The first of them was that pilots would be sent out for a second duty tour in the Korean theatre in the same sequence they had returned from the first. That allowed good planning of personal affairs as one knew quite closely how soon he would be next to go. When the sprained ankle was well enough to return flying duties in early September, I was number two on the list behind Lt. Barnes, who had done his first cruise aboard the cruiser, Rochester. That meant it would likely be two to four weeks before my second sendoff; during which time it was planned to move my family into a recently purchased house.
But on September 4, both Barnes and I were summoned to the skipper's office together with two of the new pilots. A replacement crew was to be sent out within the next two days. A lieutenant who had already been designated to go with Barnes, had not yet completed operational training. I was introduced to the other new pilot, Ensign Hollis, and we were both for the first time informed that we were designated to go on assignment together. Ensign Hollis had completed operational training. We would be leaving two days later. Barnes and the other new pilot were advised to get their bags packed, since they would be following us out in a week or two.
In addition to the suddenness of it, there was puzzlement at the assignment of the ensign and myself together. Hollis was totally inexperienced in any manner of administrative duties, as well as in operational flying. He had gone to helicopter training immediately after completing regular flight training. This was his very first actual duty assignment since entering the Navy. Yet because he was a commissioned officer, he would be Officer-in-Charge of the unit.
Cdr Billett clarified that to some extent after the other two had left his office. He was relying on me to provide the necessary know-how to the young officer from my considerable experience, and on Hollis to be both interested and intelligent enough to quickly absorb it. In that sense, the arrangement could be regarded as somewhat flattering or complimentary to the both of us. But otherwise, there were lingering questions which would remain unresolved for several weeks. Since I would in any case be the one to provide operational experience, why had the skipper not assigned as Officer-in-Charge one of the new officers who had some administrative experience?
There was neither opportunity nor time right then to ask the skipper for such an explanation. After expression of confidence that Hollis and I could handle a unit very well, he sent us to the Executive Officer to learn the identities of the enlisted crew which would be assigned to us. I knew the Exec well enough to expect at least a bit of sympathy from him, even if he might provide no further explanations of the unique aspects of this sendoff on the second cruise.
But I didn't even get the sympathy because the Exec himself had gone on leave. Sitting in as "acting" XO was one of the new officers, Lcdr Barton, with whom I was not at all acquainted. With none at all of preliminary conversation, Barton pointed to one of several crew lists posted on the wall behind him and said that was the men assigned to go with us. A mere glance at the list revealed there was not one man on it with experience in shipboard operations, or for that matter much of any operational experience with a helicopter. Only one name was at all familiar. That was Ernie Crawford, just recently removed from his job as plane captain of the JRB by the engineering chief, Bronson, and the assistant engineering officer, Kershaw, because he had dutifully reported to Lt Hamilton that its brakes had not been properly repaired. Bronson and Kershaw were directly involved in making up the crew lists.
At least in Crawford was a proven dependable man, for standing fast in his duties with respect to the JRB. He and at least three others had completed our now quite thorough training program for flight crewman. As for the lack of anyone on the crew with shipboard or other extensive operational experience, that could be dealt with by reminding the acting Exec of the skipper's other common sense rule that pilots deploying for a second tour of duty in Korea could take with them one or two crewmen of their choice (providing, of course, that the chosen crewman was in agreement). Chester Todd and two other crewmen from the first cruise had expressed desire to go with me again. And either of the two CPO's I had recruited to the squadron would have been quite as pleased to go with me as I would have been to have them.
But my intention to request that prerogative was precluded for the moment as Barton pointed to one of the names and said: "Except for this man, he's going to be replaced by Seaman Grap." He went on to explain that Seaman Grap and been brought to Captain's mast that day. The punishment awarded to him for being AOL (absent over leave) was restriction to the base until such time as another unit was deployed for Korea with him included in it. Barton saw fit to inform us further about Seaman Grap: A "hashmark" seaman (meaning more than 4 years in the Navy and still not rated as a petty officer), heavy drinker, frequently reporting aboard in "hungover" condition, several times previously warned for late return from liberty, apparently with marital difficulties...and so on. Following that rather lengthy dissertation on Grap's poor character, Barton asked if we had any questions.
Ensign Hollis, still in state of near-shock from having been designated Officer-in-Charge of something he had not yet even observed in operation, looked at me rather helplessly. As for myself, Barton's lengthy dissertation about Seaman Grap had added an element of disgust to the accumulation of puzzlement and wonderment about the basic situation.
"Well, I have one, commander," I said, and continued after his eyes had shifted to me. "Just who is it that's supposed to be punished or disciplined by this arrangementSeaman Grapor us?"
Barton appeared somewhat taken aback by the question. After a few moments he said, "Well, of course, if you don't think you can handle him"
"Oh I can handle him all right, commander." The interruption was deliberate. "And it's obvious no one around here can, since you send your problems out to sea. So I'll be glad to take him along, and give him a chance to be a man among men. All I wanted was to get the record straight on it."
So great was the feeling of disgust by then that I turned and left the room without further word to or from either Barton or Hollis. I waited outside the room for Hollis, to assure the young officer that the feelings exhibited in the Exec's office would not adversely affect our relationship. The fact was, though it wasn't mentioned to him, the unusual way in which we and our crew were suddenly thrown together and shipped out would more likely have some unifying effect. In any case, there was no point in wasting time lamenting or complaining about the situation. And it was not until the following day that I realized the irritation over the substitution of Seaman Grap for one of the original non-rated crewmen had caused me to forget to demand substitution of at least one experienced crewman, in accordance with the sensible policy the skipper had said was to be followed.
Nor was there opportunity to make such request during that following day. Cdr Billett was absent on business and the Executive Officer not yet returned from leave. Besides which there was too much to be done in preparation for departure next morning. In addition to the many things to get the new helicopter unit ready for departure, arrangements had to be made for moving my family into the new house since I would not be around to do it as planned.
That turned out to be a minor problem, however, as several squadron mates learned of the situation and assured that they would do it. Grubbs, Ayers and Chester Todd were the first to volunteer, as they lamented not being assigned for deployment with me. A somewhat surprising volunteer was Lt Barnes, since the skipper had told him to get his bags packed for redeployment very shortly. But as it turned out he really had more time for such kindly favor than any of the others. When I returned to the squadron some two years later he had still not been redeployed to Korea. Whether or not he kept his bags packed that while is not known.
The first order of business in preparation of the unit was for Hollis and I to meet with our crew. Perhaps we could begin to get acquainted with them during the several days enroute to Korea. Quick appraisal indicated that six of the seven men were already acquainted with each other, and apparently enthused to be shipping out. Seaman Grap, understandably, was somewhat apart and with very little to say. But even if he turned out to be as totally worthless as acting Exec Barton had implied, we had one more of enthusiastic crewmen than had been with me on the first cruise.
Four of the men had been through the several special courses now provided to flight crewmen. They all showed signs of the self confidence my frogmen friends had said would result from the few days training with them.
Another quick appraisal led to judgment of Crawford as the best suited for my number on flight crewman. He was second senior or rating in the crew. I would be working closely with him and the plane captain, Stoddard, on all other aspects of our operations, making it easier as well to acquaint him with details of working with me as flight crewman. We obtained for him at once one of the frogman suits which Adm Ewen had ordered for my crew aboard Phil Sea. I had kept one of them for myself. We were the only crew so equipped. And thus (the records would now confirm) the only flight crew adequately equipped for cold weather rescue operations at sea. Because of that fact, a Navy pilot who would otherwise have died in waters off North Korea a few months later, would live to fly again.
Ensign Hollis rather shyly greeted the eight enlisted men of his helicopter unit at 0800 hours on September 6, as they prepared to board a plane to San Francisco area. Seaman Grap had arrived just a minute or so earlier, staggering a bit and foul of breath from liquor. How had ha managed to get in that condition while restricted from liberty by the captain's order? In the captain's absence, the acting executive officer, Barton, had summoned Grap to his office late the preceding afternoon and given him liberty because he would be leaving this day.
During the flight to Moffett Field, south of San Francisco, much of the time was spent trying to assure Ensign Hollis that we could handle the situation. The assignment as O-in-C had come as complete surprise to him. He was truly worried; about himself, apparently not about me. "I still can't understand, chief," he said after we had talked for some time, "why the skipper would saddle you with the job of nursemaiding such a complete greenhorn as me why he didn't team you up with one of the new lieutenants, who'd at least have some experience in the administrative part of it, so you'd have to provide only the operational know-how."
As we talked, Hollis held in his lap the sizable book of instructions and orders governing administration of such a unit as ours. The fact that he had already progressed more than halfway through it indicated that he'd spent much tie studying during the two nights since he'd been assigned the job. There was little I could offer by way of explanation except to suggest that we should both regard the assignment as something of a compliment and vote of confidence from the skipper; that he must regard myself as having adequate of knowledge and experience and Hollis as having the intelligence to quickly acquire it.
It didn't seem advisable to mention the thought which had occurred as we talked, that Cdr Billett in appraising his new officers may have decided that this young ensign, despite his lack of experience, was more intelligent and otherwise better suited for the assignment than any of the new lieutenants he had available just then. Nor would I mention that Billett may have judged that any of those new lieutenants might resent having an enlisted pilot essentially in charge of his unit's operations; especially an enlisted pilot so "renowned' or 'notorious' as this one. And it would have been definitely inappropriate to suggest that Billett's sudden decision to assemble a unit sending myself out ahead of Lt Barnes might have been due in part to the fact Mrs. Billett and Mrs. Barnes were very close friends.
Hollis resumed study of the manual while I spent the remainder of the flight getting some acquainted with our plane captain and second mechanic, Stoddard and Crawford. They, too, were much puzzled that a "greenhorn" ensign would be assigned as O-in-C. The fact that Hollis had referred to himself with that same word, impressed them that he was deserving of respect and perhaps even some sympathy since he obviously hadn't asked for the job. It would serve no good purpose to discuss with the crew the possible reasons for this unusual assignment, other than that the skipper apparently judged this young officer to be of high potential. Therefore, part of our duty in this unit was to help him to develop it.
As for myself, there was some private satisfaction that the skipper must hold my performance in high regard. Whatever other factors might be involved, he would not have given such an assignment unless he was confident I could do the job. And there was reason to believe such a judgment would have been based on my contributions to crew and pilot training, rather than notoriety for rescue operations. The discussion with the crewmen brought the feeling that we could and would make ourselves into one of the best operating crews in the business, with our "greenhorn" ensign sharing fully in the process.
During the bus ride from Moffett Field to San Francisco, the men had to decide if they wanted to spend the night on their own in the city, or go to Naval Receiving Station on Treasure Island. All except Grap quickly said they would stay at liberty in the city. He of course wanted to stay at liberty also, but had no money and asked if I could lend him two dollars until payday. Mention that his record didn't indicate he was a very good credit risk brought the offer of his wristwatch for collateral. He got the two dollars.
Arrangement for air transport overseas was to be made at an office on Van Ness street, beginning at 0800 next morning. All hands except Grap gathered shortly before that, as directed, at a nearby coffee shop. He arrived an hour late. His explanation that he had mistakenly gone to a similar coffee shop a few blocks away was greeted skeptically by myself and by looks of total disbelief from the rest of the crew. When travel orders had been completed, the lady who did them offered to arrange for Grap to be kept in custody by the Shore Patrol for the night. He would be delivered to 30 Van Ness next morning in time for the 0800 departure of buses to Travis AFB.
After thanking the lady for her excellent service of our travel orders, I asked the crew if anyone wanted to go to the Receiving Station for quarters and meals that night. All responded with preference to stay on their own at liberty, except Grap, who said: "What about me, Chief?"
"Which do you want?"
"You mean after being late this morning I can still have liberty tonight?"
"Tonight of all nights you have liberty. Tomorrow of all tomorrows, please be late. If you are, your records will be sent to Shore Patrol headquarters, in case you want to pick them up."
After a surprised pause, Grap said, "Well, I'd like to stay ashore again, then, but don't have any money. Could you lend me another dollar?"
"You mean to tell me you spent that whole two dollars last night and didn't even get very drunk?"
That brought a slight smile as he said, "Yeah." With a glance at his watch on my writs, "Well, I guess ma
ybe it's worth three bucks." To the group, then, "Seven o'clock at the coffee shop will give us plenty of time before the buses leave at eight."
"I'll be there at six, chief!" A happy grin accompanied those words from Grap.
"That'd be a silly thing to do. The coffee shop doesn't open 'till seven."
At 0600 next morning I arrived at an all night coffee shop across the broad intersection from the one at which we would assemble. At 0625 a peacoated figure appeared across the way and idled alone for the next twenty minutes in San Francisco's typical, chill morning fog. When I approached after all hands had arrived, Grap called out:
"See, chief! I told you I'd be here at six!"
"Don't lie to me, boy. You didn't get here 'til six-twenty-five according to your own watch."
"How do you know what time I got here?"
"'Cause I was watching, from over there in that other coffee shop."
"Oh, gosh. Wish I'd known that. I coulda used a cup of coffee."
"Got any of that dollar left?"
"Then you'd have been outta luck, 'cause they don't give it away over there and this damn' watch of yours isn't worth a penny more than three bucks."
One of the other non-rated sailors bought Grap's coffee when the shop opened. More important, two of them talked with him the while, kidding him a bit and sharing their first impressions of San Francisco. Seaman Grap very obviously wanted to be a part of this unit. At least two of the others were now willing to give him the chance. It was indication that Hollis and I might have a full, seven-man crew. It was also the first of a series of incidents which would have them all thinking of themselves as a crew when we reached the Toledo two weeks later.
Except for ourselves, all passengers on the buses to Travis were Army officers; ranging in ranks from bird colonels down to captains. At Travis, they lined up according to rank at the boarding ramp of a four-engine transport craft bearing the name of Seaboard and Western airlines. Something needed to be done about that situation. If we took our "proper" place at the end of that line, we would be scattered amongst all those other passengers for the many hours it would take the propeller driven craft to "island hop" across the Pacific to Japan. We needed to use that time getting better acquainted with one another.
The single gold stripe on the sleeve of our O-in-C would not weigh very heavily against such an array of Army brass. But the three gold hashmarks on my own left sleeve, plus the gilded rating badge above them, plus the gold wings and splash of ribbons on the left chest, should handle the task with ease. With the crew assembled nearby, in squad formation and Ens Hollis looking very much in charge of them, I approached the ramp as the bird colonels started to board. A gentlemanly salute to the attractive blonde stewardess at the foot of the ramp preceded the request:
"I have a crew here with me, ma'am, and would like very much if it could be arranged that we should all be seated together."
"Well, sir," she responded, "You just go right on board and reserve whatever seats you wish for them."
The colonels and light colonels had all gone up the ramp. The first two of a much longer lineup of majors had paused, in obvious deference to my three gold hashmarks. With a quick "Thank you, gentlemen,' I preceded them up the ramp, quite grateful that the two majors hadn't felt impelled to salute me.
At the top of the ramp an attractive brunette was welcoming passengers aboard. Informed of my mission, she indicated the still nearly empty space in the craft and said, "Take your pick." Asked the location of the galley, she pointed aft. When the crew finally boarded, in addition to being right next to the galley they were closest to the lavatories and had space for storing bags and hanging uniforms immediately behind them. A very significant step towards earning the confidence of one's crew.
The eagerness, especially of the younger men, over the adventures they were probably envisioning before them, kept their conversations quite spirited through most of the six-hour flight to Hawaii. Hollis and I, seated together, spent part of the time in further, get-acquainted discussions. The conversations behind us had mostly faded away before we reached the islands, and that was only the beginning of the journey. Droning across the Pacific as a passenger could become a bit boring. I didn't want for the men to become bored with one another as result. There might be need to find some ways to disrupt the monotony for them now and again.
But an incident shortly after departure from Honolulu eliminated that need. A poker game began immediately in front of Hollis and myself, involving two light colonels and two captains. Seated as they were on opposite sides of the aisle from one another, they used the floor as their table. This made it necessary for the stewardesses to step carefully over the cards as they scurried back and forth serving the other passengers.
That situation did not of itself bother either the ladies or the card players, until another captain from somewhere up forward seated himself on the floor to join in the game. Even that partial blockage of their passageway didn't seem to trouble the stewardesses, until the newcomer decided in addition to playing cards to try to play with their ankles as they passed by. Their looks of disdain at him had no effect; in fact he usually didn't even look up at them at all.
Next the fellow stretched out prone in the aisle. Then when one of the ladies passed by, he would flick the edge of her skirt with his hand and lean out as though to peer up under it. That was sufficient to compel the ladies into private conference, logically discussing if they should call upon their own flight captain to deal with the problem. While they were doing so, out of earshot, there was the chance to eliminate the problem for them. Since the Army captain was stretched out directly across from me, it was easy to gain his attention between hands of the poker game.
"Excuse me, captain," I called to him quietly, and when he looked, "Are you perchance a West Pointer?"
"No I'm not," he answered quickly.
"Well now I'm mighty relieved to hear that, sir" brought a puzzled look from him which changed to beginning embarrassment as I added slowly, "for you had me worried that perhaps that fine old institution had grown remiss in the teaching of manners and gentlemanly conduct...."
He looked then toward the other card players as though he thought they should do or say something in his behalf. They, however, all quickly averted their eyes from both him and myself. The one with the card deck stopped his shuffling. When the captain looked back at me, it was most satisfying to continue:
"...Now you may have noticed, captain, that I have several quite young sailors here with me. We try in the Navy to instill in our men respect for officers of all the military services. You by your behavior here have been undermining my efforts in that regard; and I do wish you would desist from it."
He glanced again at the other card players, then looked down at the floor. To the others I then said, "My apologies, gentlemen, for disrupting your game. Please do continue. And further for you captain...," (he did not look back again) "...if I've not made my feelings clear or you might wish to discuss the matter further, I'm sure we could find a private place to do so at the next fuel stop."
The captain stayed in the poker game for two more hands; but obviously trying more to "bluff out" the embarrassment he'd been dealt, rather than the cards. The ladies had to pass by him several times during that while; perhaps at first expecting more of his juvenile behavior, then simply ignoring him since it had desisted. When the fellow left the game Crawford, seated just behind me, leaned forward to quietly say, "Nice goin' chief."
It had been done, really, just because it needed to be done. But it was at the same time certain to benefit my rating with my crew. Though none other of them said anything to me about it, the incident was much in their thoughts and conversations during the several hours to Johnson Island.
The Army captain did not seek a private conference with me at Johnson Island. There was time enough, therefore, to give the crew a diversionary dissertation about the famous "gooney birds" which share the airport facility on that reef. Shortly after departure from there, the stewardesses intercepted me returning from the lavatory, introduced themselves (Carol, the blonde, Elaine, the brunette) and said they wanted to thank me.
"For what?" I asked.
"For what you did for us," one of them replied. "We found out that you said something to the passenger that was giving us trouble, and that's why he quit and went back to his seat."
"But I didn't do that for you," I told them, soberly. "I did that strictly for myself."
They looked a bit puzzled as one of them asked, "What do you mean by that?"
"Well the way you two were looking while you discussed it back there, I figured you had just about decided you'd have to ask your own captain to come and set they guy straight. And I didn't want him to have to do that. I want him to stay up there and keep this flying machine on course. Having done a bit of island hopping out here myself it's a mighty big ocean and Johnson Island is very small. Didn't want him to miss it."
Now realizing I was kidding them a bit on the other matter, they picked up on the mention of having done some island hopping and posed a few questions about that. After which one of them said, "Okay, so you told the guy off just for your own sake, but we appreciate it, anyhow."
"Well, I did have one other reason for doing it."
"What was that?"
"My crew was getting bored."
"Your crew is getting bored ?" They looked at each other and said in perfect unison: "We-ought-to-do-something-about-that."
And do something about that, they did. It wasn't VIP (very important persons) treatment that my men got throughout the remainder of the flight to Tokyo, it was M (for most) IP. Not that the gals neglected their duties to the other passengers. But the sailors were served first at meal times and whenever the ladies had some time for their own relaxing, a couple of my crewmen would be invited to join them for card-games and conversation, plus extras of refreshments if they wished.
When the plane stopped at Wake Island for refueling, one of the Army officers, a captain, was waiting as I debarked. He greeted me warmly, saying: "Well, chief, I see the Navy's really got it made on this trip."
"Something about those sailors I guess, captain, the gals just can't resist 'em. They sure are making this one heck of a memorable trip for my men."
"Well," he said, "they obviously appreciate what you did for them back there...(His expression sobered)...And I want to tell you, so do I, and a good many more of the Army officers on this flight. Actually, one of us should have done it. And I sort of feel as though I ought to apologize for Army because none of us did."
"No need at all for that...." We discussed the matter for a while. In a sense, one of the other Army officers should have set the fellow straight; particularly one of the light colonels in the card game. Yet the fact that none did so didn't mean that none cared. The situation was such as to make all of them hesitant to do it.
The Army officers on board were not an organized unit. They were reservists, recalled to active duty, traveling as individuals. Probably few, if any, were even acquainted with each other prior to reporting for this flight to Japan. "Besides, captain," I concluded on the matter, "I was in the best position to do it, since he was stretched out on the deck right beside me."
"And probably the best qualified," the captain responded. "The way you did it didn't leave him any room for argument. No way out but to go back to his seat.:
"Well, captain, I've been in the Navy long enough to have had a little practice. Army doesn't have a monopoly on that kind of creeps."
During the flight to Iwo Jima I was intercepted again while away from my seat. "We've found out what all those stripes and things on your uniform jacket mean," said one of the ladies. "Plus a lot of other interesting things about you," the other one added.
"You weren't supposed to interrogate my men," I jokingly complained. "You're only supposed to keep them from getting bored. But seriously, now, I do want to thank you for making this such an interesting trip for them."
"Thank us for that? We should be thanking you! This is the best flight we've ever had having those young sailors or yours to talk with. Once they get over their shyness, they tell us about their families and girlfriends ... where you guys are going and what you'll be doing ... about you, things you've already done in Korea ... They're great fun ... We've decided to adopt you all of you ... You're now our helicopter crew."
There was invitation to have lunch with them in Tokyo, if perchance I remained in Japan for a few days before going on to Korea. "Dutch treat," said the blonde, Carol; they wouldn't expect me to buy their lunches. "No, not Dutch," the brunette disagreed. "We'll buy his lunch."
They could help me with the Christmas shopping I hoped to have time to do; because shopping was their main activity while in Japan. And they did so, very well. My ego liked to think they perhaps regretted just a bit that the shopping they helped me with was for a wife and two children. If so, perhaps of some consolation to them was the introductions to "eligible" bachelors Bill Hobbs and Norm Schwartz, former shipmates in China now flying out of Tokyo for CAT (Civil Air Transport).
And, as the brunette Elaine had insisted, they paid for my lunch. But then in the process of the shopping Elaine ran out of MPC (military payment currency) and borrowed ten bucks from me. It was agreed she would leave it for me with either Hobbs or Schwartz.
Of the several incidents along the way which served to start the men thinking of themselves as a crew, "adoption" by the stewardesses was far and away the most effective. They talked of it much during the next leg of the journey, with one another and myself. Since some of them enjoyed kidding about the fact that the gals spent much more time talking with them than with me during the flight, it seemed best no to tell them of my free lunch and shopping tour in Tokyo.
During that leg of the journey came opportunity to give the men a few tidbits of Navy lore. We traveled from Yokosuka to Sasebo in an old PBY (Catalina) "flying boat"; for many years a mainstay of Naval Aviation. In that famous old "P-boat", riding as passenger when the plane was in the water was closer to submarine duty than flying. It was the first ever seaplane ride for any of the crew, and they were among the last Navy men to fly in one such. Shortly after that the last of those craft were retired from Naval service.
The Toledo was at Pusan. Our conveyance from Sasebo to there was one of the few surviving vessels of Japan's once formidable fleet. a wooden-hulled troopship, with woven straw pallets for sleeping, and other original equipage; it was one more unique aspect of our journey for the young crewman to write home about. It was also excellent setting for conference about things to come. This near to our destination, it was time to discuss the things we must do immediately after we got there.
We must at once inspect the helicopter for its acceptability before Ensign Hollis should officially take custody of it from the Officer-in-Charge of the crew that was leaving. Hollis meanwhile should learn all that he could from the off-going 0-in-C about operating conditions aboard the Toledo; the kinds of flying the ship may have been scheduling in addition to the primary mission of availability for Air Sea Rescue and especially the characters of the ship's officers with whom he would have mostly to deal.
Even the sea, itself, cooperated in making that crossing to Pusan pleasantly memorable. Glassy smooth and moonlit as it was, one could rest so completely on the ship's wooden deck as to need little or no actual sleep. Near soundless because of her wooden hull, the vessel seemed to glide into Pusan harbor at daybreak.
Then suddenly, tranquillity of thought was broken by first sight of the Toledo through the morning mist. Dead silent she lay, bow towards us, her starboard side hard against the quay. So still was the air there was not so much as a flutter in the two star pennant dangling from her rigging. A lone sailor at her port rail seemed to be looking at us as we passed, yet s though not really seeing or caring since his eyes did not follow along with us.
Somewhat eerie, even ominous was the feeling; and it was such not then to share with anyone. Lying so still against the quay, the ship Toledo, which was to be my ship for at least a little while, had strangely reminded me of the Thai ship Praesae as she had lain broached on the enemy shore waiting for the guns of our own destroyers to administer her coup de grace.
Table of Contents
©2002, 2003 by Lynn Waterman; used by permission of the author, Duane Thorin.