World War II Service and Diary of John R. McKnight - Ex Rd M 3c USN
Life could swing from routine boredom to the wild frenzy of combat in a matter on minutes. All could be calm and routine. Then, without warning, bogies begin to appear on the radar screen. The loud speakers scream, bringing the ship's crew to G.Q. The deafening concussion of anti-aircraft fire throughout the ship shatters the silence of a calm Pacific afternoon. Inside the rooms of the C.I.C. radar strikers feverishly spot and report incoming blips, hoping friendly fire will cause them to disappear from the scope.
"I remember spending many unhappy hours in C.I.C. watching these blips coming at us, knowing what they were doing, and hoping our guns would shoot them down, seeing them turn around on the radar screen, and then knowing that the torpedoes were in the water and on their way to you. Those minutes seemed like years, when you are sitting there waiting to see whether you're going to get hit… C.I.C. was not a happy place to be…being in the face of what you thought might be death at any moment…Here you sat around these radar screens and watched these things happen with young seamen who were 18 and 19 years old, just off the farm or out of the shoe store…" (Fitzhugh Lee , air office on the Essex 1943, from Carrier Warfare in the Pacific, 1993)

Essex V-3-R Crew in the C.I.C.
Jack "Weary" McKnight - July 1944
Diary Entries
Diary Footnotes
July 1 Launched two VF(N)1 at 2:30 AM to keep the Nips awake. Hit Rota again. * 150 miles SW of Saipan - (13-50 N 143-38 E)
1. VF - U.S Fighter Aircraft
2. Rota - southern most island in the Northern
    Mariana Island chain.
July 2-3 Hit Rota.
July 4 Launched last strike on Rota. Refueled destroyers.
July 5 Enroute to Eniwetok. * Berth 11, Eniwetok, Atoll, Marshall Islands
    from July 6-14
July 6 Arrived Eniwetok 10:00 AM. Our air group now has 101 planes, that does to her credit.  
July 14 Left Eniwetok for Marianas
  • DDs1 - Stanley2, Dyson3, Osborne4, Caldwell5, Spence6, Thatcher7.
  • CLs8 - San Diego9, Houston10, Miami11, Vincennes12.
  • CVs13 - Essex14, Princeton15, Langley16.
1. DD - Destroyer
2. U.S.S. Stanley DD-478
3. U.S.S. Dyson DD-572
4. U.S.S. Ausburne DD-570
5. U.S.S. Caldwell DD-605
6. U.S.S. Spence DD-512
7. U.S.S. Thatcher DD-514
8. CLs - Light cruisers
9. U.S.S. San Diego CL-53
10. U.S.S. Houston CL-81
11. U.S.S. Miami CL-89
12. U.S.S. Vincennes CL-64
13. CVs - Large carriers
14. U.S.S. Essex CV-9
15. U.S.S. Princeton CVL-23
16. U.S.S. Langley CVL-27
July 17 At 4:00 PM we were 78 miles from Guam. Fueled DDs1. ASP2 spotted sub 29 miles. Submerged when within 3 miles of it. 1. DD - Destroyer
2. ASP - Anti-submarine Patrol
July 18 Four strikes on Guam today. * Guam - the southernmost island in the
    Mariana island chain
July 19-20 Launched 8 strikes on Guam. * Battle of Guam - July 21 - Aug. 10
* 60 miles SE of Guam - (13-34 N 145-40 E)
July 22 Refueled Essex and DDs1. * 130 miles SE of Guam - (12-04 N 146-34 E)
1. DD - Destroyer
July 24 Launched four strikes on Tinian. 5th Marine div. landed on Tinian. Took on VF1. We can see Rota. * Battle of Tinian - July 24, 1944
1. VF - U.S. Fighter Aircraft
July 25, 26, 27 Launched 7 air strikes on Tinian. * 100 miles E of Guam - (13-26 N 146-34 E)
July 27 Departed for Saipan.  
July 28 Entered Saipan harbor and anchored about 6:30 AM. Loaded bombs all day. Left at 6 PM. * Berth A-27, Saipan Harbor
July 29 Launched special strike on Guam. Left east side of Marianas and went between Rota and Agafia to west side. Joined other task forces who were attacking Palau and Yap.  
July 30 Changed disposition.
  • CVs1: Essex2, Langley3, Princeton4.
  • BBs5: Alabama6, New Jersey7, Iowa8, Indiana9.
  • DDs10: Marshall11, Tingey12, Owen13, Sullivan14, Potter15, Miller16, Laws17, Wisconsin18.
  • CL19(AA)20 : San Diego21
1. CVs - Large carriers
2. U.S.S. Essex CV-9
3. U.S.S. Langley CVL-27
4. U.S.S. Princeton CVL-23
5. BBs - Battleships
6. U.S.S. Alabama BB-60
7. U.S.S. New Jersey BB-62
8. U.S.S. Iowa BB-61
9. U.S.S. Indiana BB-58
10. DDs - Destroyers
11. U.S.S. Marshall DD-676
12. U.S.S. Tingey DD-539
13. U.S.S. Owen DD-536
14. U.S.S. Sullivan DD-537
15. U.S.S. Potter DD-538
16. U.S.S. Miller DD-535
17. U.S.S. Laws DD-558
18. U.S.S. Wisconsin BB-64
19. U.S.S. San Diego CL-53
July 31 Launched photo planes to Guam  

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