Goldie Buckhanan, USS COMFORT (AH-6)
The following is from "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships", an eight-volume set published by the Navy Department in 1972. You can access an incomplete, uncorrected version online at
< http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/auxil/ah6.htmhttp://www.hazegray.org/danfs/auxil/ah6.htm >
(double left click on the above address to go there)
Hull number: AH - 6
Displacement: 6,000 Tons
Lengthl: 417 feet, 9 inches
Beam: 60 feet
Draught: 27 feet, 8 inches
COMFORT (AH-6), the second ship to bear the name, was launched 18 March 1943 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., Wilmington, Calif., under a Maritime Commission contract and transferred to the Navy the same day. Sponsored by First Lieutenant E. Hatchitt, U. S. Army Medical Corps. Converted to a hospital ship by Bethlehem Steel Company, San Pedro, California and commissioned 5 May 1944, Commander H. F. Fultz, U. S. Naval Reserve, commanding.
COMFORT operated throughout World War II with a Navy crew and Army medical personnel. She sailed from San Pedro, California 21 June 1944 for Brisbane, Australia and Hollandia, New Guinea. Operating from Hollandia, the ship evacuated wounded from Leyte, Philippine Islands on two voyages in October and November and then brought patients back to San Pedro, California in December. Returning by way of Leyte, COMFORT reached Hollandia 6 February 1945. Following a voyage to Subic Bay and Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, for evacuees in March, the ship stood by off Okinawa from 2 to 9 April, receiving wounded for evacuation to Guam. Returning to Okinawa 23 April, six days later - 29 April 1945 - she was struck by a Kamikaze (enemy suicide plane) which killed 28 (including 6 Army nurses) and wounded 48 others and caused considerable damage. After temporary repairs at Guam, COMFORT sailed for Los Angeles, California, arriving 28 May.
COMFORT arrived in Subic Bay 5 September 1945 and served as station hospital ship until 11 October. Following a voyage to Okinawa she sailed for home by way of Yokohama (Japan) and Guam, reaching San Pedro 11 December. She made another voyage to Manila, Yokohama, Inchon (Korea) and Okinawa from 1 January and 4 March 1946 prior to being decommissioned 19 April 1946 at San Francisco. She was transferred to the Army effective the same day.
COMFORT (AH 6) received three campaign participation credits (Luzon, Southern Philippines & Okinawa) for her World War II service.
Buckhanan was born 8 February 1912 at or near Cleveland, Conway County, Arkansas and died in Poplar Bluff, Butler County, Missouri just a few days short of his 71st birthday. It appears he did, in fact, serve on board COMFORT during the war, but, I'm thus far unable to determine whteher (1) he was present during the kamikaze attack on 4/29/45 and/or (2) one of the 48 injured.
There would be no birth certicate on file in Little Rock. If you'd like to order a copy of his death certificate, DON'T!!!! Missouri is NOTORIOUS for its vital records. A cousin in Indiana, after she and her husband retired and had traveled until they were sick at the very thought - much less mention - of a plane, ship or tour bus, took up geneological research.
My Grandfather had two brothers; twins. They both died in Missouri in 1932 and 1935, respectively. Against my advice, she ordered copies of their death certificates. My Grandfather was coroner's respondent for one, the widow was CR for the other. One of the results is that, according to their death certificates, they were born a year apart - 1880 and 1881. They were actually born in 1876 (four years old in the 1880 U. S. Census). Steer clear of Jefferson City.
Let me check a few things more and I'll be in touch.