Monday, December 1, 2008
Today is another anniversary - much different from November 29. (I am moved by the heartfelt comments about that posting,) I'll review December 1, 1943 and some of what happened during the weeks prior and following that date. Mom and I were engaged right after I was commissioned in February of 1943. She went back to DePauw, and I went to a gunnery school at the destroyer base in San Diego and from there to the U.S.S. Aulick, DD569 in Pearl Harbor. It took a while to get there, because I spent some time in Seattle awaiting transportation to the Aleutians where someone thought the ship was. But that's another story. The Aulick was in dry dock at Pearl undergoing repairs for damage suffered when it hit a reef in the South Pacific. The repair process went on until the ship was deemed ready for sea again, but a full power trial revealed a problem with one of the main reduction gears. It was decided that the Bremerton Navy Yard was the best place for correcting the problem. I honestly don't remember how we communicated when ship locations and movements were supposed to be secret, but we decided to get married during my leave. And we did on December 1. It was a nice, sunny day in Portsmouth. Mom's Maid of Honor was Caroline Friel,an old friend, and my Best Man was one of my brothers-in-law, Harry Hollingsworth. We spent two nights in Columbus, two more in Mansfield and then on the train to Bremerton where we stayed at the Enetai Inn until 12/23. (Never have been able to understand why one destroyer was so important to the war in the Pacific that departure couldn't have waited until after Christmas.) It was an 8-hour run from the dock to the open sea, and there was a violent storm in progress when the ship left the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The ship was battered and suffered significant damage again - just after a Navy Yard stay. So shortly after arriving in Pearl Harbor, we learned we would be heading back to the states for a period of time for more repairs. So, had it not been for the storm, the Aulick would most likely have proceeded beyond Pearl Harbor and stayed out there for who knows how long. Although it made me very sick for about eight hours, that storm most likely had a significant impact on the structure of our family. I was surprised today to hear our anniversary announced over the PA system. Such occasions are not usually so noted. Ernie told the operator.