I’m sorry not to have responded earlier but sometimes life gets in the way of other things you would like to do.
Are you the Mike of “Find Sam’s Cap”? If so, thanks for leading me to a delightful story. I hope Grandpa Sam is still going strong. And if not … never mind.
Following is some information about Grandpa Sam’s two ships, plus a little bit about one of your grandfather’s voyages.
Class C1-B cargo ship, constructed by Consolidated Steel Corp., Wilmington, CA, completed in April 1943; survived the war; scrapped 1968.
See http://shipbuildinghistory.com/shipyards/emergencylarge/consolidatedwilmington.htm and scroll to hull no. 237.
See http://www.usmm.org/c1ships.html for general information about class C1 ships.
http://drawings.usmaritimecommission.de/drawings_c1.htm for profile drawings of C1 ships; scroll to C1-B / Breakbulk / Consolidated Steel Corp. for details.
I found ALCOA PEGASUS in two short convoys, one in 1943, the other in 1945, both in the Pacific. The 1943 convoy was designated TN-118 (consisting of ten merchant ships and three warship escorts) and ran from Townsville, Australia, on Australia’s northeast coast, to “Fall River,” which turns out to be another name for Milne Bay, New Guinea, at the extreme eastern tip of New Guinea. The convoy sailed between 19 and 23 July 1943. See http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/tn/index.html?tn.php?convoy=118!~tnmain. The later convoy, GI-8, sailed from Hollandia, New Guinea, to Leyte, Philippines, between 31 January and 5 February 1945. See http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/misc/index.html?yy.php?convoy=GI.8!~miscmain. There is no evidence of anything remarkable happening to either convoy. From your information, your grandfather was not aboard ALCOA PEGASUS for either convoy.
Cargo ship constructed by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Los Angeles, CA, completed in January 1921; survived the war; scrapped 1947.
See http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/shipyards/large/toddsanpedro.htm and scroll to hull no. 29.
I can find no photographs.
I found WEST CUSSETA in three short convoys around and near Australia in 1942 and 1943. Again, your grandfather would not have been aboard for any of these convoys, according to your information. Convoy PG-21, five ships, ran from Caloundra to Sydney, Australia, between 13 and 15 November 1942. See http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/misc/index.html?yy.php?convoy=PG.21!~miscmain. Convoy CO-46, 11 merchant ships and two escorts, ran from Newcastle to Melbourne, Australia, between 17 and 20 November 1942. See http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/co/index.html?co.php?convoy=46!~comain. And convoy TN-165, nine merchant ships and four escorts, ran from Townsville, Australia, to Milne Bay, New Guinea, between 7 and 10 October 1943. See http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/tn/index.html?tn.php?convoy=165!~tnmain. Again, nothing unusual happened to any of these convoys.
Finally, I found a record of your grandfather aboard ALCOA PEGASUS on a voyage from San Francisco to Milne Bay, New Guinea, and return in 1944. The ship departed San Francisco on or about 8 January 1944, arrived Milne Bay on an unspecified date, departed Milne Bay also on an unspecified date, and arrived San Francisco 11 April 1944. Sam Tridente was part of a U.S. Navy Armed Guard detachment of 26 men. The Armed Guard unit was commanded by LT(jg) Herbert H. Royer; the ship itself was commanded by Capt. Bodvar Oiestad, a Scandinavian native age 56 but already with 42 years at sea. Your grandfather was listed as a signalman third class (SM3c). As a signalman it is very likely that your grandfather’s post was on the bridge of the ship where he must have regularly encountered Capt. Oiestad. The information in this paragraph comes from Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), a subscription website commonly used for genealogical research. Ancestry also has databases of the names of crew and passengers of merchant vessels that arrived in certain U.S. ports of entry following a foreign voyage.
No doubt there were other convoys in which your grandfather’s two ships sailed, including the times he was aboard. Likewise there must be records of other voyages in which he participated. But I know that the sources available to me are not comprehensive and the above is the only information I found.
In preparing this response I Googled Sam Tridente and found that he and his wife/your grandmother Marietta live in Washington, NJ. Possibly you live somewhere nearby. So here’s a thought: there is a restored, operational World War II Liberty ship in Baltimore, SS JOHN W. BROWN (https://www.ssjohnwbrown.org/). Your grandfather did not serve in a Liberty ship but there were more than 2,700 Liberty ships and many Armed Guard sailors served in Liberty ships. I know this would be a very long shot but might it be possible for Grandpa Sam to visit JOHN W. BROWN? There are both dockside visits and, twice a year, a six-hour day trip on the Chesapeake Bay with the ship operating under her own steam, including a mid-day mock air attack by vintage World War II aircraft, and our Armed Guard re-enactors valiantly fighting off the enemy; the ship has yet to be sunk. I realize this may be a bit much to expect of a man of your grandfather’s age but if not him, perhaps other family members would be interested. If only in your mind’s eye you might imagine what Grandpa Sam’s experiences were aboard a World War II merchant ship. I am familiar with all of this in that I am a long-time volunteer crewman aboard JOHN W. BROWN, along with my wife and two now-adult children. If anyone would be interested in a dockside visit please let me know and I will arrange to be aboard to provide a detailed personal tour. One must purchase tickets through the website for day cruises, which are the primary fundraising effort of Project Liberty Ship, which owns the vessel.
And finally, I am aware of a U.S. Navy Armed Guard museum that has recently opened in Florida (https://www.facebook.com/USNavyArmedGuardandMerchantMarine/). While I am not suggesting a visit to Florida, the organization that runs the museum also sponsors an Armed Guard veterans’ association. I don’t have the information readily at hand but I believe membership in the association is free for veterans over the age of 75. The primary benefit of membership is an interesting magazine named “The Pointer” (an Armed Guard gunnery term) several times a year sharing the stories of Armed Guard and merchant marine veterans. And maybe someday, if Grandpa Sam and your family would be so inclined, the museum might be a final destination for his uniform, minus one hat. If interested you can contact the museum at:
US Navy Armed Guard / Merchant Marine Museum
32 North Broadway
Fellsmere, FL 32948
I note that your grandfather is a retired postmaster. For what it’s worth, you can tell him that my grandfather, my late father and an uncle were all career postal employees, and I was briefly a substitute rural route carrier in the 1970s. My father and three uncles were all World War II veterans. My father in fact was an infantryman in the South Pacific and was in New Guinea and the Philippines among other places. You might say that he and Grandpa Sam were kinda in the neighborhood at the same time, back in the day.
I hope this information is useful. Your grandfather was a brave man; they all were.
Best wishes, and greetings to Grandpa Sam.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website