A SUB-SAILORS VISIT TO CHICHI JIMA
One of the most interesting and rewarding results of publishing my
Chichi Jima page to the web has been the resulting contacts and
friendships that I have established. A prime example of this is
the e-mail that I received from Chris Smith who happened to find my
page while researching a story that his father had related to
him. Chris' father is Carl Smith, who was a Third Class Torpedo
Mechanic on the USS Sabalo, pictured above, during the Korean War
era. This submarine experienced some sort of mechanical
difficulty which resulted in the need to pull into the harbor at Chichi
Jima for repairs. Thus he and the crew had an opportunity
to explore the island for several days and take a few pictures.
The pictures are dated January, 1953. (I was a sophomore in high
school at that time.) The picture above shows the Sabalo arriving
at Pearl Harbor, and in fact, the sailor shown on the bow of the sub
with coiled rope in hand, is in fact, Carl Smith.
The picture above shows Sabalo at anchor in Futami Ko, the harbor at
Chichi Jima. It appears to be taken at or near the pier at Omura.
This picture shows Carl Smith in the hatch aft of Sabalo's conning
Here is Carl Smith in front of
one of the many tunnel entrances found
on Chichi. I note the jacket which we commonly had to wear on
Chichi during January. It never got really cold, but could be
chilly at times.
This photo shows an additional tunnel entrance near the one shown
above. Chichi had many tunnels and caves. He described one
tunnel large enough to allow trucks to pass each other, and some had
airplanes, stacks of Japanese rifles, and Japanese "Long Lance"
torpedoes. He related that some of the caves had strong gasoline
fumes and they did not stay long, fearing a spark might set off an
Pictured above are four other sailor friends of Carl Smith as they
explored the island.
This picture shows Carl sitting in a burned out Japanese "jeep".
This picture interested me in that the building immediately behind the
vehicle was built by our Navy, and was our mess hall. The
building on the right is a reinforced concrete Japanese building that
was used as our BOQ. Before that it was used as a
dispensary by our Navy. In fact, my wife had her appendix removed
by a Navy doctor in that
building as a young child.
I can tell from the landmarks that this photo was taken from the north
end of the harbor, looking west toward the harbor mouth and Welcome
Rock. It shows some sunken vessels. Much of this had
been removed by salvaging companies by the time I was on the
Carl Smith provided several other pictures, not really related to
Chichi Jima, but still interesting.
This is a small 40 foot vessel that was dispatched by the 50 cal.
machine gun on the sub's deck. For obvious reasons, they had to
deal severely with any vessels with radio antennae. This was
the coast of Korea.
Above is a picture of the USS Pickerel as it rockets to the
surface. This picture was taken by a Navy cameraman from the deck
of the Sabalo. This picture appeared in various newspapers as
Two pictures of Carl Smith on deck of USS Sabalo dated May 1953, Naha,
Smith at the deck gun aboard Sabalo
Carl Smith on Sabalo deck with carrier Point Cruz in background, May
Carl Smith at the plane control wheel of the USS Sabalo
Carl and son, Chris at the controls of the USS Drum, a museum sub in
USS Sabalo Ball Team
I am especially pleased that Chris Smith contacted me after finding my
Chichi web site and that he and his father were willing to share these
pictures with me and allow me to publish them on my webpage.