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Addendum

 

 

 

The following is a shortened and very slightly edited version of an unpublished book, entitled The Beach Boys, a narrative history of The First Naval Beach Battalion, a part of the Amphibious Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet during World War Two. It was written by W. D. Vey and O. J. Elliot, and I obtained it from the Naval Historical Center in Washington, DC. I have omitted the illustrations; since in every case they were copies of copies, and I felt that for this reason they detracted from the book, rather than that they provided significant information. I expect to write a short introduction, and I’ve tentatively decided to finish with an addendum, describing, I hope, my sometimes - different recollection of events. I have no reason to try to refute any portion of the original book; but I was not always in the same spot as the two authors, and saw some things that they didn’t.

My interest in the history was rekindled during a trip to Fort Pierce, Florida in 1997. We found the location of the Amphibious Training Base, (Figure 1) and The St. Lucie Historical Society Museum, where a monument dedicated to the men who served at the base in WW II had been erected. (Figure 2Figures 3 and 4 are the Radiomen and Signalmen of our platoon, in camp at Fort Pierce. Please note how fierce and determined we all look. Had these pictures had fallen into enemy hands, doubtless they would have sued for peace earlier than they did. A museum dedicated to the Navy SEAL teams is situated at the other end of the island. We visited both museums, and what I learned seems to clearly indicate that the SEAL teams grew from our efforts during WW II. I also learned that by war’s end there had been fourteen Beach Battalions, but there was literally no mention of the First. I contacted a local man, who had commanded one of the later Battalions, and who had donated most of what scant information on Beach Battalions the county museum had. From the Navy Department in Washington I obtained the unpublished manuscript, and contacted the primary author, who was a retired Marine Corps Major. Of course, on finding that the history had been written by a Marine I immediately became suspicious; all Navy men know that marines are glory hounds, and to the best of my knowledge we had no assistance from the Marines. It turned out that Major Vey was a Navy enlisted man (Yeoman 2/c) during the war, and that he did not join the USMC until after the war was over. He stayed in the Marines, served in Korea and Viet Nam, and retired as a Major.

March 13, 2001: Sadly, I have just learned that Major Vey passed away sometime late in 1999. I am happy to be able to share his work, but disappointed that he is not here to see it.

-Robert B. White ex RM/2c

"The Beach Boys"

Tim White
Revised  October 21, 2008