T. Jarman was a career officer with the United States Coast and Geodetic
Survey. He served as a civilian Junior Cartographic Engineer in that
organization from July 1, 1927, until April 30, 1930, when he transferred
to the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.
Prior to WWII he served on numerous C&GS ships and field parties.
By Executive Order he was transferred to the Navy on March 2, 1942.
Captain Jarman retired from the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1964
and passed away in 1989. These recollections came from his personal
memoirs which he provided to friends and family.
first Naval assignment was the temporary command of the YP-96 which
operated in Puget Sound. In April 1942 I took this vessel to the Tacoma
Shipyard where it was overhauled and outfitted with Sound Detection
Gear. In May 1942, I was ordered to the U.S.S. EUCALYPTUS, a net tender
as Executive Officer. The first project that came to this vessel was
a plan to lay a Magnetic Submarine Detector Loop across the mouth
of Resurrection Bay, Alaska. The design and logistics were handled
by a Naval Officer temporarily assigned by Navy Personnel. The actual
laying and location of the cable was my job. The work was completed
in 8 days.
"My ship was in Kodiak, Alaska, preparing to lay the same type
of loop across the entrance to Kodiak Harbor when I received `Urdet’
orders to report to the Hydrographic Office in Washington, D.C. for
two weeks instruction; then to the U.S.S. PATHFINDER in Seattle, Washington.
The PATHFINDER was a new USC&GS ship just completed by the Lake
Washington Shipyard. It was transferred to the Navy in mid-1942. This
ship was scheduled to operate in the South Pacific as a Survey and
Charting vessel. The Navy installed various types of reproduction
gear such as cameras, whirlers, etc.; a hole had to be cut into the
side of the ship to install a Harris Offset press because it was too
large to pass through the ship’s companionways.
first assignment aboard the PATHFINDER was Chart Compilation Officer,
and then successively Navigation Officer, First Lieutenant, and lastly
as Executive Officer. In addition to the usual shipboard duties, I
planned, directed and executed hydrographic and wire drag surveys.
The work included astronomic azimuths, astronomic positions and all
other survey phases common to combined operations. The data so produced
were processed immediately and compiled into nautical charts. Generally
the charts came off the press about 6 to 8 days after completion of
the field work. They were then available to all Naval and Allied shipping
operating in the area.
was selected by the Commanding Officer of the PATHFINDER to be the
Officer-in-Charge of Advance Survey Parties at Manning Straits, Blanche
Harbor (Treasury Islands,) and Green Islands. These areas were at
or near the front lines, and survey information was needed to facilitate
"The Manning Straits survey was requested by Admiral Halsey,
Commander of the Third Fleet, as a result of the battle of Savo Island.
Prior to that battle, a U.S. reconnaissance plane had spotted an enemy
Naval Task Force and noted its position. From the data available,
Intelligence estimated it would take this force, traveling at flank
speed, until at least 8 AM the following morning to reach Guadalcanal.
The American Task Force composed of the QUINCY, ASTORIA, VINCENNES,
plus the Australian cruiser CANBERRA moved behind Savo Island and
anchored. All hands except those on duty turned in for a good night’s
rest before the expected battle the following morning. The enemy task
force arrived about 2 AM instead of the predicted time of 8 AM. The
Japanese force knew the exact location of the American ships which
meant there was a Japanese Coast Watcher on either Savo Island or
Florida Island. The enemy fleet rounded Savo Island, turned on their
search lights and blew the American ships out of the water before
they knew what hit them. The enemy fleet did not tarry. They rounded
Savo Island at high speed and returned in the direction from which
the arrival of the enemy fleet was about 6 hours earlier than expected,
Intelligence figured the Japanese must know of an uncharted short
cut. An inspection of area charts revealed Manning Strait, although
unsurveyed, might possibly be the short cut from Truk to Guadalcanal.
This was the thinking which caused the request for the survey.
survey party, operating from a YMS, surveyed and charted a passage
through Manning Strait, there-to-fore not known to exist and which
was used successfully by our ships. The usual survey methods could
not be used because Choiseul Island on one side of the strait was
enemy occupied, and Intelligence was unsure about enemy presence on
Santa Isabella to the east. Using ingenious methods, an accurate survey
was made of the Strait without having to land. The survey of some
600 square miles was completed in 10 days and the resulting chart
was ready for distribution in 8 days.
expected some trouble from Japanese planes while making this survey,
but nothing developed. Our Marines were making a diversionary attack
on Japanese installations on Choiseul Island while the main American
force was taking Treasury Islands, and later, Bougainville; also our
Air Force controlled the air space which probably explains why we
saw no enemy planes.
"One afternoon we did spend an anxious 15 minutes because of
our own planes. A Navy PBY was spotted flying high and escorted by
6 P-38's. As was customary, we turned our search light on the P-38's
and gave the recognition signal. The P-38's immediately left their
escort positions and flew at high speed to the West where they had
the sun at their backs. They then started what appeared to be a strafing
run on our vessel. All the while we were frantically signaling the
recognition signal, but they kept coming. Finally in desperation we
turned our search light on the PBY. Almost immediately, the P-38's
broke ranks and returned to their escort duties. This type of situation
was not unusual in the early days of the War. The Army desperately
needed pilots and they were sending them into combat before they had
thoroughly mastered the Morse code. The P-38's had voice contact with
the PBY and the Navy pilot called off the strafing run as soon as
our recognition was received.
no sooner returned to the PATHFINDER from surveying Manning Strait
when I was detached once more in charge of the advance survey group
to proceed to Blanche Harbor, Treasury Islands, to survey the Harbor
there and its approaches. Our forces were in control of the Harbor,
but the area was not secured. Japanese Forces still held Choiseul
Island and Bougainville which made it too dangerous for a large ship
such as the PATHFINDER to make this survey. The small group with me,
operating from a very small APC attracted very little attention. We
did endure several night bombing raids with very little resulting
damage. This survey completed and the resulting chart was ready for
distribution in 12 days.
returning to the PATHFINDER from Blanche Harbor, I managed to remain
aboard over xmas, but I was detached on January 15, 1944 to lead an
Advanced Survey Party composed of 4 Officers and 17 men. This group
proceeded to Guadalcanal from Noumea, New Caledonia. Upon arrival,
we were attached to Naval Advance Base Unit 11. This was something
new and the name was abbreviated thus: NABU-11. It was a group of
men and officers trained and organized to land with combat trooops
and immediately begin functioning as a Naval Base. I learned my group
was a part of the attack force scheduled to take Green Islands, a
small coral atoll about 50 miles north of Bougainville and opposite
survey of Green Islands was requested because the Commander of the
Third Fleet desired fighter plane protection for the bombers engaged
with daily activity over Rabaul, Kavienge and Bougainville. The distance
from the Russel Islands and Guadalcanal was too far for fighter escorts
to remain over the target area for the duration of a raid because
thay did not have the necessary fuel capacity even with wing tanks.
The planned runway on Green Islands was also to furnish fighter support
for a scheduled attack on the Japanese Base at Kavienge. Meanwhile,
McArthur’s success in by-passing strongly held bases on New
Guinea, plus the heavy casualties to be expected from attacking a
strong base such as Kavienge, negated that attack. The decision to
negate the Kavienge attack came after our forces had taken Green Islands.
The Green Island fighter base, however, was directly responsible for
reducing casualties during the bombing raids on the three nearby Japanese
much was known about Green Islands at this time except vessels entering
the lagoon at Nissan atoll used the South Passage with a reported
depth of 18 feet, coral bottom. It was suspected the atoll was being
used by the Japanese as a Barge Station in the supply lines to Rabaul
and Bougainville. Our Air force activity prevented enemy surface vessels
from supplying the bases of Kavienge, Rabaul and Bougainville. The
only way the Japanese could safely supply these bases was to use submarines
or barges which operated only at night. During daylight hours the
barges were hid at convenient `way’ stations such as the one
at Green Islands.
suspicion the enemy were using Green Islands as a barge station was
verified by the findings of a reconnaissance force composed of Officers
and technicians from NABU-11, Officers from a Seabee Unit, several
Officers from an LST squadron, several Air Force Officers, and about
300 New Zealand combat troops. Two Officers and 5 men from my advance
survey party were a part of this force. The reconnaissance force landed
on the atoll at mid-night on January 31, 1944, (D-15 days,) and departed
24 hours later at mid-night. The entire force lost only 5 men killed
and about 10 wounded during the 24 hour stay. It was estimated the
enemy force stationed on the atoll was not over 500 men, most of them
belonging to a Japanese Naval Supply Corps. My group investigated
Middle and South Channels into the lagoon for least depth, ran a few
exploratory lines in an east-west direction across the lagoon, and
ran several sounding lines, north-south direction, along the shoreline
to assist in locating LST landing sites. We also obtained 24 hours
of tidal data to assist in estimating the tidal stage on `D’
day for assaulting Nissan Atoll was February 15, 1944. Our forces
met with very little resistance on ‘D’ day and the atoll
was secure within a week. The estimate of 500 enemy troops was pretty
accurate; we found between 400 and 500 Japanese on the atoll. They
were true Japanese in that not one of them surrendered, and all were
Island, the next largest island in the Green Island group was never
searched thoroughly. It is possible some of the enemy troops may have
escaped to this island since it is separated from Nissan Atoll by
less than half a mile of water. My group spent one day making a hydrographic
survey of Pinapel Island Lagoon. This island was not very important
to the High Command in the Green Island Caper. We did discover one
side of the lagoon was shallow and offered an excellent spot to beach
a damaged or sinking vessel.
small group remained at Green Islands from ‘D’ day, February
15, 1944 to near the middle of March 1944. During this period, a complete
hydrographic survey was made of Nissan Atoll, all shoals and channels
were buoyed, two permanent tide stations were established, and party
members acted at Pilots in getting supply vessels through South Channel.
The commander of NABU-11 seemed to rely rather heavily on my group
for assistance in establishing the Naval Base. The base demolition
squad was turned over to me and I was told to use as I saw fit. I
had this squad reduce all dangerous coral heads, and pointed out high
spots in the entrance channels that needed reducing. Two members of
NABU-11 were given instruction and training in piloting supply vessels
into Nissan Atoll through South Entrance Channel. Another of the base
unit was instructed in how to obtain data from the tide staffs and
party returned to the PATHFINDER on March 25, 1944. The ship was at
Noumea, New Caledonia. I learned the entire complement of the PATHFINDER
had enjoyed 10 days of rest and relaxation while my party was struggling
at Green Islands. I requested the same treatment for my group and
the ship’s Commanding Officer turned me down which I thought
was most unfair.
a result of activities at Green Islands, I received a letter of appreciation
from the Commander of NABU-11 for the rapid survey of Nissan and Pinapel
Atolls plus the assistance rendered in establishing the Naval Base.
A letter of Commendation was also received for the hydrographic and
tidal data gathered on D-15 day, and used successfully on D-day.
PATHFINDER surveyed Seadler Harbor, Admiralty Islands in the spring
and summer of 1944. This harbor was the main staging area for the
assault on the Philippines. Seadler Harbor is full of coral heads
which were located and buoyed. In August 1944, Lifu Uvea Passage was
surveyed using the PATHFINDER as the sounding vessel. This extensive
passage was often used by ships heading for Noumea, New Caledonia
from Hawaii. Several new shoals were discovered, but none were a danger
to navigation. The survey was completed in less than three weeks and
the resulting chart became available in one week.
September 1944, the PATHFINDER received orders to return to San Francisco
for much needed repairs. Prior to the departure of the ship from the
South Pacific, the Commanding Officer reported by letter to the various
South Pacific Commanders on the ship’s activities for the two
year period just ending.
Just before Xmas 1944, repairs and overhaul were complete and the
PATHFINDER departed San Francisco for the Central Pacific with me
as Executive Officer. The ship arrived at Guam late in January and
was assigned an anchorage in Guam Harbor. In about a week, an assignment
on planes based at Saipan and making daily bombing raids on Tokyo
reported seeing discolored water about 300 miles northwest of Guam.
Almost immediately, orders were received to proceed to the spot, investigate,
and locate. We found the shoal to be rather extensive in area, reasonably
flat on top with a depth of 8 fathoms over it. It was thought to be
of volcanic origin. The weather was inclement with very rough seas,
and the Captain was having touble maintaining his position. Finally
he moved over the shoal area and anchored. Thereafter the PATHFINDER
claimed the distinction of having anchored closer to Tokyo than any
other Navy ship. The spot was named PATHFINDER shoal A good location
was obtained, using LORAN ‘C’, and astronomic sights with
a dead reckoning position as a check.
As a result of my survey work away from the PATHFINDER plus other
activities, I was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, and authorized to
wear the Combat ‘V’....”
Junius Jarman did not mention the Japanese bombing attack of Tulagi
on April 7, 1943, in the main body of his personal memoir. However,
in an Appendix he refers to a September 1961 Saturday Evening Post
article entitled “The Adventure That Made a President.”
This article recounted the experiences of President John F. Kennedy
in the South Pacific during WWII. On April 7, 1943, then Lt. (j.g.)
Kennedy was a passenger on LST 449 on the last leg of a trip that
was destined to end with his taking command of a PT boat at Guadalcanal.
Both the PATHFINDER and LST 449 were attacked by Japanese dive-bombers.
The PATHFINDER shot down two Japanese planes. Jarman was in command
of the forward anti-aircraft guns on the PATHFINDER although he took
no credit for directing the kills. However, “During this raid,
I was on the PATHFINDER which was alongside the destroyer AARON WARD,
and just ahead of the LST 449. I happened to be looking back at Kennedy’s
ship while four dive bombers were attacking it. There were so many
exploding bombs along with the resulting water spouts that I could
not see the LST.” The AARON WARD was hit and put her wounded
over in small boats which the PATHFINDER picked up and cared for overnight.
In the Saturday Evening Post article, the PATHFINDER is not named
and referred to as a minesweeper.