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Walked over to the V.O. Club with an officer from the Minneapolis. When we got there, I saw that neither Biggs nore Ramey were there; and soon discovered the reason: They sold only beer. As I was drinking beer from the bottle, the club owning no glasses, and bemoaning the fact that there was no Scotch, a Navy Lieutenant came up to me and insisted that I come up stairs with him and meet his wife. I got the idea right off the bat, and trotted along with him.
He took me to an officer's quarters on the second floor. There were several Navy officers there, getting rapidly high. There was also a table bearing many bottles of Scotch and Bourbon. My host, Lt. S.B. Neff of Hingham, Mass., and all but one officer from the Mississippi, were from the minesweeper Turkey. The room was known as The Turkey Club. We did very well for ourselves in The Turkey Club for an hour. They insisted that I stay and mess with them, but I decided to return to the Shaw.
The Minneapolis, the Shaw, and the McKean were moored to the dock and to oneanother in that order for refueling. The Mississippi and Gulf Queen were anchored near by, and there was a Liberty ship at another dock. There were smaller craft, like the Turkey, also in the harbour, which lies surrounded by steep, jungle covered mountains. It is a beautiful setting, and a busy place. Work was under way to make it a destroyer base. This and great deal of other matter in this manuscript is of such a nature that it will have to go unread until after the war, but I wanted to get my story typed while it was more or less fresh in my mind - and while I am still alive. The chances are that I shall not outlive the war with Japan.
Immediately after supper I went to my cabin, undressed and lay down to read. I had on only pajama pants, as it was very hot. So Dr. Shoor brought three or four Navy doctors in to meet me, as one would exhibit a two headed boy.
Feb. 19. We pulled out at dawn, the McKean first and then the Shaw. A mine sweeper and several planes patrolled with us until the entire group was at sea and under way - about 8 AM. Shortly after 9:00, four Gruman Wildcats simulated an attack on us. They dive bombed us for about an hour and machine gunned a spar target towed by the Mississippi. They were very impressive as they roared down on us. They would have been more impressive had they been Jap planes, but one can't have everything.
Later that morning I saw a water spout - my first. Then a hammerhead shark swam close beside the ship. Nature, man, and beast were putting on a show for me. Now, if I had only seen a whale and a corpse it would have been a perfect day.
We took up bridge again, Croft Shoor, Taylor, and I playing all afternoon.
Feb. 20. Wrote by twenty-third and twenty-fourth stories today in the ship's office, using one of their standard Underwoods. A heavenly experience after struggling with my damned portable for so long. An uneventful day except that the sea was quite rough, which I liked.
Feb. 21. Pecked out story number twenty-five on my portable in the wardroom. Was sitting in the wardroom with half a dozen officers after supper, whe, at 8:30, there was a terrific explosion and the ship jumped and shuddered. In about two seconds I was sitting alone in the wardroom in total darkness. Those officers had vanished for their battle stations in nothing flat, and the last one out had left the door ajar, which automatically left the . . .
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