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. . . several of his officers came in and took a table near us. Ramey is a lieutenant and a graduate of Annapolis. He hails from the deep South and talks like a hillbilly. An extremely likable fellow and a lot of fun. He says his "old woman" is president of the WCTU in their home town, and that when he is home he fills her refrigerator with beer, gets drunk, and generally disgraces her. I never found out whether he meant "old woman" to mean his wife or mother.
Biggs, Croft, and I went down town to look around and do a little shopping. When we came back about six o'clock, Ramey was still sitting in the same place. He had been there drinking highballs since about one o'clock. Apparently, they had had no effect on him. He drank very consistently during the twelve days we were at Suva, but I never saw him high. A two-fisted drinker!
After shopping, we took our loot back to the ship, washed up; and then walked back up town until we found a taxi, which took us to the Fiji Club. It is for members only, and none of us was a member. But a naval officer who was a member came along and took us in with him. We had a couple of highballs, and then borrowed a Navy jeep to drive us to the Grand Pacific, where we arrived just after they had stopped serving drinks!
The lounge was crowded with people waiting for the dining room to open, but Biggs was fortunate in being able to reserve a table. It was about a five course dinner with a little dab of this or that for each course. We thought that this was to be our last meal ashore for a while, as Biggs had received orders to sail for Tutuila the following morning, which suited all of us. After dinner we hitch hiked in a jeep to the ship. In leaving or entering the dock area we had to pass a New Zealand sentry and show our credentials. This was the only time during the three months I was away that anyone asked to see my credentials; and I had a pocket full of them, including a passport.
Feb. 4. About 7:30, while I was at breakfast, we pulled away from the dock; and after breakfast I went up to the bridge. A rusty little tanker, the Gulf Queen, which we are to escort, had already pulled out of the harbour. Two freighters had also preceded us. A couple of planes circled continuously about the ships, looking for subs.
Shortly after leaving the harbour, the lookout reported six ships just below the horizon. They later became nine ships, which finally developed into a squadron of SC boats -- little sub chasers. We were at last on our way to Pago Pago on the Island of Tutuila, American Samoa, of which a friend of mine, now Admiral "Yen" Hansen, had been governor until shortly before the war. The tapa cloth he gave me is hanging beside me on my office wall. I have been to many parties with Yen and Nina Hansen.
About 11:30, while we were at mess, a message was brought down from the communications officer. It was an order for us to return to Suva with our convoy. So the Gulf Queen, the McKean, and the Shaw came about and started zig zagging in the opposite direction We dropped anchor again in the Suva harbour at 5:30 PM. Shortly after, a message was blinked from shore that a hurricane was forming about 150 miles NE of Suva. I thought we might get some excitement after all.
Feb. 5. After breakfast, one of the sub chasers tied up alongside; and I got a good look at it. The crew were a husky lot, dressed in shorts and beards. Presently two more came along and tied up alongside the . . .
SC boats (Submarine Chaser)
Admiral "Yen" Hansen
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