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New people arrived every day, some from Dunedin's LVT School.
We drove a few old LVT(A)1 tanks in and out of surf, none had a working radio.
: In the fall of '43 the Boat Basin's Commanding Officer told me to round up 20 good men, go to Hawaii and drive four brand new LVT(A)1 amphibian tanks over the reefs there to see what they could and could not do.
Since the monster when fired didn't captsize, the Navy gave it a quick 2nd look then rushed it into production by the Food Machinery Corp in Riverside, Ca.
In Oceanside meanwhile new recruits arrived daily, filling the ranks of the novel 840 man battalion who's newly minted and just arrived officers took charge of new companies and platoons being organized daily, until more senior officers arrived. No one knew their training would be cut five months short. Ones just off drawing boards and assembly lines, revolutionary weapons with unknown capabilities, untested in manuevers or battle, leading the charge into a vicious beach assault unlike any that had gone before. Most of us had trained with land tanks, artillery or amphibian tractors. Or even heard of the LVT(A)4 we'd get just before battle.
Our first task was to get the battalion's platoons and companies up and running..
Kept our recruits busy with exercise, close order drill, and otherwise scurrying about getting physicals, teeth checked, scrubbing down, laundering up, fitted for boondockers and slotted into tasks.(The first line Company, in command by February and most officers aboard, things got better organized.A month later (March) we'd started to become a real battalion, increasingly effective working in teams despite our training in beat up equipment. came over to our Company Clerk's Office, sat down at our typewriter and went to work writing his wife.: Our first job in maintenance was getting operational the few LVT's others had left behind.Among many problems, the breaker points in their magnetos had frozen in salt air.After we got the machines up and running, the Enlisted Men learned to drive in the daytime, the Officers learned in the evening.