Saturday, October 4, 2008

USS General Simon B Buckner

When I was about 10 my mother, siblings and I left Germany on a naval ship. We left Bremerhaven Germany and came back to the states, landing in New York 11 days later. The ship was so big and I always remembered it. I remember the name of the ship
(the USS General Simon B Buckner). With this great technology called the internet I have been able to find a picture of that ship and wow, it does not look as big as I always pictured in my mind. I remember a bad storm and I remember calling it a big boat and the sailors telling me that it was not a boat. What an adventure for us. My dad had told me to make sure I ate and kept my head up so that I would not get sick. And that is what I did, my mother and siblings all got sick but I did not, I ate every meal. And I remember eating the most delicious meals. One day my Mother was too sick too go to dinner so my brothers, sister and I went to dinner alone, I ordered apple pie ala mode. I had always heard about it
but had never had it before. I did not know that it was apple pie with ice cream on top. My brother's laughed and laughed at me, my mother have made that for us so many times. Anyway this is a picture of that ship. Click here to see the ship.
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/i05000/i05100c.htm

37 comments:

Waterrose said...

What a great story and memory. I flew back and forth to Berlin when DH was in the military and thought the trip was LONG! The ship would be fun rather than tedious I think.

Anonymous said...

Wow...wonder if we were on the ship at the same time? The captain said we were in the worst storm he had been in on the Atlantic in 18 years! I remember the boy in the stateroom next to us fell out of his bunk and broke his arm. I remember seeing nothing but water out of the portals. My parents were both sick too but I was not! I remember the playroom and looking at the Statue of Liberty out of the portal. My brother and I both came down with German Measles on that sailing! It was 1964.

Stormee said...

We came back before 1964. It was around 1959. But we came through a rough storm too. Thanks for sharing your experience. Little did I know that someone else would write that they had sailed on the same ship.

Roger said...

I left San Francisco in July 1954 on the Buckner bound for Yokohama Japan, arriving there 11 days later. Great Ship

Anonymous said...

I came back from Germany in Feb. 1962 on the USS Randall, after having been extended during the Berlin crisis. It took 8 days and was a pretty smooth ride. The prettiest sight I ever saw was the statue of liberty as we came past Ellis Island. Man was I proud to be home after two and a half years.

Anonymous said...

Our Army unit sailed on


the USS Buckner to Germany in November of 1961. I remember the seas being real rough. The front of the ship would go up and when it came down it would go "Boom,Boom,Boom", and you could feel it all over the ship. I thought we were going to sink!

Anonymous said...

My family (my parents and my older brother) sailed on the Buckner, as well. It was 1960, or so my brother says, and he remembers the trip much better than I do, since I was only 8 years old at the time.

I do remember a few things. The hellatious storm, for one thing. As kids, we exhibited the proper state of fear by rolling our cars up and down the corridors of the ship as it plowed through the terrific swells.

I vaguely remember watching "The FBI Story" in the ship's theater. IMDB puts the release date as Oct 1959, so if our journey wasn't in 1960, it was pretty close.

I remember that the chairs in the dining hall were chained to the floor and that one of the chairs had torn loose from the storm and put a dent in the wall.

Stormee said...

To Annon, your experience sounds familiar. My mother's chair went sliding across the dining room floor the first day of the storm and hit the wall. That is funny I ran around that ship so much in those 11 days and if we was on that same ship we probably saw each other. I also remember the waves coming up over the deck and a rumor that someone had been swept overboard.

ridgerunner said...

I came back on the S.B. Buckner in the early/mid-part of January 1964 (Im thinking it was the 9th to 20th) We were told we had skirted the edge of an Atlantic Hurricane for most of the trip.

I was in the Troop Area and worked the Galley. A very interesting place to work. I did most of my sleeping in the Galley area, the troop area was a nightmare with sick soldiers.

Anonymous said...

I traveled from Bremerhaven to NYC on the Buckner in 1964 with my parents and older sister. I was about 7 back then. I remember when we first entered the ship, there were a bunch of comic books laid out on the floor of the lobby for sale.
I got seasick and ate nothing but oranges and crackers the whole time.
There were armed soldiers standing guard outside on the deck to keep us young ones from falling overboard.
There was a dance of some sort in the playroom on the upper deck. I also remember the movie theatre.

There is a website www.militarybrat.com/buckner.cfm
that has more pictures of the Buckner. It finally went to the scrap heap around 1997.

Rafee said...

Ray said...
I sailed on the Buckner in Jan. 1960, on my way to Bremerhaven. I was told by a veteran to eat every meal. I took his advise, and did not get sick. One morning at breakfast someone had not latched down a port window; as a result of a huge wave opening the unlatched window and drenched about 40 of us GI's. We had 40 ft. waves when crossing the English channel. I thought at the time about how the rough seas at the time of the Normandy invasion.

Anonymous said...

Sailed this ship June/July 1966 while in the US Army on my way to my new duty station in Germany. The military quarters were never to be forgotten. Hundreds of troops stacked five high, many getting sick day and night with very limited and sporadic access to fresh air. Still, the memory's are good.

3rd brigade said...

I also sailed this ship June, July 1966 for Army duty in Munich Germany. I have two issues (1 and 3) of the ship newspaper "Buckner Banner". The movie schedule is for June 27 to July 5th. I never got sick but always seemed a little light headed. I know we could not go up top for at least a couple of days because of rough weather. What amazed me the most was the birds and garbage floating in the middle of the ocean, fifteen hundred miles from any land. I had two friends on the paper staff and I think my duty was to clean up the theater after movies.

bd_newsletters said...

Sailed on the General Buckner on those same dates (June 27 to July 5th, 1966) on the way to my new duty station in Germany. Slept with the troops, five high in those smelling "stink holes". Worked in the mess hall during the time on the ship. Have a few photos to remind me of that "cruise ship".

Anonymous said...

I shipped aboard the Buckner in 1960 and again in 1963, going to and coming from Bremerhaven. I was in the 3rd Infantry Division. The 1960 crossing was in May and was flat calm. The crossing in 1963 was in December and was extremely rough. I ran the game room for kids and the Bingo game for adults.

Ben said...

I returned to the States in Feb of 1963 on The Buckner, after serving in Berlin for two years, in one of the worst experiences of my young life. As soon as we left the English Channel the waves were so large that no one was allowed on deck for the remaining seven days. I was unable to eat anything except crackers, especially after seeing soldiers throw up in the drinking fountains. Since we couldn't go on deck, everything belong began to smell something horrible. I left my clothes in my duffel bag and didn't open said bag for about six weeks, at which time I thought I would die. But even worse was the day that a toilet overflowed and as the ship went up and down, the water in the head flowed back and forth until some brave soul stepped in and fixed the plumbing. Yikes. The first time that the screws came out of the water, and the ship began to shake like a rat in the jaws of a dog, some guy jumps up in the dark and screams "The boat is going down!." Funny now, not then.

diahrensal said...

My sister and I sailed on the Buckner in late summer of 1964 when we were returning stateside to go to college after being dependents in Mannheim. I remember having a great time with all the other college bound dependents.

carter hopkins said...

I returned to the U.S. from Japan in 1950 as the Korean War started.My family was among those first dependents allowed to go to Japan.We lived at Itazuki a.f.b. I remember an inordinate amount of drinking during the first part of the voyage.It was not until years later I realized the cause for celebration,those aboard had avoided the Korean War.At least for the time being. We put in at Fort Mason,SanFrancisco.In the mid 1970s while drift fishing on the James River my Father and I came upon the Buckner again.She was anchored as part of the moth-balled fleet in the lower James.thanks,CARTER COWAN

BellaLinda said...

Our family included 7 children and two adults. We sailed from Bremerhaven to New York in April1966. No room was large enough for our family. I think we had two kids in each room and the baby with mom and dad. We were so sick and the bathrooms were not in our rooms. This was no cruise ship. Nice to read about others who sailed the USN Buckner. Hello to all of you.
Linda in Georgia (right next to Fort Benning).

Dan said...

I sailed on this ship to join the 24th Infantry Division in Augsburg FRG the first week of August 1966. 8 days of pleasent weather except for the English Channel which was rough. Food was bad as I recall. Other than that not a bad trip.

Anonymous said...

I came to America in 1956 on that ship, with my brothers, Mom and my father who was an American soldier. I was only 3, I remember the bad weather and storms, I was sea-sick all the way. We had life jacket drills. It was an experience, and I'm glad to have sailed on her.

aerichter39 said...

I sailed for Bremmberhaven G from Norfork Va on 12/7/1958 arriving on 12/19/1958. It was a rough ride but a good memory. We gyro with the 2nd Howitzer Bat 37th Artillery out of Ft Polk

AER

Amanda Hall said...

My grandmother and her husband came over on that ship. She was from Germany and had two children. Is there anyway to find out Who all was on the ship and about the journey from Germany to New York? I have had no luck in finding any information about this finding. Please let me know! my email is mandas2cute2004@yahoo.com

Mike Baginy said...

Wow, reading all these comments bring back so many memories. My sister and I were army brats. April 1965 we sailed from Bremerhaven to New York via Shouthampton. (My father was transferred from Berlin, then Bamberg to Camp Kilmer, N.J.) The Atlantic was rough, I was sea sick all the time. I recall the dining room with apples and oranges rolling across the floor and us holding on to the table which was bolted to the floor. I also recall "Roll out the Barrel" being played over and over on the intercom during meals. I recall playing ping pong on board and watching movies. Also recall a safety drill where we made our way to our life boat. Viewing NYC skyline while entering harbor is a sight I'll never forget. I still have our certificate of crossing the Atlantic on the USNS Simon B.Buckner.

Anonymous said...

My Air Force family sailed on the Buckner in '55 to Southampton, England. I was 4 and only remember the theater, some swings on deck and a porthole in our room. Also, that is was big.

Jerry Broussard said...

I was on the Buckner for 10 days in Feb 1957 going to Germany I also came back on it in Sept 1959 Had a good time in Germany.

Linda said...

I also sailed on the Buckner when I was 5 years old, in 1954. My dad was in Japan awaiting our arrival and we lived there for 2 years. I remember the ship was packed with troops headed there. There were swings on deck and they would push the children. We stopped in Hawaii, but I do not know where we docked in Japan, just that my dad, whom I hadn't seen in over a year, was there! I won a drawing they had one night. It was a bottle of bourbon, which my mother gladly confiscated. That voyage was the beginning of my career as an Army Brat!

Anonymous said...

Shipped overseas on Simon B. in June of '63. Seas were calm. Docked in Bremerhaven, Ger., boarded a train to duty station in France. Most recollected memory was of sleeping quarters. Bunks were 4 high and when in top bunk water lines & pipes were right above your head. It was a great experience for a 19 year old country boy. Marylander

Anonymous said...

I sailed to Bremerhaven in Dec 1961. I was one of more thn 9,00 troops on board. the seas were rough and sea sickness was all around. we were being sent to germny as a esult of the building of the berlin wall. i wa later sent to Munich for my servicr j markey

Anonymous said...

This is so cool. I was writing in my journal today about my trip from Germany to the USA when I was 9 years old -- must have been 1963 -- and googled the name of the ship to see a picture and learn what I could about it's history. We had, in my memmory, an uneventful trip. Except that I remember getting my youngr brother to tell our mom that I had jumped out the porthole in our cabin. She beat the daylights out of him for getting her worried. I have a great friend named Allan who is about 15 years older than me. We were talking one day and he was telling me about his experience in the Army and going to Viet Nam... on the Buckner. I had to tell him about my trip on it, too. Much different destinations. All the best. --- Bill Pawson

Duane said...

Thanks and I enjoy all the comments. I too have memories of the Gen Buckner. We left Brooklyn 19 Feb 56 and arrived at Bremerhaven 29 Feb 56. I was with the 11th Abn Div. We hit a storm about the 2nd night out. I slept like a baby in the top and 5th rack up. I would love to hear from anyone that was on that ship.
Thanks, Duane

Katsmom said...

I was on this ship as well on Mar 17, 1957... my mother, my aunt and I..when were you on it? I found pictures of it a couple years ago and also the passenger list with our names on it... very exciting because I lost memory of the ships name and was able to get the history..

Jerry said...

I had two experiences on the Buckner In the fall of 1958 I was on the Buckner returning from Germant to New York City. The weather was terrible and I was sick most of the way and by the time I got home I was full of lice.
Fast forward to 1964 and a flight from Manhattan Kansas to San Diego and a short ride to a ship in the harbor, yes the Simon Buckner. 23 days later Vung Tau harbor Viet Nam. All personnel left the ship on a rope ladder into Beach landing craft just like in WW2. I have pictures to prove it. When I left Viet Nam it was on a jet plane. Jerry

Martina said...

My dad, a U.S.soldier, mother, younger brother and I sailed on this ship from Germany to New York in October 1959. I was 8. I remember that we were all quite seasick during a bad storm. We were offered oranges, which really didn't help me, but my mom remembers that my brother announced repeatedly that he was hungry, while the rest of us were unable to think of eating! Once we were past the storm, my brother and I enjoyed the trip. My favorite memory was when we first could see the Statue of Liberty!! (This was also the first time I'd ever come to the U.S., as I was born in Germany)

carl said...

Sailed to Bremerhaven in April 1961 and to N.Y. in dec. 1963.Still have certicate and club membership badge.

Mike Reed said...

It was 1963 when our family went to Germany out of New York my dad was in the Army and we lived there for 5 years in Manheim,I also remember the rough water and a storm or two. Mike Reed

Troy C. Cook said...

My family (Sgt. Cook, wife Carmen daughter Margo who was born in Heidelberg and son Troy) sailed to New York from Germany in March of 1964 on the USNS Buckner. My mother and I sailed over on the USNS Rose in January of 1960. I still have my certificate and club membership button for the Rose.
I remember those times fondly! I was sea sick on the Buckner, but my life seemed like such an adventure back then! Thank you all for sharing!
Troy tccfamily@msn.com