Monday, December 18, 2006

Sunday, 22 April, 1956
111 Days to Go

Dear Folks

I must really be slipping—I didn’t write at all yesterday. Well, let’s hope it doesn’t happen again. A surprise mail call woke me up this morning around nine, & I netted two letters from you, including the pictures of the cottage.

Both yesterday & today were beautiful, sunny & warm. The entire United States Sixth Fleet is crammed together in Suda Bay—all neatly laid out if anybody wanted to pull a quick raid. Suda Bay is a long, finger-like inlet that is almost a lake. Its only entrance is through a narrow inlet, past a small fortified island. The whole thing is completely surrounded by bare mountains. We’d be pretty bottled up if anything happened.

The captain talked to us via the loudspeakers today, telling us we leave tomorrow, to be at sea for eight days. On May first, we arrive at Athens, Greece—wonder of wonders! We’ll be there for eight days, then put to sea again until the 16th, at which time we will "put in to an unknown port in either Greece or Turkey." (Most likely Ismir, Turkey.) After that, who knows? And who cares, for by that time we’ll be ready to head for home. I hope we stop at Gibraltar for a few days so I can buy a lot of last-minute things.

Actually, this trip to Athens about climaxes my European "tour deluxe." With it, I will have been to every major city in Southern Europe, with the exception of Madrid!

Lloyd & I went sun bathing this afternoon on the flight deck, after seeing the first half of the afternoon double feature. And guess who we saw, out for his daily stroll? My old buddy, Dale Harris, from Pensacola. Perhaps I should say Carrier Division Four (one of his titles), or "Admiral Dale Harris, onetime Chief of Naval Air Basic Training." He walks from the island structure to the forward end of the flight deck—starboard (right) side, turns around, & walks back again. This he does at least six times, & was still pacing when we left. He’s accompanied by an armed Marine, who stands discreetly but comfortably distant.

Tonight I went back to see the second half of the double feature, & as a result staying up after taps to get this written. I know it is short, but trust you will forgive me. Again, thanks for the pictures & send more any time you have a chance.

Till tomorrow, I am

Your Humble Son


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