Binoculars

The first time we hit Eniwetok we were there 20 days waiting for an escort to the Philippines. What a drag that was looking at nothing but a sandbar six feet above sea level so they said. 

The second time we hit Eniwetok there was a little excitement as we were anchored not too far from a ship that carried a USO troop. Looking from a distant we could see the girls sunning themselves but our imagination supplemented what we could see.

One afternoon as I walked by the quarterdeck I noticed that Ensign Gillette was sporting a pair of binoculars hanging from his neck. I asked him Sir may I borrow those binoculars for a few minutes; there is something interesting on the port. Ensign Gillette being a good sport let me borrow the binoculars adding "donít keep them too long."

I walked across to the other side enjoying the sights when a chief Petty officer that I had never seen came up to me and grabbed the binoculars saying, "What the hell are you doing with my binoculars?" I replied, " I got permission to use these from the officer of the deck Ensign Gillette." He didn't say anything else to me but after dragging me back to the quarterdeck he lit in to the officer of the deck, Ensign Gillette. I don't remember his exact words but what he said had the effect that if Ensign Gillette didn't keep them on his post he would bring them back on The Bridge where they belong.

This may seem absurd that a Chief Petty Officer could pull rank on a commissioned officer, but the Chief Quartermaster was the ship's navigator. I assume that Captain Drury after his experience on the Marblehead had a great respect for the ships navigator. It was Quartermaster Lester J Barre who plotted the course of the Marblehead that could only maneuver in semicircles. They sailed around the Cape of Good Hope from Java to the Port of New York.

Ensign Gillette took the incident in stride and I followed suit by going along and respecting some of the unwritten laws that do keep things in perspective. At eighteen years of age there were a lot of things that I had to learn. 

Today I feel sad when I hear of some young people who get caught doing mischief I feel sad when The Law throws the book at them.

Ensign Gillette is the first officer from the left from the pictures taken at Fort Emery Landing Craft School.