Assistant Industrial Manager, FIFTH Naval District. Commander Augustine, in appropriate ceremony, turned over command of the U.S.S. CACAPON to Lieutenant Commander George Eyth, DM, USNR, the first commanding officer.
III - "The Year 1943"
The day following the commissioning of U.S.S. CACAPON was spent in provisioning and fueling at Port Covington, Maryland. Two days later the ship was enroute to the Norfolk Navy Yard at Portsmouth, Virginia. During this passage the time was profitably spent in indoctrinating the crew in the operation and use of the ship's equipment and machinery. The "measured mile" was run - at an average speed of 19.7 knots - and "crash back" exercises conducted. On 27 September the ship moored at the Marginal Wharf, Norfolk Navy Yard, for a six day availability period. On 2 October the ship was depermed at Lambert's Point, Virginia, after which she returned to Hampton Roads.
Early on October 3, 1943 the CACAPON got underway to commence her "shake-down cruise" in Chesapeake Bay. During this cruise the tactical characteristics were checked against the Model - Basin data off Wolf Light; the radio direction-finder was calibrated off Cape Charles City; the magnetic compasses were compensated and the degaussing system was calibrated. Structural test-firing of the armament was completed, and both surface and anti-aircraft gunnery practices were conducted. Numerous emergency drills were conducted to insure the familiarity of all hands with their proper stations and duties. Various speed trials and other engineering drills were also conducted during this period. On completion of this shake-down training cruise the ship returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard for an eight day post-shakedown availability.
At 1600, October 22, 1943 U.S.S. CACAPON, in ballast with U.S.S. OVERTON (APD-23) as escort, set sail from Norfolk, Virginia to Aruba Island in the Dutch West Indies, arriving at Nicholas Bay, Aruba on 26 October. There the CACAPON discharged her fresh water ballast ashore and took her first full load of Navy Special Fuel Oil and aviation gasoline. The two ships departed from Aruba on 27 October and set course for the Panama Canal, which they transited on 29 October mooring at Balboa City docks on completion of the transit. Two days later U.S.S. CACAPON and U.S.S. OVERTON headed for Pearl Harbor, T.H., arriving there on 12 November 1943.
In order to give the CACAPON an opportunity to gain a little actual experience in underway replenishment operations before sending her out to join the fleet, a group consisting of U.S.S. CACAPON, USS SAUGATUCK, U.S.S. ELDEN and U.S.S. HONOLULU left Pearl Harbor on 19 November to conduct fueling exercises about 200 miles northeast of Pearl Harbor, returning to Pearl Harbor on completion of the exercises.
When, shortly after returning to Pearl Harbor, the ship began to load to full operational capacity, conjectures were quickly made that the CACAPON was at last about to embark on her first major operation
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