Interview With Alvin Hominda

From the interview with Alvin Hominda of Tacoma, WA conducted by Oran DeBois at the Fort Worden History Center on February 21, 2004. Mr. Hominda served in Company A of the 369th EASR at Fort Worden from 1950 to 1952.

Complete transcripts and recordings of this and all interviews conducted for the Fort Worden Oral History Program are available at a nominal fee to cover duplicating and shipping. Inquire at infocenter@fwfriends.org or 360.344.4481 for details.

Here Mr. Hominda discusses his military career:

“ I was inducted into the Army at Fort Lewis November 16th 1950. Approximately one month later was brought to Fort Worden, Washington. Took my basic training at Fort Worden. It was some of the time at Fort Lewis but the majority of the basic was at Fort Worden. It was in a boat, landing craft company, that was out of the Reserve outfit from Oregon that claimed us. We practiced land mines. That was in our basic boot camp, basic training. We did that here. Our machine gun firing live ammunition over our heads was all done at Fort Lewis. They would bus us down to Fort Lewis. Our rifle range was out on Discovery Bay. It was the CCC camp that built a firing range. We fired there. Our other training was right here on Fort Worden. We did everything here, from marching, learned to march, the simulated gun fire out in the parade fields, to you name it. The only things we did at Fort Lewis were just what we weren’t set up to do here.

After our training, I learned how to operate the boats, run the boats through the San Juans to Neah Bay, to La Push, to different places, made landings, simulated landings. We’re training to go to Korea. I had taken A Company to Greenland for three months that summer and then we came back and this was our home base. I was here all the time except for the time in Greenland and two different schools. A month before I was out of the Army, they took the boats and put them on LST’s and took them off the California coast for maneuvers which I didn’t partake in. I did take the last remaining troops out to the LST, but one month later I was out of the service.

I was a coxswain on the boats. I started with a rank as Recruit and got Sergeant. … These LST’s were built for the Sherman tanks. When we went on maneuvers I would haul the bulldozer, because we always took a bulldozer. We took an A frame that they pulled the boats up with when we used to work on them when we were at La Push or anyplace that we were going to be for a length of time, to repair the shafts and the props on the boats. We had one boat that was a landing craft, but it was made into a chow boat that we tied up and we ate off of on our maneuvers. Had another boat that was a machine shop so if a boat broke down underway they’d pull up and lash it on the side and keep it up and get it running again. I ran the salvage boat for a while just before I got out of the service.

I was in the first barracks coming through the main gate, that was A Company. There was A, B and C Company, Headquarters Company. The rest of our outfit was on Marrowstone Island. They were the combat engineers. We were the amphibious engineers. …Everybody from Marrowstone Island had to come over here too, from Fort Flagler. In fact, there for a while I’d run a boat back and forth before they had the bridge over there So those guys came into town. There was nothing at Fort Casey. I went to Fort Casey once and that was just a fire watch over there at the time. I dropped a truck off to bring supplies over there.

We used the boat harbor down at Hudson Point. The only company that used the boat harbor here was C Company because there wasn’t enough room to haul all the boats, but Hudson Point was completely filled with landing craft. Each one of the companies had what they call a crash boat, a 36 foot pleasure craft that the officers rode on when we went on maneuvers. We also had a Army tug down there. They used that for when we did night maneuvers, because it was equipped with radar and so forth, and we followed it. On those landing craft, we had no compass. You went from dead reckoning. In fact, when I took the one maneuver, we left at one o’clock in the morning from Wilson Point. As our number was called up, we went up to the command boat and that was a big one, 65 footer, all high officers on it. We were handed a chart with it mapped up which way we were supposed to go and where we were supposed to meet. You’re out there in the middle of the black Strait, you didn’t know how you’d find your way up through the San Juans until it got light.”

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