Storm-Tossed WACS Dock Here Safely
212 Arrive on the Enterprise After Transfer in Azores From Battered Transports
New York, Jan. 23 - Two hundred and twelve Wacs
were among the 3,577 military passengers who arrived here yesterday on the aircraft carrier
Enterprise, from Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, where they had been taken aboard this warship
after the two transports on which they embarked originally from France had been battered by
heavy seas and forced into port.
The Wacs and 2,799 service men on the carrier had left Le Havre on Dec. 14,
bound for New York on the French ship Athos II, then used as an American transport. Seven
days later the vessel encountered a severe storm.
Sgt. Mickey Mahoney, 22 years old, of 764 St. John's Place, Brooklyn, a
New York telephone operator before enlisting in the WAC, related:
"The storm ripped stoves and kitchens apart. Most of our food was
ruined. Our dining room was smashed to smithereens, and all but two of our twenty-four
lifeboats were washed overboard."
She described how at the height of the storm, with the Athos II rolling
from 50 to 60 degrees, she and the other Wacs were ordered to gather in the companionways
below deck and serve as human ballast with other military personnel.
Maj. Katherine L. St. John of Frankfort, Ky., formerly staff director of
WAC personnel with the Ninth Air Force, who was in charge of the group on the Athos II,
praised the women for their composure during the storm.
Thirty-three of those returning yesterday were injured during the storms.
Eighteen were able to walk from the ship: the remainder were litter cases.
The other military passengers on the Enterprise had been transferred at
Ponta Delgada, from the Liberty ship John B. Hood, which lost her propeller early on the
morning of New Year's Day, about 300 miles southwest of the Azores. The Hood had left
Marseille on Dec. 23, bound for Hampton Roads, Va. Most of her passengers were Negro
members of the 3225th and 4203d Quartermaster Service Companies.