Smile, you're on candid camera Sea Stories & Photos

John Stein - ET2 - 1961-1962

Smile, you're on candid camera

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An enduring moment on the Cecil

One of my most enduring memories of my cruise aboard the Charley P. took place in Norfolk. We had just returned from a Med cruise and I was due to get out in a couple of days. I had already been accepted for duty in the Peace Corps. When I returned to the ship about 1800hrs I was informed that I would not be allowed to go ashore again! Meanwhile the SP's were going from bar to bar downtown dragging sailors out and into the paddy wagons. They were grabbing anybody with an ID card and hauling them to our destroyers. We ended up around midnight with about 60 guys that had no idea what the hell was going on. Many of them were quite drunk. None had been give a rack. Of course, none had any spare clothing. Some of them were in civvies. We took off around midnight, again with no idea of what was happening or where the heck we were going.

At some time (I think it was the next morning) the CO came up on the IC and apologised for not knowing anything. He still did not have clear orders! We eventually picked up some auxilliaries (I think it was a tanker and an ammo ship) coming out of Moorhead City, NC and escorted them to the Cuban AO. By the time we got there the blockade was already established and the tanker and ammo ship replenished everybody. The skipper was nice enough to keep us all informed as he received info and by the time we got to the hot zone we were all pretty sure that we were about 10 minutes from war.

President Kennedy had extended all hands for the duration so I was over my enlistment. But after it all died down I was high-lined to a tanker and rode that into Jacksonville, FL. After a month or so of Shore Patrol duty I was finally released. I joined the Peace Corp in January and spent 2 years in India as an electronics instructor at the Punjab Polytechnic Institute in Nilokheri, Punjab, India.



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