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AWAY ALL BOATS
by Claud Erie Hooker

“My country was hurt and it needed help, and there I was.”

Ten days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Claud Hooker enlisted in the U. S. Navy. He was just seventeen. In order to enlist at this tender age, he needed parental permission. His father gave it; his mother refused.

After three months of basic training, Hooker was assigned to a landing craft attached to the USS Alcyone, a cargo attack ship that saw action in both the European and Pacific Theatres. “Away all boats” is the command that was given to make ready for an assault landing. He and his crewmates obeyed this command many times.

Although Hooker claims that his job as a machinist was to “make sure the engine ran,” his life was often in peril. Here are his stories, told in the kind of plain-speaking style you would expect from a self-professed “Texas country boy.” Some of the stories will make you laugh, but most will make you wonder how such a young fellow was able to endure such horrors. At the age of eighty-eight, Hooker is still haunted by memories of what he saw, and yet he has said, “I would do it again if someone were threatening
this country.”

 

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