MITTENDORF, RALPH JR
VETERAN OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES
RALPH MITTENDORF, JR.
Navy - Rank: MOMM 3/C
(Motor Machine Mechanic)
1944 – 1946
Served in Pacific Theater
Military Honors and Awards:
Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign
American Area campaign Medal
I served in the U. S. Navy from February 1944 to April 1946. I was a Motor Machinist Mate 3/C on the U.S.S. Birgit AKA24 (Auxillary Kargo Amphibias). This meant that I was a mechanic on landing crafts. I took care of keeping machinery in operation. When not on the landing craft I was a fireman in the ship’s engine room.
Our ship served in the South Pacific. We were in the area of the big battles at Okinawa and Iwo Jima but our ship was never in battle.
We entered the South Pacific area through the Panama Canal and on to Hawaii and to the Marshall Islands. We ran shuttle service around there for a few months with the landing crafts. I went to Saipan and Guam for training exercises (mock invasion) getting ready for the invasion of Okinawa. When ready to leave for Okinawa the main turbine shaft on the ship snapped and we had to go back to Hawaii for repairs. Therefore we missed the invasion of Okinawa.
After our ship was repaired we went to Mindanao Island to pick up occupation troops to take to Japan. Then we went back out the second time to pick up more occupation troops. We took them to Japan at Kure near Hiroshima. While on the LCM (landing craft) taking troops off our ship, my foot slipped in oil and pushed my ankle into a rotation drive shaft. It tore the hide out below my ankle bone. This put me out of commission and in sick bay on the ship. Thus I was docked at Japan but never set foot on Japanese soil.
After leaving Japan we made several trips taking troops and nurses from the Philippines back to San Francisco. We then went back through the Panama Canal to Orange, Texas to de-commission the ship.
During my time in service I was awarded the Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the American Area Campaign Medal.