USS CLAUD JONES (DE 1033) steamed into Pearl Harbor Easter morning with orders to replenish immediately for the Indian Ocean. Four days later we were on our way, very excited and expectant, but knowing little about where we were going. Reference books, pubs, and charts were pulled in order 10 find out more about the strange lands beyond the well—known WestPac boundaries.
Guam appeared like a large Midway as we stopped for liquid replenishment. Subic Bay, Philippines, gave CLAUD JONES her last opportunity for U. S. Naval logistic support; and a busy three clays were passed alongside the USS JASON (AR 6). From Subic Bay we moved south in the South China Sea and through the Singapore Straits and the Straits of Malacca.
Penang, Malaysia was the first port of call beyond the South China Sea. Since Penang was only a fuel stop the opportunity for liberty was curtailed. However, through the “Big Eyes” it was obvious that CLAUD JONES had embarked on a trip through parts of the world that most people rarely hear about much less actually experience in person. This fact of cultural, social, and economic change from port to port was one which permeated the whole voyage - perhaps more so than on a normal WestPac cruise; because the ports were ones not often frequented by ships of the U. S. Navy.
On 10 May we crossed the Equator; the Shellbacks were almost afraid being outnumbered 8 to 1 by all slimy Pollywogs; but experience prevailed and all hands were duly initiated while “crossing the line ".
Port Louis, capital of the newly independent island of Mauritius became our Indian Ocean “base.” Diego Suarez, Malagasy Republic, and Mombasa, Kenya were a relatively short hop to the north-west.