George H. Horton

Branches of Military Service I Served In:

U.S. Navy Serial Number 202-04-66, U.S. Army & Massachusetts National Guard Serial Number 21295699, U.S. Air Force Serial Number AF21295699.  Also sailed ships in Merchant Marines.

My Naval service ships I served on:  USS San Diego CL-53, a Light Cruiser 9 Battle Stars, USS LST 970 1 Battle Star, USS Midway CV41 Aircraft Carrier, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CV42 Aircraft Carrier, USS Lake Champlain CV39 Aircraft Carrier, USS Leyte CV32 Aircraft Carrier, USS Pocono AGC16 Communications Ship, USS Missouri BB63 Battleship, Bombing and Fighting Squadron 74 (VBF74) Fighting Squadron Two Baker (VF2B) plans were F4U4 Corsairs, Utility Squadron Four (VU4) planes were Culver Cadet (Drone) PBY Flying Patrol Bomber.

My Combat history:  While aboard the Light Cruiser USS Sand Diego CL-53 I was in the following Battles and Campaigns:

With Task Force 61 during torpedo attack by enemy submarine 31 Aug 1942.  6 Sep 1942 with Task Force 17 during enemy submarine attach at Guadalcanal.  7 Sep 1942 attacked by enemy submarine.  15 Sep 1942 submarine attack by enemy submarine 3 ships of task force sunk or damaged Aircraft Carrier USS Wasp was sunk.  5 Oct 1942 with Task Force 17 during air attack on enemy shipping in Buin-Faisi-Shortland area, two enemy planes were shot down.  16 Oct 1942 attacked enemy vessels in Solomon Islands area.  26 Oct 1942 Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, we shot down two torpedo planes and three Horizontal Bombers.

This was a sad day for us.  The Famed Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet CV-8 was sunk.  This is the ship that Colonel Jimmy Doolittle Raiders bombed Tokyo from.  My ship the USS San Diego CL-53 took Hornet Survivors from the Destroyer Hughes and took them to Noumea New Caledonia in the French Loyalty Islands.  22 Jan 1943 enemy bombing raid at night on Espiritu Santos in New Hebrides Islands.

26 Jan 1943 enemy night bombing raid at Espiritu Santos in New Hebrides Islands.  30 Jan 1943 with Task Force 16 during enemy air attack.  27 Jun to 23 Jul 1943 supported the occupation of New Georgia Island and Munda Air Fields.  14 Sep 1943 present in harbor during night bombing raid on Espiritu Santos in the New Hebrides Chain.  1 and 2 Nov 1943 made strikes on Buka Island in Northern Solomons.  5 Nov 1943 launched first strike against Japanese base at Rabul.  5 Nov 1943 launched second strike at Rabul New Britain.  11 Nov 1943 launched heavy strike at Rabul.  19 Nov 1943 made airstrikes on Japanese held island of Nauru.  24 to 29 Nov 1943 assault and occupation of Japanese held islands of Makin and Tarawa Atolls in the Gilbert Islands.  4 Dec 1943 launched attacks against Japanese bases Gilbert Islands.  4 Dec 1943 launched attacks against Japanese bases Kwajalein and Wotje in Marshall Islands.  4 to 5 Dec 1943 we were attacked by 7 Japanese torpedo planes, 6 of them were shot down by ships gun fire.  We were again attacked at night by Japanese aircraft that were based at Wotje and two more were shot down during this 7 1/2 hour attack.  29 Jan to Feb 4 attacked the enemy strongholds of Kwajalein Roi in the Marshall Islands.  16 to 17 Feb 1944 first penetration of Caroline Islands by American Naval Forces on the fortress of Truk.  Severe loss to enemy shipping planes and installations we were under Japanese night air attack.  20 Feb 1944 attacked enemy held island of Jaluit in Marshall Islands.  19 to 21 May 1944 made offensive sweep north of Marcus Island.  23 May 1944 made strikes on enemy held Wake Island.  11 to 13 Jun 1944 attacked Saipan and Pagan Islands in the Marianas 7 enemy planes shot down.  15 Jun 1944 attacked Japenese base in Bonin Islands.  16 Jun 1944 attacked Japanese held island of Iwo Jima.  19 Jun 1944 attacked island of Guam.  We were attacked repeatedly by Japanese torpedo planes and bombers.  19 to 30 Jun 1944 attackes against Marianas Islands Guam, Rota, and Pagan Islands.  Participated in occupation of Tinian Islands.

While on the LST (Landing Ship Tank) 970 I was in the following battles:  1 July 1945 participated in operations at Kerama Retto and Okinawa in the Ryukyus Islands in action against enemy planes.  On Okinawa on night of 24 May 1945.  15 Oct 1945 participated in the initial invasion and occupation of Japan at Wakayama Island of Honshu from 25 Sep 1945 to 1 Oct 1945.  30 Oct to 2 Nov 1945 landed Army troops and vehicles at Nagoya, Japan.

Places I have been on USS San Diego CL-53:  Boston, MA, Norfolk, VA, Portland, ME, Cape Cod Canal, Annapolis, MD, Panama Canal, San Diego, CA, Efate New Hebride, Majuro Atoll Marshall Islands, Vajello, CA, Marianas Islands, Crossed Equator several times, Iwo Jima, Pearl Harbor, HI, Noumea New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, Santa Cruz Islands, Espiritu Santos, Auckland, New Zealand, San Francisco, CA, Wake Island, Eniwetok Atoll.  Left ship in Aug 1944 for rehabilitation to leave to the States.

Places I have been on LST 970:  Pearl Harbor, HI, Eniwetok Marshalls, Guam Marianas, Ulithi Atoll, Kerama Retto Okinawa, Okinawa, Leyte Phillipines, Wakayama and Nagoya Japan.

My duties aboard the USS Sand Diego CL-53 Light Cruiser.  Assigned 3rd Division work area starboard side topside.  Mess Cook, Compartment Cleaner, Captain of the Head Boat Crew Whaleboat and Motor launch.  Special Cleaning Station.  Ships Painter.  Admirals Orderly.  Shell handler lower handling room Turret 8.  Shell handler upper handling room Turret 8.  Shell loader port 5 inch gun Turret 8.  Gun Captain port gun Turret 8.  During this time Turret 8 was awarded the Navy E for efficiency in gunnery on the 5 inch gun.  In Turret 8 we were allowed to wear the Navy E for one year with 5 dollars a month added to our pay.  Stood depth charge watches for 300 and 600 pounders.  Special Sea Detail.  Stood watch on torpedo tubes.

My duties on LST 970 (Landing Ship Tank).  Coxswain on Port (LCVP) Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel.  Paint Locker.  Helmsman (Steered ship).  Deck Maintenance.  Load and unload cargo and ammunitions.  Make spoke by taking my LCVP about 100 yards in front of ship so that Kamakaze planes could not spot us.  Made mail runs and Guard mail runs to the beach.  Take wounded and deceased military hospital ship.  Took liberty parties ashore and returned them to shop.  Sentry duty all types for underwater swimmers and enemy boats loaded with explosives.  Took Army troops in my boat to make landings on beaches.

My duties while assigned to VBF 74 Fighting and Bombing Squadron 74 while stationed at Oceana Naval Station Virginia and while aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CV42 and USS Midway CV41.  Worked on Flight Line that had 32 F4U4 Corsairs.  Drove gas and oil truck fueled aircraft 3 times a day when flying.  Had to remove and put in 32 parachutes in planes on flying days.  Was a member of the Crash Crew.  Was responsible for getting 4 aircraft ready for flight, untie them run up engines and for securing them at night.  On carriers I was a plane captain and got planes ready for flight.  Was responsible for the hurricane locker.  Did statistical studies on aircraft as to how much fuel they were using.  On land towed aircraft and taxied same to bore sight range.

The following ships I served on when I was on Admiral Mark A. Mitschers Staff as part of the boat crew for the Admirals Barge.  Also we had a 25 foot plane personnel boat called a Skimmer that the Admirals Chief of Staff Commodore Arleigh Burke better known as 31 Knot Burke used it was faster that the Admirals Barge.  Other than keep the boats clean and take the Admiral and Commodore where they wanted to go we would make on guard mail trip a day excluding Sundays.  Real rough duty.  When we went to New York on the FDR Carrier I was one of the side boys who rode in the Admirals car and opened the door and saluted when he go in or out of the staff car.  USS Leyte CV32, USS FDR CVB42, USS Missouri BB63, USS Pocono AGC 16, USS Lake Champlain CV39.  On the Admirals Barge I was Bow Hook on the Skimmer I was the Coxswain.

While with the Massachusetts National Guard.  I was a Scout Sergeant with the 211th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.  I was Motor Sergeant with the 126th Heavy Tank Battalion, 26th Yankee Division.  My duties were to take care of 7 heavy tanks, 4 jeeps, 42 1/2 ton trucks and 2 half trucks.  Instructed on maintenance and care of vehicles, firing of small arms, mortars and tank weapons.  Was in charge of convoys and readying vehicles for parades.  Went on active duty to Fort Knox Kentucky armored school for 6 months.  Was selected by Charlie Company to carry the Field Expedience Cup in all parades.  Left the 126th Heavy Tank Battalion Yankee Division to join the Army Air Force.

My duty with the U.S. Air Force.  23 Sep 1949 went to Lackland Air Force base for Basic Training.  Went to Automotive school at Atlanta Gen Depot Atlanta, Georgia.  Next went to Kelly AFB, Texas 25th Vehicle Repair Squadron as a Classification Specialist.  Then went to Hill AFB Utah with the 25th Veh Rep Sq as a Classification Specialist.  Was advanced to Sr Career Guidance Specialist.  Was transferred to 2949th Maint Gp at Hill AFB Utah.  Was transferred to HQ OOAMA Hill AFB and was assigned the following assignments.  Assignment Clerk, Shipment and Assignment Clerk and Assignment Supervisor.  Transferred to 2949th Aircraft Repair Squadron as First Sgt.  Was then transferred to HQ OOAMA in the position of Administrative Supervisor and Personnel Supervisor.  Transferred to 2922 Area Maintenance Group as Group Sgt Major.  Was then transferred to the 3rd Material Recovery Squadron as First Sgt Personnel Supervisor and whenever a group or squadron was having problems I was sent in to get the unit straightened out.  The 3rd Material Recovery Squadron was scheduled to go to Korea.  The men did not like their present First Sergeant and went to the Base Commander to see if I would go with them to Korea.  The base commander authorized it and I could not return down such a request.  We went to Okinawa instead of Korea, we were then transferred to FEACOM Air Base, Japan.  I was then transferred to HQ 6400 Supply Group at FEACOM APO 323 as a Personnel Supervisor and later as Personnel Sgt Major.  I returned from overseas and was assigned as First Sgt of 502nd Material Squadron, Youngstown Municipal Airport, Ohio.  I was transferred to 4670th Ground Observer Corps New Haven, Conn as First Sgt and Education Specialist.

NOTE:  While at Kadena AFB on Okinawa I was awarded the Amy Commendation Medal for:  While assigned to the 3rd Material Recovery Squadron even thought the Squadron was assigned housing in various units off base because of scarcity of housing, their mission was rather nebulous in that the groups were assigned various duties about the base that split them up.  Dependent travel was not authorized for dependents and members of the squadron were in constant expectation of movement orders.  TSgt Horton has a much greater morale problem than a normal organization at this station because of the above other than normal problems.

Places I have been with the U.S. Air Force:  San Antonio, TX, Kelly AFB, TX, Atlanta General Depot (school) Atlanta, GA, Hill AFB, UT, Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, Youngstown Municipal Airport, OH, Ground Observer Corps, New Haven, CT, Denver, CO Electronic School, Carswell AFB, TX, McConnell AFB, KS, England Greenham Common Brie Norton Upper Heyford RAF Bases, Fairbanks AK, Anchorage, AK, Lincoln AFB, BNebraska Jet Bailout School and Rapid Decompression.

NOTE:  29 Nov 1950 Corporal Geroge H Horton was named Airman of the Month at Hill AFB, UT.

While member of the 126th Heavy Tank Battalion I was assigned Military Police duties for the peacetime draft and was in charge of the Riot Control and Protection of government property.

In 1947 I was assigned to Utility Squadron four VU4 at Chincoteague Naval Air Station Virginia.  Drove gas truck prepared drones for flight and wnet in PBY to tow socks for the fleet to shoot at.  When I left there for Norfolk, VA for separation the twin engine plan I was flying I was flying in lost one engine.  We made an emergency landing the Port tire blew out and the nose wheel collapsed.  When I got on the the concrete ramp my legs collapsed.  A chief put me in a jeep and took me to the Chief’s Club and bought me two drinks of whiskey and then I was alright.

Assigned to 28 Munitions Maintenance Squadron Carswell AFB Texas loading munitions and nuclear weapons on B-47, B-52 and B-58 bombers.  In charge of convoys taking weapons from base to storage area.  Was small arms instructor squadron.  Transferred from Carswell AFB, TX to McConnell AFB, KS and was assigned to SAC MEST (Munitions Evaluation Standardization Team) and elite outfit we went anywhere in the world to check out the B-47, B-52 and B-58 bombers.  Attended Nuclear Weapons Safety Course.  Went to scenes of bomber crashes to remove nuclear remnants prior to aircraft crash investigation for safety.

Supervisor for loading and unloading nuclear weapons.  Did maintenance and loading of 20mm Gatling guns.  Was munitions line chief on B-58 Bomber.  Was discharged from McConnell AFB, KS.

Military Schools I went to:  Boot Camp, Newport, RI, Basic Training, San Antonio, TX, Auto Body Repairman, Atlanta, GA, Motor and Tank Vehicle Course, Fort Knox, KY, Combat and Patrolling of Individual Soldier, OH, Leadership 1, Carswell AFB, TX, Military Justice Course, New Haven, CT, Nuclear Weapons and Safety Course, McConnell AFB, KS, Basic Vehicle Maintenance Course, Fort Knox, KY, Senior NCO Academy, Ayer, MS, Fire Control Systems Mechanic, Lowry AFB, CO, Ground Observer Course, Tyndal AFB, FL, Weapons Mechanic, Carswell AFB, TX, Rapid Decompression and Bailout from Ejection Seat, Lincoln AFB, NE, Lincoln Institute of Practical Nursing, CA.

Civilian Honors Bestowed:  Admiral Nebraska State Navy, Admiral State of Kentucky, Key to City of Boston Massachusetts, Kentucky Colonel State of Kentucky, Member of Combined Veteran Honor Guard, Humanitarian Award Ogden Utah, Diploma from the French Embassy for helping France regain its liberty, and Awarded the Chinese War Memorial Medal.

We honor you, George Horton.

(Submission by:  Ninzel Rasmuson; autobiography provided to Ninzel Rasmuson by George Horton at George’s veteran home; photo taken by Ninzel Rasmuson on August 3, 2018).

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