training people. Some of the departments even gained distinction, perhaps the most readily noted of which was that gained by the ship's gunners who shot down the fluttering red sleeves with their '41 vintage guns faster than the aircraft could stream new ones. On 30 January, the day of the final battle problem, all preparations and briefings were found to be complete and general performance sufficiently competent to earn a grade of high good for the ship. The engineers then put on a few extra turns and late the same afternoon, CACAPON dropped anchor in Long Beach Harbor.
Back to Bethlehem went CACAPON on 2 February for a few final adjustments. She moved to San Pedro Fuel Docks a week later to take on a full WestPac load of fuel, and on 10 February departed for Pearl Harbor, Yokosuka, and other points East.
The weather enroute was unusually rough, curtailing much of the planned maintenance. Commander Service Force noted in his inspection of the ship in Pearl Harbor on 17 February, that even though some areas of the ship looked good, there were still others with room for improvement. Somewhat more favorable weather prevailed during the balance of the crossing. The ship even had an opportunity to prove her underway replenishment capabilities by successfully refueling two divisions of destroyers prior to arrival in Yokosuka on 1 March.
Underway again on 4 March with Service Squadron THREE observers aboard, the ship tested her rigs by pumping to the ASHTABULA. The pumping was successful and all fuel samples were acceptable. However, an inspection of the ship's JP-5 piping system revealed a coating of rust on the inside of the pipes. On Friday, 6 March, the ship arrived in her second home port, Sasebo. The next day, COM3ERVRON THREE decided CACAPON was not ready to operate and ordered a restricted availability to clean the JP-5 piping system and accomplish other small but desirable jobs. This came as a frustrating blow to the ship, particularly since she had passed all the tests and had reported "ready" to COMSERVPAC. So, late that same afternoon, all aviation gasoline having been off-loaded, CACAPON steamed out to gas free her tanks. With the help of strong winds whipping off the coast of Korea, she returned gas free in record time and tied up alongside the dock sufficiently early to hold a Sunday evening liberty call.
The next ten days proved to be the best availability CACAPON had had in a long time. Most job orders submitted were readily approved, including one granting the ship more than 500 man days of labor to be utilized by the ship. The turning point came when COMSERVRON THREE personally came aboard and expressed satisfaction with and confidence in the ship.
CACAPON was now ready to "go on the line". She left Sasebo loaded down to draft for her first WestPac commitment, a rendezvous with and refueling of units of Task Group 70.4 on 18 March. The message at the conclusion of the exercise from the Task Group Commander was a fine compliment for the previous months of training and preparations.
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