Category Archives: Memorabilia

WWII-Era Song Sheets, Saipan Invasion

The WII-era Calvert song sheets shown below are shared by Geoff, creator of

This tremendous site tells the story of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines. The 1/24 was aboard the Calvert for the invasion of Saipan and Geoff provides insight into the action and fighting that the Marines experienced once they made if off the Calvert’s landing craft and onto the beach at Saipan. A full account of the Marines’ experience on Saipan is available here:

USS Calvert - Saipan Songs 1 USS Calvert - Saipan Songs 2


Here’s the story behind these two song sheets, as shared by Geoff:

“This song sheet belonged to PFC George A. Smith (A/1/24), then a nineteen year old machine gunner, now a retired police captain. He must have carried it in his pocket into the battle of Saipan, where he (and it) survived being bowled over by a shell, a week of combat, and then being shot and evacuated to a hospital ship, never to return to combat. (Photographs of George are available here: (picture 1, picture 2, picture 3, picture 4, picture 5)

George also has a few good stories about life on the USS Calvert, but my favorite involves a craps game. Apparently some of the sailors were shooting dice, and George’s friend Corporal Thomas McCay decided to get in on the action. To hear George tell it, neither of the Marines really knew what they were doing, and the sailors thought they’d be an easy mark, but McCay pulled some real luck of the Irish and threw three sevens in a row. Needless to say, their popularity disappeared and George was only half kidding when he recalled they had to beat a retreat or be thrown overboard. Safely back in the Marine area, McCay started tossing handfuls of his winnings overboard. “The hell are you doing?” asked George, to which McCay replied “What are we going to do with it where we’re going?” So the two of them passed the afternoon throwing bits of loose change from the craps game into the Pacific. McCay was killed in action less than a week later.”

Additional pictures of George Smith’s time as a Marine, during both WWII and Korea, are available here: