(The Pilot's Log stories re-printed with permission from the"Daily Breeze" news)

		      SAN PEDRO NEWS-PILOT              Wednesday, December 12, 1951

The Pilot's Log
By Bynner Martin


I guess not many among the huge "Welcome Home" throng on the dock noticed, but the cruiser Helena moved smoothly into her birth Saturday without the aid of tugs.

A couple of Navy tugs accompanied the 675-foot cruiser in and stood by ready to help, but the Helena didn't need 'em.

The reason was that Capt. Lawrence H. Martin, the Helena's skipper was on the bridge and he's an old hand at berthing ships without tug aid.

Capt. Martin learned the trick when he was handling destroyers during the war years. Some of his officers told me he used to "park" a destroyer like a good driver parks his auto.

I got "hep" to the captain's talent when the Helena pulled out of Pearl Harbor with me aboard as one of eight Navy guests. As the lines were released, an officer said: "Watch this now. The skipper'll take her out without using those tugs there." And he did.

In the late 1030s, Capt. Martin served as gunnery officer on the destroyer Monaghan. In 1942, he commanded the destroyer Clark in south Pacific action. In 1944, he put in commission and took to war the Lowey, the first "2200" type destroyer built at Bethlehem shipyard here.

He took command of the Helena last Aug. 2 during a lull in bombardment of Wonsan, Korea. The Helena pulled to the outer Wonsan harbor in dense fog where Capt. Martin relieved Capt. Harold O. Larsen as skipper, one of a few times when a command change ceremony has taken place aboard a warship while conducting a mission against the enemy.

When the cermony was over, the Helena moved back and resumed shelling communist installations.

Comdr. B. A. Clarey, Capt. Martin's executive officer, spent most of the war years in the submarine service. And he's alive today because fate intervened.

In January 1943, Clarey was a lieutenant assigned to the tug Amberjack. A few hours before the Amberjack was to leave on patrol, Clarey was taken ill. The Amberjack went to sea and never returned.

During the war, Comdr. Clarey made nine submarine patrols and took part in the sinking or damaging of 16 enemy ships, including the sinking of the same ship twice!

This is how it happened: On Oct.10, 1942, Clarey was the executive officer on the sub Amberjack when she sank the Japanese whale factory ship Tonan Maru in Kavieng harbor, New Ireland.

But the Japanese salvaged the Tonan Maru and put her in operation. Not quite two years later, Clarey was on the sub Pintado which torpedoed and sank the Tonan Maru when it was sailing in a convoy in the East China sea.

(webmaster comment: will look into the name "Amberjack" to confirm two vessels with that name)

Pilot's Log 1 Pilot's Log 3 Pilot's Log 4