USS Mount Hood and crew lost in massive explosion

USS Mount Hood (AE-11) off the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, on July 16, 1944. She is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 18F.

USS Mount Hood (AE-11) off the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, on July 16, 1944. She is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 18F.

Exactly a year after being named after a volcano in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, the USS Mount Hood was lying at berth off Manus island in the Admiralty Islands north of New Guinea. With around 4000 tons of different types of ammunition aboard, USS Mount Hood had travelled from Norfolk, Virginia via the Panama Canal to the Pacific, bringing munitions for ships that would be supporting the Philippines campaign.

She was busy this morning, men were in the process of moving ammunition in all five of her holds, but there was time to run 18 men into shore at 0830. Just 20 minutes later the remaining 249 men on the ship would be disappear in a cloud of smoke.

The explosion of the USS Mount Hood (AE-11) in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands on November 10, 1944. The smoke trails are left by fragments ejected by the explosion. The explosion was not due to enemy action; its cause has never been determined. The USS Mindanao (ARG-3), which lay about 300 m away, was heavily damaged by this explosion and 180 of her crewmen were killed or injured. The Mount Hood had been a new ship, commissioned on July 1, 1944.

The explosion of the USS Mount Hood (AE-11) in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands on November 10, 1944. The smoke trails are left by fragments ejected by the explosion. The explosion was not due to enemy action; its cause has never been determined. The USS Mindanao (ARG-3), which lay about 300 m away, was heavily damaged by this explosion and 180 of her crewmen were killed or injured. The Mount Hood had been a new ship, commissioned on July 1, 1944.

At 0850, local time, on 10 November 1944, USS Argonne lay moored to a buoy in Berth 14, Seeadler Harbor. The USS Mount Hood (AE-11) (Ammunition Ship-11) was 1,100 yards away. USS Argonne’s captain, Commander T. H. Escott:

At the time of the explosion, I was standing outside my cabin… in conversation with the executive officer. By the time we had recovered our stance from the force of the explosion, and faced outboard, the area in the vicinity of Berth 380 (where USS Mount Hood had lay moored) was completely shrouded in a pall of dense black smoke. It was not possible to see anything worth reporting. A second or so thereafter, fragments of steel and shrapnel began falling on and around this ship.

Some 221 pieces of debris, ranging in size from one to 150 pounds, were recovered on board, totalling 1,300 pounds. Several other pieces caromed off USS Argonne’s port side into the water alongside, and others landed on YF-681 (Freight Lighter-681) and YO-77 (Oil Barge -77), the latter alongside delivering fuel oil at the time.

USS Mindanao (ARG-3) (Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship-3), suffered heavily, moored in a berth between the disintegrating ammunition ship and USS Argonne. Riddled with shrapnel, USS Mindanao suffered 23 killed and 174 wounded in the explosion. USS Argonne suffered casualties, too, as well as the destruction of a 12-inch searchlight, five transmitting antennas broken away, and steam, fresh-water, and salt-water lines ruptured… as well as extensive damage from concussion.

USS Mount Hood (AE-11), smoke cloud expanding, just after she exploded in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944. Photographed by a photographer of the 57th Construction Battalion, who had set up his camera to take pictures of the Battalion's camp.

USS Mount Hood (AE-11), smoke cloud expanding, just after she exploded in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944. Photographed by a photographer of the 57th Construction Battalion, who had set up his camera to take pictures of the Battalion’s camp.

D.D. Haverley was among a party of 30 Torpedomen waiting to go ashore from the USS Rainier to be assigned to other ships:

I was coming up the ladder from below decks when a tremendous blast threw me against the bulkhead and partially down the ladder… my first thought was that we had been hit by a torpedo. Got topside in a matter of 2 or 3 seconds, just in time to see the initial smoke and flame of the Hood’s explosion. I was mesmerized by what I saw next… the column of smoke rose straight up, and “mushroomed” at the top… a complete preview of how the A-bomb looked a year later. Within one or two minutes a terrific wave rocked the ship.

As I watched the mushroom cloud, I became instantly aware of large and small objects falling from the sky, landing in the water, some very close to us. I can not speak for the thoughts of the skipper of our ship, but suspect that he felt that the harbor was under attack, wanted to get the hell out of there, and wanted to dump us 30 Torpedo men ASAP… we were ferried to shore at once.

About the time we got to shore, the first small craft with casualties started to come in… do not recall if it was raining, but do recall that there was “red mud” everywhere. The utter chaos was a scene from hell.

Initially I thought that because the 30 of us were “ammo savvy”, that was the reason we were immediately pressed into service… the reality was, that here were 30 strong backs that were badly needed.

As the various types of small craft arrived at the beach for the next few hours, it was our job to carry the individual metal “litters” up from the beach, to a growing line of ambulances. Each litter held a body, or parts of a body…as we got near the first ambulance, a corpsman checked each litter, quickly determining the ones that held a “live” body… those were taken to the next waiting ambulance. The corpsman would say “he’s dead, over there” or “in the ambulance”.

Those that were dead or contained only body parts, were laid out three abreast, and soon piles were made with three litters laid crosswise, and three high.

After a few hours in the tropic heat, someone initially decreed that a bulldozer should dig a deep and long trench for burial purposes, basically one big “mass grave”, and the bull dozing began. It was at this point a Chaplain (I do not know his name or denomination) stepped in, and with God-given fury , he stopped the concept of a mass grave and demanded INDIVIDUAL graves for each and every body.

He prevailed, and, there were a number of Japanese prisoners of war on the island who were forced to dig the individual graves. All I could think when I heard that, was “GREAT ! HOW APPROPRIATE !”

Explosion of USS Mount Hood (AE-11) in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944. Small craft gathered around USS Mindanao (ARG-3) during salvage and rescue efforts shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao's port side. Mindanao, and seven motor minesweepers (YMS) moored to her starboard side, were damaged by the blast, as were the USS Alhena (AKA-9) (in the photo's top left center) and USS Oberrender (DE-344), (top right). Note the extensive oil slick, with tracks through it made by small craft.

Explosion of USS Mount Hood (AE-11) in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944. Small craft gathered around USS Mindanao (ARG-3) during salvage and rescue efforts shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao’s port side. Mindanao, and seven motor minesweepers (YMS) moored to her starboard side, were damaged by the blast, as were the USS Alhena (AKA-9) (in the photo’s top left center) and USS Oberrender (DE-344), (top right). Note the extensive oil slick, with tracks through it made by small craft.

This was the subsequent account of CDR Chester Gile, USNR,Ret., published in the US Naval Institute Proceedings, Feb., 1963:

Conversations must have been choked off in mid-word, gestures interrupted in mid-air, thoughts ended at mid-point. One moment she was a ship teeming with life, humming with activity. Seconds later, she was a vast black billowing bier which momentarily marked the spot where 350 US Navymen perished without a trace.

Mount Hood was anchored in approximately 35 feet of water. The force of the explosion blasted a trench in the harbor bottom, reported by divers as 1000 feet long, 200 feet wide and 85 feet maximum depth. In the trench was found the largest piece of the ship’s hull- a piece less than 100 feet in it’s longest dimension. Destruction was complete. Nothing was found after the explosion except fragments of metal which struck other ships. There were no bits of human remains, no supplies of any kind, nothing that had been made of wood or paper, with the single exception of a few tattered pieces of a signal notebook, floating on the water several hundred yards away.

The flying fragments from Mount Hood smashed into some 30 other ships and harbor craft bringing the total casualties to nearly 1000 killed or wounded. Some of the harbor craft simply vanished with all hands…

For some unknown reason, Mt. Hood had been anchored in the midst of the ships of the Seventh Fleet Service Force. Casualties to other vessels would have been minimized if the ammunition ship had been spotted at an isolated location a few miles down harbor, off the ammunition supply depot at Lugos, the customary anchorage for ships of this type. Somebody was at fault for designating an anchorage for Mount Hood so near to the other ships.

For more from these and many other accounts see USS Mount Rainier. Includes a transcript of the subsequent official investigation, which simply attributed the accident to “rough handling” of ammunition, without being able to be any more specific.

This account is from David Greenroos a 16 year old Navy man on the USS Mindanao:

Our last anchorage was Seeadler Harbour in the Admiralty Islands, not too far from New Guinea. This was one of the world,s largest natural harbors. I once counted 400 large ships, cruisers, battleships, freighters, troopships, etc. that were anchored briefly in the harbor, preparing for the invasion of Japan. The harbor was relatively empty when the Mt. Hood blew up. If it had blown up while the harbor was crowded, the death toll could have been ten or twenty thousand or more.

Many times, my buddies and I would look over at the Mt. Hood, and we could discern that it flew the ammunition ship flag with the E on it. In fact, we called it the E-11. We often remarked to each other that that ship was illegally parked, according to navy regulations, because an ammunition ship is supposed to be anchored thousands of yards away from other ships. We often felt very uneasy because it was there week after week.

On the morning of the explosion, I had started to work early with a new helper who had been assigned to me. His name was Italo Skortachini, an Italian kid, from New York, I think. There were six minesweepers tied alongside our ship for routine maintenance and repairs, and I was on the outermost of these minesweepers, and Italo was holding a heavy piece of metal for me to weld on a damaged railing of this minesweeper. When the blast happened, I was temporarily knocked unconscious for a second or two. I know that it was very brief because debris hadn,t started falling from the sky yet.

The blast was so strong that it blew off most of my clothes except my underwear, including my shoes. The first thing that I saw was half of Italo’s body on one side of the deck and the other half on the other side. It could have been the sheet of metal that he was holding for me that cut him in half. When I got to my feet, the captain of the minesweeper came out of his cabin and was looking toward my ship, and a flying piece of steel came through the air and impaled him like a spear to the cabin wall, It was in the center of his chest., and he gasped a little bit and then seemed to die.

Debris began to fall from the sky at this time. A large artillery shell fell on the deck, right at my feet, just as a crew member of the minesweeper came up from below. All of the minesweepers were made of wood, so as not to attract magnetic mines as the ship went about its work clearing minefields. The shell did not penetrate the heavy wooden deck of the minesweeper, and just lay there at our feet. I looked at him, and he looked at me. He asked, “Should we run?” I said, “Nobody can run that fast if it blows up. Let’s throw it overboard.” And that’s exactly what we did, expecting to be blown to bits at any second. Meanwhile, he said that there were dead men below, the ship had split open, and we were starting to sink. There were dead and dying and drowning people all around us at this point.

Read the full account at

Salvage and rescue work underway on USS Mindanao (ARG-3) shortly after the USS Mount Hood (AE-11) blew up about 350 yards (320 m) away. Note the heavy damage to Mindanao '​s hull and superstructure, including large holes from fragment impacts.

Salvage and rescue work underway on USS Mindanao (ARG-3) shortly after the USS Mount Hood (AE-11) blew up about 350 yards (320 m) away. Note the heavy damage to Mindanao ’​s hull and superstructure, including large holes from fragment impacts.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles Barron July 10, 2019 at 3:33 am

my father was the harbor captain. Harry Barron. Bud” for short. his boat was a harbor patrol crash boat. he told me many things about that day. The morning of the blast he was ordered by the CO of the base to tell the Hood to stop dumping garbage overboard as it was coming up on the old mans beachfront home. So my dad and his crew of 6 from his patrol boat Named K.B.J.B after my mother brother sister and dad. I did not come along til 1952. he said they went over to the mt. hood to relay the order to quit dumping the shit as the CO put it overboard in the harbor if they want to dump than do it out of the harbor dad than went to the ship about 25 mins of travel time to get over to her to give the order. he pulled along side and asked permisson to come aboard with orders from the CO the old man.he met the XO of the ship and relay the orders the XO than asked my dad if he would like to have some breakfast before he resume patrol in and out side the harbor. dad said he would like to but he had to finish his patrol he than left to resume his rounds about 30 mins later she blew it pushed the the stern of his boat out of the water for about 70 ft that is how long dads boat was.after she blew up they than went into rescue mold. for years after I was born dad did not like to hear heavy thumping the reason was that night on patrol in the area he heard a thumping on the starboard side they than checked out the noise and it was from a body hitting the side of the boat the was the XO from the mt.hood my dad shared that with me in 1963 pop died on may 29 2003 god I miss him.

R. Brand June 4, 2019 at 1:55 am

My mother was pregnant with my brother when her husband Lloyd Strom was killed on the USS Mt. Hood. My mother never talked about it so we grew up not knowing our brother had lost his father until much later. My mother remarried her husband’s cousin, my dad, and raised three more children. It was real hard on her as she never had remains to bury. She did receive a folded flag. My brother is still alive but I never ask him about how he feels about his lost father. He has many letters sent to my mother from the ship while she was pregnant with him. I may ask to read them someday. He’s 74 this year. Born two months after the explosion. Never met his father.

Jeff Santen May 26, 2019 at 9:33 am

My Dad was aboard the USS PRESIDENT HAYES APA20. He was a Seaman, Russell Frank Santen. My Dad died in 1955, and I never had an opportunity to talk to him about it. When I was about 16, my Aunt told me He never talked about it. My Grandfather, who was also serving in the Pacific, said He asked Him one time, and said my Dad walked out to the garage were they heard him sobbing for fifteen minutes. He never said one word about it! God Bless all those Great Guys!

Mark Shishnia May 24, 2019 at 5:23 am

My father Nick Shishnia was an EM3 on board the USS Medusa AR-1. He had orders that morning to go by motor whaleboat directly to the Mount Hood and help with some electrical repairs. Just before the boat left the Medusa a young Ensign held it up and ordered them to go first to the beach. My dad argued his case to go first to the Mount Hood but the Officer would not concede. Just as the whaleboat got to the beach and about the same time it would have arrived at the doomed ammunition ship my dad said “the Mount Hood disappeared” I would probably not be writing this story had it not been for a Junior Grade Officer eager to enjoy some liberty!

Graham Clayton April 11, 2019 at 5:02 am

That photo of the Mindanao’s hull is incredible – imagine the force needed for a large projectile to punch a whole in the side of the ship.

cruce lansford April 10, 2019 at 8:22 pm

I was there looking that way when it happened we were going ashore .we were low in the boat most of the blast went over us. they buried the dead seems like a week. toyko rose said they did it but we knew that was lie.

Stuart Green January 19, 2019 at 8:26 pm

I have located a lengthy declassified document of the investigation and analysis of the explosion. It has a list of the Mt Hood crew:

Ronald Grimes January 17, 2019 at 4:57 am

My brother Darryl Grimes was on the Mt. Hood. There were only a few of the crew members that were saved. They had gone in to port for to pick up mail. I was born in Oct. 1946. The only marker that I’ve seen with Darryl Grimes listed is a WW II marker in a park outside Houston, TX. Does anyone know of a list of the crew of the Mt. Hood?

Stuart Green November 29, 2018 at 4:41 am

I am posting another comment for the purpose of locating any veteran who is still living and was at Manus at the time of the explosion and would like to connect with my father. I have located one sailor who was there and made the connection for them to talk by phone.

They were actually in the same boat pool but did not remember each other. The next morning Mr Gaschler called him back and said that he could not go to sleep until he zeroed in and remembered my dad and he remembered an arm wrestling match when my dad put down a big Finnish sailor.

My email address is If anyone has a father or relative still living who was there please contact me.

I also have some more videos of some of his stories that I will post. A local news station recently did a short segment on him:

Here are some more videos of his stories:
Video #4
Video #5
Video #6

Here is a video of him telling about the wrestling match:

I believe that this is probably the best place for his stories to be kept.

Brian Johnson November 25, 2018 at 9:48 pm

My Dad was station a shore on Manus with US Navy he saw the explosion happen. His name was Richard C Johnson

Charles R. McClain November 25, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I now know more information on the time, and date of the damage to my Dad’s ship, PC588. I have photos of the damage to PC 588, It was a small amount of damage as compare to other ships. Dad is Charles D. McClain EM3. I also have all the names of the ships company, and a photo of most of them.

Mike Gaudet October 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm

I am researching my family line and found a cousin Raymond Matthew Perry who died on the Mount Hood. He came from Prince Edward Island, Canada and was living in NY at time of joining the USN. Would there be any photos of the crew from this ship ? Thanks. Mike.

Stuart Green September 22, 2018 at 7:03 pm

My father, J.W. Green is still living and just had his 95th birthday on 9/13/18. He was assigned to the amphibious unit Lion 4 and served as a Coxswain on an LCM landing craft and landed troops and equipment on the islands from New Guinea to the Philippines. He had been tied to the Mount Hood unloading ammunition all night and had just been relieved a couple of hours before it blew. A few months ago he had a severe nose bleed and we had to take him to the ER to get it stopped. We brought him home and I stayed with him that night and videoed him telling about the Mt Hood. He is still in his hospital gown and he didn’t know I was videoing. Here is his story in his own words:

Video 1
Video 2

I have since taken some better quality videos of his stories. Here is one I think you will enjoy:

Video 3

Carl Fahnestock August 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm

My late father (Raymond Fahnestock) was a Baker in the US Navy. Upon completion of the US Navy’s “Baker’s School”, my father was ecstatic that he was being assigned along with several of his fellow classmates to a newly commissioned ship (the USS MOUNT HOOD AE-11 which was commissioned on 1 July 1944). However, just prior to leaving for this assignment, my father was very disappointed to learn that his orders were unexpectedly changed. He was now being reassigned to another newly commissioned ship (the USS DIPHDA AKA-59 which was commissioned on 8 July 1944). He was told that there were “too many Bakers” being assigned to USS MOUNT HOOD; so he was being ordered to serve instead on the USS DIPHDA. My father completed his service aboard the USS DIPHDA. He was Honorably Discharged from the Navy in May 1946. He married my mother in August 1946. I was born in June 1947, But for the “Grace of God”, through my father’s reassignment, I would never have been born had my father not been reassigned from the USS MOUNT HOOD to the USS DIPHDA! The explosion of the USS MOUNT HOOD was a terrible tragedy for the crews and their families of all of the ships that were moored at Manus Island on 10 November 1944.

Robert May 15, 2018 at 5:06 am

My deceased father, Robert C. Langmuir, had a rating of Metalsmith first class the USS
Mindanao. He related without ever any elaboration, that he was working on a bosuns chair hanging over the side of the USS Minidinao shortly before the Hood blew up next to it….
He however no sooner went below deck to see the ships dentist that the ship went dark as a result of the USS Hood exploding.
Afterwards he surveyed the damage in the place where the bosuns chair had been left and he observed a six foot hole where he was sitting…..
nothing more about all the dead and wounded…..couldn’t get him to say anything more … ever…..
He did say it was a two man Japanese submarine……. as cause…..
He died before the advent of the computer….. wish I could have shown him all the research…….

Dennis Radke March 10, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I have read stories of USS MT HOOD before.

Each time I look from my kitchen window, I can see the actual Mount Hood!

May God rest all those men who died and were so horribly injured so long ago.

Ray Hill February 5, 2018 at 4:27 am

My uncle, Walter E. Hill, a Navy storekeeper was standing beside a hut on the dock when the Hood went up. He stated that he was knocked flat and would have been killed if he had been standing against a flat vertical wall. He happened to be standing beside a sloping hut roof when the shock wave hit him.. He sent a small picture of the explosion. All that is visible was a picture of a blast with a few small pieces in the air. He obtained the picture from another sailor who just happened to snap the picture at the time of the blast.

Dave January 1, 2018 at 8:52 am

My father, Ken Frank was a navy cook stationed ashore on Manus Island at the time of the explosion of the USS Mt. Hood. He guessed that as the crow flies, he may have been about 2/3 of a mile away – the blast knocked him off of his feet. He said that a piece of the ship – maybe part of the bridge, landed a few hundred yards away from his location. A longtime friend of his – Frank Heuston was stationed aboard a destroyer which was moored adjacent to the USS Mt. Hood and somehow was assigned the previous day to a new moorage some distance away – a move which certainly saved the lives of the crew.

Chuck Harmon September 6, 2017 at 8:21 am

My uncle, Richard (Dick) Harmon, was aboard the Mt. Hood the morning it blew up. My grandparents held out hope for months that Dick would eventually be found alive. It was only after receiving a personal letter from an officer present at the time of the explosion that there were absolutely no survivors aboard ship, that the explosion left virtually nothing of the ship, that they came to accept his death.

It is ironic that I have perhaps far more information, including pictures, than my dad, or my grand parents ever did of that tragic day.

alup August 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

I am from Manus, reading your comments is truly sad. I sympathise :-‘(

Robin Almond August 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm

My father, Chester Rusinoski, was aboard the USS Alhena AK26 that was anchored near the USS Hood when it exploded on November 10, 1944. His life changed forever that day at the young age of 19. He sustained severe injuries that left him with a steel plate in his head and shrapnel through his thigh. It took many many months of rehabilitation and plus his strong determination to be able walk and talk again. For years he and my mother fought to get the purple heart with no results. He was told it wasn’t a direct result of enemy action for what happened that day. He always said it was s military coverup from the very beginning because the Mt. Hood was carrying so much ammunition and never should have been anchored so close to other ships. I personally spoke many years ago to one of his shipmates during a reunion, he told me he reported seeing a mini sub that day in that immediate area before the explosion but nothing was done. I wish I took his name now, but at that time I was very young and didn’t realize how important that information was to relate that explosion directly to enemy action. My parents went to their graves knowing that he deserved a purple heart and was denied one. I would like to see that this finally happen and take this long overdue medal to his grave site and let him know he finally received something he so rightly deserved so many years ago.

Jason Pilalas July 5, 2017 at 8:02 pm

The story of the USS Mount Hood (AE-11) lived on at least until the late 1960s. As a junior officer on the destroyer USS Southerland (DD-743) in charge of torpedoes, nuclear depth bombs and the associated rocket motors, I remember using a book of ordnance disasters to encourage my sailors to be careful and stay alert when handling said stuff. The disaster stood out among the many depicted and described because of its magnitude and the casualty toll. The very graphic pictures enhanced the impression of what could go wrong and why taking care was a good idea.
The events almost all involved carelessness and stupidity of one kind or another, unlike in WW1 when the chemistry of explosives and propellants wasn’t so well understood and ordnance disasters, like several in the Royal Navy, were all too frequent.

Mark Spoon June 30, 2017 at 7:47 pm

My father, Jerry Spoon MM1c, was aboard the USS Heywood (APA-6) about three and half miles from the Mount Hood when it exploded. This is his eyewitness account from his book “The View from the Stern”:
“The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood (AE-11) put into Seeadler, and according to some of the Heywood crewman, she anchored a few dozen yards to port of the Heywood. I personally do not remember that, but I do remember what happened after that. The next day, November 10th, she (presumably) had moved to a berth about three and a half miles from us, and a large working party went aboard to help off-load ammunition. It was a calm day, and I was working on one of the forward winches when I felt my shirt whip in the wind. I looked up and was greeted by a thunderous roar. A giant ball of smoke enveloped the Mount Hood, and a large section of what looked like her bow was blown a hundred or so feet into the air. Bombs and shells were showering out of the pall in fiery arcs. I waited for the smoke to lift so that I could see the ship. When it did, there was no ship, only a scattering of debris in the water.”

Elissa M Brooks May 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm

My grandfather, Albert Brooks, was aboard Mount Hood when he lost his life. He left behind my grandma, Jennie Trojanowski (nee Tomaczeski) and an only child, William Lyman Brooks (my dad). I recently found a wooden postcard to my dad telling him he’ll be home soon to take him fishing, the original telegram notifying my grandmother, and several handwritten letters from a commanding officer, who was trying to help explain what happened and comfort her. While I never knew Albert Brooks, I still get teary-eyed thinking how young he was when he died, and how many lives were lost that day.

Michael Ruberton May 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm

My father was aboard the USS Mindanao the day the USS Mt Hood exploded. He pulled the paymaster from the water onto a raft he was on. He was holding on to a case of money to be distributed to the fleet. He died on the raft in my father’s arms. My dad gave the case and money to a superior on the beach. He was always reluctant to tell those old war stories. He had just left his cot, all his buddies that were sleeping were all killed. With all he saw in that war, that was his worst day. He was 17 years old. “The greatest generation”

Patricia Jefferson April 25, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Louis Rider, age 18, was aboard the USS Mount Hood on the day it exploded. My grandmother received another telegram too. Her 20 year old son was listed as missing in action in Germany. God blesa all the servicemen women and their families.

Herbert Klei April 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm

My distant relative, Walter C. Klei, was a member of the crew of the USS Mount Hood and died in the explosion on November 10, 1944. I went to his memorial service in Detroit on April 8, 1945 and have saved a copy of the memorial service bulletin which gives his particulars. Walter had one son, Thomas Ray Klei.

Jody March 21, 2017 at 9:52 pm

My father, USN Pharmacist’s Mate Vaughn G. Horner, was one of the corpsmen that took care of the wounded at the Navy Base hospital # 15 on Manus.

James Baron March 19, 2017 at 11:54 pm

My Dad (Adolph Baron) served on Manus Island during WW2. He was a Boatswain’s Mate from Easthampton, Mass.

Earle L. Greig March 14, 2017 at 6:20 pm

I was a member of the 44th. Seabee outfit. We had been building this pier as well as a second one for months. We knew lots of members of the 57th Seabee outfit mentioned above. WE had been building this pier and an adjoining one for months. We were standing on the beach getting ready to go out to the end of the pier when the explosion happened. Metal fragments started dropping almost immediately and we dove under a flat bed truck for protection. We saw what others saw and it was painful. Survivors were covered with black oil. They were transported to a new hospital that I also helped construct.

Edward Leaf December 2, 2016 at 1:35 pm

My grandfather, Walter S. Leaf, perished on the USS Mount Hood. I know very little about him other than he gave his life so that others could live.

Robin Holmes Richardson November 26, 2016 at 7:10 am

My father was there also, on shore. He was just telling me about this today.

Chris November 11, 2016 at 2:57 pm

My grandfather, Archie Trader, was assigned on the USS Mount Hood (AE-11), and one of the few survivors. He and about a dozen others from the Hood’s crew had made their way to shore for mail call and other various duties. Just as they arrived to shore, the explosion happened. My grandfather went on to live a long and happy life, and always said he was “living on borrowed time” and gave thanks to God nearly every day of his life. I cannot imagine what it was like to be a young man–half-way around the world, in the middle of a war–and everyone you’d come to know, to live with, and work next to, suddenly being killed in such a catastrophic event. God bless all those who were on the Hood and the surrounding ships.

Ron Haynes October 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm

My dad was there when this happen

Mark Swinney July 26, 2016 at 2:45 am

I’ve recently read a memoir written by a Mr David Greenroos on the website

He was a welder on the USS Mindanoa and was present during the explosion, the tale is VERY GRAPHIC and describes his experience during and after the explosion, it’s eleven pages long and he has a very detailed memory of what he went through.

He states that the reason for the explosion is known and was hidden away from being published, he states that he was told to never write or talk about it, but he felt that after all this time the truth needed to be told.

He states that the explosion was caused by a torpedo hit by a Japanese submarine, he actuay saw an unexploded Japanese torpedo that had missed the Mt Hood laying on a beach nearby and that it had Japanese lettering on it.

He states that he talked to other survivors that had seen the submarine that day.

I would tend to believe him as he has no reason to lie about his experience, go to the website and read what he has to say, the explosions cause is known and he lists his thoughts on why it was kept from the American people.

Tommy July 13, 2016 at 12:19 am

My uncle Oliver Austin “Buck” Grover just a young kid on his first deployment in the Navy died with the rest on the USS Mount Hood. The family got the knock at the door on Thanksgiving Day.

Brittany May 30, 2016 at 4:51 pm

My grandmother’s brother, Galen Ingram, lost his life on the Mount Hood… I never did know anything else about him, my grandma died before I could ask anymore questions.

j wolff September 28, 2015 at 4:28 am

My mother was just 18 yrs old when her husband was blown to bits on the USS Mt. Hood. She is 90 now , suffering from alzheimers disease . She has forgotten most of her life at this point,but She has never forgotten Troy Crow, her young handsome husband who perished along with so many others onboard the ship on Nov. 10 1944.

Rita Price May 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

My grandpa, William ‘Bill’ Grow, was a pipe fitter on the USS ARIES. He just passed 4\20\15. He told me of being on deck when the explosion happened. He said they were actually anchored next to the USS Mount Hood and the wind had just changed causing them to go behind the Mount Hood moments before the explosion. My Grandpa also said he would get paid a dollar a day to show films (movies) in the ship.

Bob DiChiara 1/10/15 January 10, 2015 at 7:40 pm

I am the last survivor of the Ammunition ship Red Oak Victory AK235. WE got out there and heard rumors about the Mt. Hood. Arriving in Ulithi they berthed us with around 4,000 tons of explosives in the next berth alongside the aircraft carrier Randolph(3,500 men.) one afternoon we received a request for ammo on an emergency level. A landing craft pulled up alongside us on our starboard side which faced the Randolph at dusk.By time we were ready it was dark and all the ships(over 800) in the harbor were blacked out except us. We had a floodlights over the hold and on the landing craft. Around 10 P.M.
2 men and I were on the landing craft guiding a net full of ammo coming down and I am facing the Randolph when a huge ball of flame explodes on the aft deck of the carrier followed by another huge ball of flame the 2 trailing edges of the kamikaze’s flames going over the bow! HAD ONE OF THOSE JAPANESE PLANES HIT US IN THE MIDDLE OF A NUMBER OF FIGHTING (NOT SUPPLY) SHIPS, I have no idea what the death toll would have been. The next day they moved us so far away, as a signalman I had no one to talk to.

David M. November 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm

My great-uncle was a signalman aboard the USS Aries nearby. I regret I never learned about the Hood explosion until after he had passed, so I never got the first-hand story from him.

Nevertheless, this incident is one of the few places I can find a reference to my uncle’s ship anywhere online. And it is illustrative of the fact that for every glamorous Carrier or Battleship, there were dozens of unsung cargo and repair vessels doing the work that made the navy run.


Hugh November 10, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Saw an LST loaded with ammo which had exploded in DaNang harbor. The upper deck was peeled back like a sardine tin, but not even close to this explosion

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