It was several moments before full realization came over the nearest onlookers of the tragic event. They had just witnessed the ammunition ship U.S.S. MT. HOOD blowing up. Burning powder fragments were falling all around, as were also nearly invisible bits of white hot steel. Suddenly, with a very loud thud, an unexploded five-inch shell landed on the starboard side of the main deck of the CACAPON. For a few seconds only, everyone in the vicinity stared at it dumb- foundedly, then two men went into action quickly, Gunner's mate first class Richard J. Hess and Seaman first class Arthur P. La Fiedr rushed to the shell, picked it up, and jettisoned it over the side. For their cool thinking and prompt action, they may well have prevented a serious accident, each of the men was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
V - "The Year 1945"
Although U.S.S. CACAPON ushered the new year of 1945 at Manus Island, she was shortly destined for a change of scene. On the 8th of January, the CACAPON set sail for Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands for duty once more with Admiral Halsey's THIRD Fleet.
With other vessels of Task Unit 30.8.12 she left Ulithi on 12 January 1945 to provide logistic services to Task Force 38 in its series of strikes against Luzon and Formosa, returning to Ulithi on 27 January to reload.
Early on the morning of 8 February, CACAPON again set forth from Ulithi, this time as a unit of Task Group 50.8 under command of Rear Admiral D. B. Beary in U.S.S. DETROIT (CL-8), and headed for a distant rendezvous in the forward area to furnish support to Task Force 58 there conducting strikes against the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kobe, and Nagoya. On completion of this operation, Task Group 50.8 proceeded on a mission in support of the forces engaged in the invasion of Iwo Jima.
Lieutenant Commander George Eyth, USNR, who commanded the CACAPON since commissioning; was relieved by Commander George D. Arntz, USNR, on 3 March 1945 and Lieutenant Howard G. Dean, USNR, Executive Officer since January 1944, was relieved by Lieutenant Frank H. Phillips, USNR.
From 7 March to 19 March, the CACAPON served as station tanker ia San Pedro at Leyte Island in the Philippines, fueling various units of the SEVENTH Fleet after which she returned once more to Ulithi and the FIFTH Fleet. On completion of reloading at Ulithi on 23 March, the CACAPON commenced a three-month period of operation as a unit of Task Group 50.8 in support of the Okinawa campaign, providing services to units of Task Force 58 in the "objective area", returning to Ulithi periodically to reload whenever her cargo was expended.
The 3rd of July 1945 marked the beginning of a seven weeks period of continuous underway operations. As a part of Task Group 30,8, the CACAPON together with other auxiliaries and escorts, provided logistic
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