Arrival: New York, August 23, 1945
See a video of the Oneida Victory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH70EUeM8Jk
From: Howard Hensleigh
The 517th came home in August 1945 on the Madawaska Victory [and the Oneida Victory*]. They dropped an A-Bomb the day before we left France and another when we were on the high seas. The War was over by the time we reached New York City. Before we reached sight of land, there was a big rock sticking out of the water; painted on it were the words, "Well Done, Welcome Home". They met us in the harbor with small boats carrying entertainers who put on a show right there in the harbor. The Red Cross was on hand with milk which we drank by the gallons. As we sailed up the Hudson to Camp Shanks on smaller ships, horns and whistles blew and people waved sheets, pillow cases and towels from the apartments along the shore. At Camp Shanks there were Italian POWs in the mess hall serving food like we hadn't seen for a year and one half. Then we hit the trains for home after processing. They gave us 30 days at home before we were to go the west coast and on to Japan. Then telegrams came to stay 15 more days. By then all the west coast stuff was off and we returned to Ft. Bragg or the discharge centers. It was a great way to end the war. Those of us who were headed for Japan beat the ones who went to other units home by several months.
My best, Howard Hensleigh
* Correction: I thought we all came home on the Madawaska Victory. Captain Berry steering that ship, made sure we arrived on time and even in the fog it was full speed ahead. Col. Graves and his staff were on that ship as was 3rd Bn. On page 171 of Paratroopers' Odyssey I find that Clark Archer says we loaded onto both ships you mention, Oneida Victory also. No one should dispute Clark's word. On page 132 of the recent publication we all sent biographies which shows the Madawaska Victory with the Battling Buzzard emblem draped over the side. -- Howard Hensleigh