Strom, Lloyd Stanley

Lloyd Stanley Strom
Born: November 4, 1921
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Class: 1944
Service: USNR
Position / Rank: Ensign,Asst. Eng Officer
Date/Place of death: November 10, 1944 / Seeadler
Harbor, Admiralty Islands, New Guinea
Date / Place of burial: November 10, 1944 /

Seeadler Harbor, Admiralty Islands,
New Guinea – Lost at Sea / Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery Manila, Philippines
Age: 23

Lloyd Stanley Strom was appointed a Midshipman, USNR on October 9, 1942 but was
hospitalized for a hernia the following day. By November 20 he was expected to be
ready to ship as Engine Cadet aboard the SS Phillipa. He graduated from the U.S.
Merchant Marine Academy on January 28, 1944, in Section A-156 and was
commissioned an Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve.

After  training at Newport, RI, Ensign Strom reported to the precommissioning detail for the USS Mount Hood (AE 11) a U.S. Maritime Commission     C2-S-AJ1 cargo ship being converted into a Navy Ammunition Ship. Lloyd Strom officially reported aboard the USS Mount Hood on July 1, 1944, as one of three Assistant Engineering Officers upon its commissioning. After a brief shakedown cruise, the ship reported for duty on August 5, 1944, loaded ammunition for Pacific Fleet ships, and sailed for Manus, Admiralty Islands on August 21, 1944.

On September 22, 1944, the Mount Hood arrived at Manus and anchored in Seeadler Harbor, a major repair and logistical support site for ships participating in the Philippine
invasion. The Hood was a primary provider of ammunition for all ships attached to the
Third Fleet, and she was kept busy over the next weeks supplying ammunition to other
ships in the harbor. Though the harbor had certain designated berths for ammunition
ships, the Hood ended up taking a berth closer to the center of the harbor, in
order to more easily transfer ammunition to other ships.

On the morning of November 10, 1944, the USS Mount Hood had an estimated 3,800
tons of ammunition aboard. Just before 0900 the ship was observed to have a landing
craft with aerial depth charges aboard while 500 pound bombs were being loaded into
the Number 3 hold from another landing craft. Meanwhile, 50 caliber machine gun
ammunition in boxes was sitting on the deck of a nearby pontoon lighter, waiting to be
loaded onto the Hood, and several other landing craft were also in the area, carrying
unknown cargo. All five of the ship’s cargo holds were open and being worked by, what
the Board of Inquiry called, “. . . a relatively inexperienced crew.”

At around 0855, the ship’s 3800 tons of explosives and ammunition detonated,
completely disintegrating the ship as well as the nearby landing craft, and killing
everyone on board. The only survivors among the crew were eighteen persons absent
from the ship at the time of the explosion. Ensign Strom was among those killed in the
explosion.

A later report on the incident concluded that there were several irregularities with the
cargo that could have contributed to the disaster. For example, there was insufficient
enforcement of a smoking prohibition on ships alongside the Hood, and holds Numbers
2 and 3 contained broken rocket bodies, from which some of the powder had spilled.
Ensign Strom was survived by his wife Rosemary of San Francisco, CA. He was
posthumously awarded the World War II Victory Medal, American Area Campaign
Medal and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.

Lloyd S. Strom was the only son and oldest child of Louis Strom and Emily Strom. The
1930 U.S. Census identifies Louis Strom as a seaman working aboard a freighter.
However, a 1941 San Francisco City Directory indicates that Louis was employed as a
stationary engineer. At the time of his death Lloyd Strom was married to Rosemary
Strom who was living in San Francisco.

Photo of USS Mount Hood (AE-11), smoke cloud expanding, just after she exploded in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944. Photographed by a
photographer of the 57th Construction Battalion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *