Jan. 31, 2000|
You asked for stories from our times aboard the Salt Lake City. I hope
the enclosed finds some interest for the website. Please remember this
was over fifty years ago so be prepared for some of the facts to be
inaccurate as to time and place but the general theme is OK.
Whenever I used to be asked "what was it like in the navy", I'd always
work around to saying "good times and bad times, but I remember mostly
the good time".
The pictures above were taken at some novelty store in Honolulu.
There was quite of few of these shops around town with various themes.
You could pose with Hula Girls, Diamond Head or Palm Trees in the
background. I'm sure everyone has a few of these laying around. I
just can not find the few I had. I was showing one to an old timer
and he laughed and told me the girl was Japanese and not Hawaiian. I
thought he was kidding me but found out later he was right.
As I look at these pictures, I think back on how much work it was to keep
the whites ready for liberty. It was to expensive to send them to the
laundry, so we washed them in our buckets. While they were still a little
damp, they could be smoothed out and carefully folded. This would satisfy
most requirements. If you wanted to look sharp, you would wait in line for
an iron to open up and then use the top of our pea coat locker for an ironing
Speaking of buckets....a lot of sailors did their own laundry and owned a
bucket. I had one of the best buckets in the Navy. Solid brass. It was
beautiful. I bought it from a guy who had been in the Asiatic Fleet and had
bought the bucket in China.
While limping back to Dutch Harbor, after the Komandorski Battle, a serious
flooding condition was in the laundry and had to be bailed out by hand because
the loose clothing was clogging the pumps. Everybody who could be spared was
ordered to get a bucket and form a chain to bail out by hand. I was in that
chain and never saw my bucket again. I walked around the ship thinking it
would stand out and be set aside. No such luck. I often wondered how it
could disappear. I'm sure it was not junked.
My next financial lose from the battle was when a supply officer at Mare
Island beat me down 50% on a pair of shoes lost because our compartment was
partially flooded from battle damage. "They should have been in your locker".
Another guy I swore I'd never buy a drink.