Peg is the daughter of a U.S. Naval Officer who served at military stations during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
Patriotism and the Greatest Generation
On December 7, 1941, the United States suffered a devastating attack on U.S. Military forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan. A wave of patriotism ensued, swelling enlistment in the armed forces as young people sought to do their patriotic duty.
December 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy."
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
February 8, 1942, Byron Moore and two of his high school classmates, E.C. Powell and Bobby Futch, took the bus from Valdosta, GA to a military recruiting station in Macon where they enlisted.
At 17 years, 10 months, young Byron was just shy of the minimum weight to join the Navy. He filled his pockets with rocks in order to meet the requirements.2
The Valdosta Daily Times Newspaper 1942
Shortly after returning home, the trio received their official letters to report for duty. They boarded the Southern Railroad to Portsmouth VA and took the ferry to Norfolk the world's largest Naval Base operating out of the original Jamestown Exposition site.
During the first two weeks of training, the new recruits of Platoon Unit 842 were administered shots, given dental and physical exams had their clothes stenciled and began a rigorous calisthenics program to prepare them for battle.
After Boot Camp, the enlisted men received a three-day leave. Byron traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit his sister who worked at the Anchor Room in The Annapolis Hotel, a favorite service man's hangout.
The Anchor Room
As an active duty Apprentice Seaman, he earned $21.00 per month.
He received new orders for Tampa, Florida to serve aboard the Auxiliary Mine Sweeper, the USS Augury when the ship was put into commission after sea trials, making him a plank owner.1 His next assignment as Temporary Prison Chaser Guard included orders for New Orleans with 22 other Military Guards to escort prisoners to Portsmouth NH.
When his new orders assigned him to a ship that had already left port, he hitched a ride on board another ship, a WWI Destroyer heading toward Russia. They traveled to New Jersey to pick up ammunition, then, headed toward Key West and his duty station as “Sound Man.” He completed a five-week course with the last ten days of class at sea practicing their new skills.
As an SoM3c, Sonar Man 3rd class, he earned $78.00 per month. Reenlistment in 1945 for 4 years in the Regular Navy earned him a raise to $119.70 per month.
Byron's older brother, Harold, enlisted in the Army during World War I. His other older brother, Ervin, also served in the Navy. After a tour of duty overseas, Ervin developed tuberculosis and was not expected to live. After losing a lung to the disease, his brother went on to become a lawyer and later, a judge in Marianna, Florida.
USS Augury AM-149
USS Augury AM-149 Minesweeper
Admirable Class Minesweeper, one of the largest and most successful classes of minesweepers ordered by the US Navy during World War II designed to locate and remove naval mines before the rest of the fleet arrived, thereby ensuring safe passage.
- Built: at the Tampa Shipbuilding Company Inc. December 1942
- Launched: February 23, 1943 and commissioned March 17 1943.
- Displacement: 650 tons
- Length: 184' 6"
- Beam: 33'
- Draft: 9' 9"
- Speed: 14.8 knots
- Complement: 104 (officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel)
- Armament: one 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, two twin 40 mm gun mounts, one depth charge thrower (hedgehogs), two depth charge tracks
- Propulsion: two 1,710 shp ALCO 539 diesel engines, Farrel-Birmingham single reduction gear, two shafts.
Shake Down Cruise
The Augury’s shake-down cruise took them from Tampa to Norfolk VA, afterward, to the Panama Canal, then San Francisco, then to Hawaii. Nearing the Philippines, a new set of orders changed their destination to Kodiak Alaska for convoy duty. Their job was to escort Merchant ships back and forth from Alaska to Attu in the Aleutian Islands. Between escorts they sailed Picket Duty or steaming in a Picket Square traveling north, east, south, then west, patrolling in each direction for an hour.