Glen's submission for this months contest
Post date: Jul 27, 2012 9:21:26 PM
Glen Foss VE Day (Submitted by Glen Foss for this months contest)
The torpedo hit us just above the keel at the aft boiler room right after our gang assumed the mid watch. There was a huge explosion and all hell broke loose. For some reason the lights stayed on for a while. I kind of wish they hadn’t.
The ship lurched and started to list. We were thrown around like rag dolls against the bulkheads and machinery. Steam lines ruptured, and the compartment began to fill with boiling water. A high-pressure line broke near Blackie, and the live steam sliced through his body like a hot knife.
I’ll never forget the look on his dead face. Not shock or agony, just—surprise.
Blackie was the E-5 on my boiler room watch. He was my sea daddy and quickly became my best friend. He taught me how to stay on the good side of the Chief and how to enjoy liberty without getting into trouble. Even took me to the best whorehouse in Tsingtao.
I haven’t slept much since that happened. The pain from my healing scald burns is enough to keep me awake, but it’s mostly that scene—like from a war movie, but real. When the lights did go out, there was new light from the burning fuel oil floating on the water, along with the noise of escaping steam. The heat and the burn pain were horrific. I could hear a couple of the guys screaming farther forward near the boiler.
The damage control team got there fast and grabbed me while I was trying to reach Ellis and Ianucci. I’m pretty sure I could have got to them, but the DC guys wouldn’t listen and hauled me out of the compartment. I think I blacked out then.
I realize that they had to seal the compartment to save the ship, but just a couple of more minutes---.
After we made port, they shipped me back east for some leave and reassignment to a tin can out of Newport. I’m staying at the Armed Forces YMCA in New York City.
There’s a little bar just off Times Square where the drinks are cheap and they don’t give you any crap if you sit back in the corner. If I have a few there, I can usually manage to stumble back to the Y and get a couple hours of sleep. The bad stuff started running through my head earlier than usual today, so I got back to the bar as soon as they opened.
Times Square is always a noisy place, so I didn’t notice the commotion are first—and I was already on my fourth beer. Soon it got wild out there, and some guy ran in yelling something about unconditional surrender by the Nazis.
I wandered out to check out the commotion and saw the crowd going berserk. A couple of sailors from one of the carriers and a nurse were kissing and whooping it up right in front of me.
Victory in Europe! Well, hallelujah. Hitler and Germany are finished. Meanwhile the Japs fight on, and Blackie is still dead.
Go ahead and celebrate, you birdfarm deck apes. The war is over—for you.
By Glen Foss