unfortunately someone stole a couple of cases and culprits were never apprehended. On Mar. 21, 1944, we "passed through the submarine nets" and entered the harbor at Ulithi.
I have been surprised to find so few who seem to know about Ulithi.- (as in March 1944) One of the greatest fleets ever assembled were in that harbor which had been created a short time before. I could not believe my eyes as we joined the other ships there: several battle ships, carriers, cruisers, destroyers - all kinds of support vessels. In the days we spent at anchor at Ulithi, we received all our needs for fuel and ammunition (and any repairs needed - including the important ice cream machine), and were soon on our way - to Okinawa.
On Easter morning, April 1, 1944, with other APAs, we moved toward Okinawa, and were at GQ well before dawn - and were able to hear occasional anti-aircraft firing and see explosions on the horizons. As records show, the Magoffin was one of the first to put their Marines ashore, and as there was no opposition on the beach, everything went well. In fact, later in the day, as our ship was off Okinawa, we could easily see the beaches nearest us - and smokestacks of Naha in the distance. It seemed peaceful during the day, but at night (when we and other APAs got underway and circled in the area), the Kamikaze found things more to their liking.
I managed to get copies of the ship's log some years after the war and only then was able to appreciate how many times we had been called to our posts at G.Q. - how many times we had actually fired at enemy aircraft....how many rounds were expended! (How little sleep we got!). The logs, (unfortunately) do not tell of the night when the Magoffin helped shoot down 2 Jap planes, but I remember! The first one was simply flying high above us, and (from the bridge), I found it hard to spot it - finally doing so because of the multiple firing directed at it - and just at the moment that plane was hit and began to fall (just above our ship), some alert spotters detected the real threat - (the plane getting all the attention was a decoy) - and the other one was spotted just above the waves - in between other APAs and us.
It was amazing (to me) to see how quickly fire was directed at the second plane and I barely had time to see it when it exploded and crashed into the sea., and I suppose all ships were then directed to take evasive action (though I don't actually recall).
After 6 days at Okinawa, the Magoffin and other APAs were ordered from the area, led by the Cruiser Indianapolis. On the first morning we passed close to an aircraft carrier which had suffered severe damage from Kamikaze (those not on duty were told to stand at attention, facing the carrier). Water was pouring from several places in the hull, and hose used to put out fires was strewn around the deck. A couple of sailors were standing on the flight deck (no planes in sight), apparently exhausted and simply watching us pass...and I could not help but think "there, but for the Grace of God...." The carrier was tilted at an angle and in spite of all the damage still flew the flag above her bridge, jury-rigged.
A few days later we (and other APAs) made a stop at Guam where we put off some injured military we had carried from Okinawa, and we were then headed for Pearl. By the time was had come to Guam (I got this from the Chief Quartermaster) (we had sailed a total of 18, 926 nautical miles.
The Indianapolis left us at Guam - and (I suspect) was probably enroute, alone back to Okinawa when she was sunk by Jap subs (again, we had been lucky).
From Pearl we went to (I think) San Francisco and a couple of other Cal. ports. On Aug. 6, 1945 the Magoffin was at Pt. Heueme, Cal., and we learned that we would be leaving for Pearl the next morning (and well realized that soon we would be part of the invasion forces for the main islands of Japan - something none of us was looking forward to. I had been (though a Reservists) on continual active duty since Oct. 1937, and had not seen my wife and son for over 7 months or my family for 2-1/2 years.
With Ch. Boatswain's Mate Blatchford (from Mass., as was I), went on liberty - took bus to Santa Barbara - I made my "last phone call" to my wife, and we returned by bus about midnight. As we walked to the gangway, we were surprised to see quite a few people standing around, and found a newsboy had a special edition of a paper reporting the dropping of the first Atomic Bomb on Japan! We all had to have our own copy - and it seemed all the CPOs were still up - reading and discussing the exciting events!.
We sailed for Pearl the following morning and anxiously read everything the radiomen could provide us about events...the second bomb dropped - discussion about Peace - .....and (of all places to be for such an event), the Magoffin was actually sailing INTO PEARL HARBOR as news came of the Japanese Surrender!
I soon learned I had more than enough points to get my discharge. Captain Graybill had been in a number of meetings and asked to see me. He told me that he was able to make a special offer to anyone that he felt the Navy would want to retain, and he said he could have me transferred in rate (chief yeoman) to regular navy, with full credit for time served; 30 days leave immediately. In some ways I was tempted, but (because of the length of time I had not seen my wife and son and parents - and knowing that 30 days would hardly get me home from Pearl!), (and a few other things), I thanked him but decided to "go". and earn my living another way!
Actually, I again joined the Naval Reserve a year later (and was called up for a year, with my enlistment (again) extended in 1950-51. By that time I decided I had had enough "wars" and ended my "naval career" (13 years, 9 active). I'm now 89 and have only my memories. Ed Jenkins (former Chief Yeoman, USNR).