One of the latest additions to my postal history of the Coast Guard collection is the depicted cover mailed by a sailor on the USS Joseph T. Dickman, APA-13.
Before the Joseph T. Dickman
The keel was laid in 1920 and upon completion of construction, she was the SS Peninsula State, a passenger and cargo transport. Not long after she was renamed the SS President Pierce and later the SS President Roosevelt.
World War II
In 1940, the War Department took the ship over and converted her to a troop ship. Interesting in that this was more than a year before the attack at Pearl Harbor and preparations were already underway.
At this point she was named the USAT Joseph T. Dickman, named after a World War I general, and converted to a transport ship. Upon completion of the conversion, she was USS Joseph T. Dickman AP 26, crewed and under the command of the Coast Guard LCDR C.W. Harwood, not unlike the USS Wilkes, a navy ship under USCG operation.
Shortly after she was retooled into an assault transport ship with the letters APA 13.
During World War II, she served admirably in six campaigns:
- North Africa
- Normandy (Utah Beach)
- Invasion of Southern France
- Okinawa Gunto
The ship earned battle stars for each campaign.
The cover is dated May 23, 1944, a mere 2-weeks before D-Day. It can be assumed they were in preparations and training for the D-Day invasion.
Mailed home via airmail and of course went through naval censors.
This is the part of philately I love. Who was the sailor? Who was Miss. Charlotte Flask? What was their relationship? Did he survive the war? Did they marry? Questions I don’t know if I’ll ever answer.