John C. Clement


Clement, John C., SH-3 - S Div - 1948-1949 - - Submitted 3/16/07

I reported aboard Summer 1948 at Tsingtao, China where ESTES was flagship for Commander Western Pacific Forces. Never got underway until early 1949 when ESTES was relieved by ELDORADO AGC 11. I helped put her into mothballs at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco.


At left, Commanding Officer W.B. Davidson, Captain, USN and Executive Officer J.A. Eastwood, Commander, USN
at Tsingtao football game.

Coupon booklet for Enlisted Club at Tsingtao.

ELDORADO AGC 11 arriving to relieve ESTES.

Executive Officer checking sea bags of flag staff for ESTES property as they transfer personal effects to ELDORADO.

Clement, John C., SH-3 - S Div - 1948-1949 - - Submitted 3/19/07

Memories of a De-Commissioning

According to my service transcript, I left ESTES in August 1949.

Your history at says "decommissioning on 30 June 1949."

And I was there, but I have absolutely no recollection of the event that happened over fifty-seven years ago. If I had brochures or pamphlets, they would be with my ESTES photos.

My mother saved all the letters that I wrote to her and passed them on to me several years ago. On 8 July 1949, I wrote: "On the 30th of June the Estes was officially put out of commission and is now no more. Everyone was transfered to new assignments on that date, except for a few of us in the Supply Department. We must stay to finish up all the last minute details, probably until 31 July."

There are a couple of things I do recall about the moth balling.

1. Highly pifferable items, like binoculars, foul weather jackets, etc, were inventoried by the Supply Department people, placed in storerooms. The doors to the storerooms were then welded shut. I recall binoculars coming in, inventoried, taken back in to the storeroom, slipped under a jacket and then right back out of the storeroom.

2. Most equipment had to be taken apart, cleaned up, preservatives added, then wrapped up in some kind of high quality wrapping paper. When time came to wrapp them up, there were parts left over. These parts went over the side.

It must have been a mess when ESTES went back in commission.

Hey, I see I wrote to mom again about ESTES on 23 Aug 1949.
"We weren't able to finish up on the Estes on the first of the month as originally scheduled - but finally buttoned her up on the 15th after the Pacific Reserve Fleet inspector's approval. Cuss 'em."

"Here we were, trying to do the work of storekeepers when only one of us was qualified for that type work, and he had to work on the accounts so he wasn't of much help. There was I, a laundryman, the Chief Cook, a Baker First Class, two cook strikers, two storekeeper strikers, plus two Supply Officers."

"What I am driving at is here we were, trying to do the work the way the inspectors wanted it, when none of us knew what we were doing. We would never know we were doing anything incorrect until we were finished - when the inspectors then informed us of that fact. Nine times out of ten, we had to do it all over again."

"On the sixteenth of July 1949 we were relieved of our burden. Each of us got thirty days leave with order to report back to the Receiving Station at Treasure Island, San Francisco."

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