H) Still Early Winter – 1965, at sea…

Still Early Winter – 1965, at sea…

After we left Hawaii, we headed to Okinawa, Japan. It’s around 4700 miles so we must have taken 14-18 days to get there. During that time we had many ‘general quarters’ drills to get ourselves ready to go to war. We also attended classes on nuclear strikes and fire drills and such. I was now part of the ‘signalman’ group so I was up near the bridge most of every day training on how to semaphore and use the signal lamps. I had to learn Morse code to do that and I have to say that my brain wasn’t wired up to grasp that stuff to quickly. But you are allowed months in grade so I wasn’t too worried; I knew I’d get it eventually.

When we arrived at Okinawa, before we even docked, we had some target practice on a ranging island. The navy owned the island and it was used for target practice by navy ships and planes. After several hours of firing at targets on shore, we docked at a long, hillside dock. Days later, when we left that dock, there was a stiff on-shore wind. That wind caused us to crash into the dock causing 10’s of thousands in damage, I’d guess. Anyway, we tied up and many of us got shore leave. I can’t remember the names of any of the villages I went to but I do remember that the area was remote and the villages were small. And there were several villages around 200 yards apart strung along a lonely dirt road. I did wander ashore and look for film, beer, and food, not to mention getting a chance to see such a strange place and people. Most of the guys went looking to get laid, I didn’t bother. I went to site see. Very odd place, but we were way out in the boondocks, no big military base or anything. I was thinking at the time that the military planners didn’t want a large population notice that we had all those Marines aboard, and they didn’t get to go over. It would have been a zoo if they had. Would have been too many horny guys running around finding too few whores.

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