Introduction to Doc Ransom’s Diary
In 1989, when I first became aware that there was a La Vallette Association that had been in existence since 1981, I made inquiries if anyone had ever obtained a copy of the ship’s log or any other written record of the ship during the WWII years. I was sent a copy of “Doc” Ransom’s diary, that Doc had kept and held exclusively for the benefit of his family. It was then that he made it available to some of the crew members who had it typed up and duplicated.
'Doc' Ransom

“Doc” Ransom was a giant amongst men. He had the respect of the entire crew long before we hit the mine, when he really showed his stuff. He would frequently get on the ship’s loudspeaker with some cute little ditty that he had made up about some member of the crew. — Jack Bell

'Doc' Ransom

In my opinion, it is a remarkable historical document, primarily because of the strict wartime restrictions that existed at that time against keeping diaries aboard a ship overseas. When I asked Doc how he happened to keep such a diary, he answered that his father, who was a very inquisitive man, had also been a physician in the US forces during WWI and would be asking all about his overseas experiences when he returned. He thought the best thing would be to write it down as it happened. By his doing that, there exists a two-year day-to-day record of the La Vallette.

Doc said that the first person outside of his immediate family to see the diary was J.W. Perkins, who was one of the former ship’s officers. In later years, J.W. Perkins was in a high-level government office in Washington, DC. During one of Perkins’ visits from DC, they were in a discussion and disagreeing about a date when some event had taken place. Doc said that it was easy to settle the matter, so he pulled out his diary. Apparently Perkins was astonished and uttered the comment, “Where in the world did this come from?”

When I inquired of Doc how old he was when aboard our ship as surgeon, he answered twenty-five or twenty-six. Further inquiries revealed that he had entered Stanford pre-med school at the age of sixteen and had been admitted into the accelerated medical program. He served his internship and residency at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, before coming aboard our ship as a surgeon. Years later, after the war, he changed his practice to the role of a family physician, the same as his father had been. He was still practicing at the age of seventy-three, up until six months before he died from cancer of the pancreas.

In the years after WWII, Doc Ransom was well known and respected in the medical field. He lived his entire life in the San Jose, California area.

1. Marshall Islands Invasion (Kwajalein Island, Roi and Namur Islands) January 31, 1944
2. New Guinea Invasion (Aitape and Hollandia) April 22, 1944
3. Surface engagement & chase (Between Biak and Mapia) June 8, 1944
4. Re-enforcing of Biak June 18, 1944
5. Noemfoor Island Invasion July 2, 1944
6. Cape Sansapor Invasion July 30, 1944
7. Moratai Island Invasion (Halmahera Island Group) September 15, 1944
8. Central Philippine Invasion (Leyte Island) October 20, 1944
9. Repelled torpedo planes during night en route to Leyte with troop transports. November 22, 1944
10. Jap suicide plane crashed 50 feet off stern on port side. December 5, 1944
11. “Slot” duty in Ormoc Bay, P.I. December 6 & 8, 1944
12. Invasion of Ormoc, P.I. December 9, 1944
13. Invasion of Mindoro Island, P.I. December 15, 1944
14. Invasion of Luzon Island, P.I. (Lingayen Gulf) January 9, 1945
15. Working with carrier task force west of Luzon, P.I January 25–31, 1945
16. “Hunter Killer” Sub hunt west of Luzon, P.I. January 25–31, 1945
17. Bombardment of Bataan and Corregidor Island February 13–14, 1945
18. Ship struck mine in Mariveles Harbor, P.I February 14, 1945
19. Entered dry dock, Subic Bay, P.I. March 3, 1945
20. Left Dry dock with temporary repairs April 30, 1945
21. Departed for U.S.A.!!! May 2, 1945
22. Collided with U.S.S. Stringham (APD 6) in Apra Harbor, Guam May 7, 1945
23. Arrived San Francisco May 30, 1945