Delbert Wilson served his whole first enlistment on the heavy cruiser USS Chicago, from 1934-1937. The ship had been commissioned in 1931.
Delbert was an Electrician’s Mate aboard the USS Maumee (OA-2) from June 1942 to February 1943. The Maumee, first commissioned in 1916, was the first surface ship in the U.S. Navy powered by diesel engines. Decommissioned after WWI, the oiler was brought out of reserve for an extensive overhaul at Baltimore, Maryland, during which she received steampower propulsion, and recommissioned in June 1942. Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet she was employed as a training ship off the North Carolina Capes with periodic refueling runs to the Bermuda training area until November 1942.
Steaming from Norfolk, Virginia, via Bermuda, she arrived Casablanca near the end of November to refuel small craft during the liberation of North Africa. She sailed for home toward the end of December, returning to Norfolk in early January 1943.
Delbert served on the USS Achelous (ARL-1), one of 27 tank landing ships converted to landing craft repair ships, one a month (March 1943) before coming down with mumps, getting married, and being accepted to go Gyro school.
After Delbert graduated from Gyro school, he was accepted for Electrical Interior Communications school, then 1944 was assigned to the Submarine School at New London, Connecticut, where he ran an Attack Teacher for several months. He was in submarine school at the end of the war but hadn’t yet been assigned to one.
The Wilson family stories are told in Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression and in Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II.