Pearl Harbor and Chester Nimitz

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John Guy writes: “What God did at Pearl Harbor that day is interesting and I never knew this little bit of history.

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time.

In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941— Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington, DC. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.

He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”

Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?

Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or, God was taking care of America.

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredericksburg, Texas — he was a born optimist.

But any way you look at it — Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver lining in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

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Carousel: Octopussy (continued)

by Brion Boyles

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For those of you who have never been, the Carousel was a little sex club at the back of a tiny alley near the station.

You paid a pretty fair entrance (seems to me it would have been about the equivalent of $20 today), which also got you an Ichiban Kirin and access to all the entertainment activity within. Inside, it was dark and cramped, lined with smoked-stained, red velvet curtains… like that in Belle Watlins’ whorehouse in “Gone With The Wind”.

There was a stage at the rear, with a narrow runway that projected out into the center of the room, ending at a circular platform with thick, furry pink “carpet”. Performers put on “artistic” shows on the stage, sometimes using transparent rice-paper screens to tease and give illusions… but they performed their more “intimate” acts on the platform, which was ringed by chairs and small tables.There were a couple of other tables/chairs scattered around, and then the walls were lined with chairs, also…which terminated at a curtained-off doorway in the corner.

If you sat around the platform, you could be called upon to join the performer on-stage.If you sat on the chairs along the wall, you were taking your place “in line” to join an off-stage performer in the curtained-off room for a few minutes.While the act was going on aboard the platform, the last guy in the “line” would go into the curtained-off room, and everyone else would shift over one chair.

MEANWHILE, the girl onstage would reach out and pull on the the guys up from around the stage at some point, for his bit in the “show”.While this might sound like a good time, “performing” in front of a darkened room of onlookers was “harder” than it sounds.(pun intended).

One night, a few of us were in for a show. Two girls were on the round stage, and one of them reached out and grabbed a Japanese sailor, pulling him up to the center, cheered on by his own band of shipmates…

He stood there, trembling… eyes squeezed shut, hands clenched in fists at his side, while one girl pulled his pants down…”PLINK!”… out came this tiny little dick…The girls kept their composure, though… one girl winking back at the audience with her finger to her lips, “Shhhh…!”

..and the other girl trying to slip a condom on his mighty cocktail spear, using her mouth…

,,,but with so little real estate upon which to unroll the thing, the little mushroom-capped condom kept falling off with each attempt. No matter how she tried to clamp that puppy onto his desperate, throbbing little unit, the condom would drop into the pink fur, as if to escape such an unworthy fate.

FINALLY, she gave up, and our hero quickly pulled up his pants and disappeared into the welcoming anonymity of the smokey darkness.The winking girl reached for another audience member…this time selecting a 6′ 6″ Iowa farmboy, a Fireman from the USS MIDWAY, dressed in coveralls and a Black Sabbath T-shirt.

He stood there as she undid his coveralls, and out flopped the finest specimen of schlong the US Navy ever offered for the benefit of local cultural advancement.The room erupted in cheers… and the other girl went back stage for a bigger condom..

.If memory serves, some admirals’ wife heard about the Carousel and had it shut down.

So much for “showing the Flag”…


Why I Quit Drinking (for now)

by Garland Davis

I was diagnosed with cancer about eight months ago and was slated for a number of CHEMO Therapy treatments. I was given a sheet explaining the different drugs used in CHEMO and listed the side effects (enough to scare the shit out of the strongest person) and the drug interactions for each one.

  1. Nausea. Often puke a lot.
  2. Loss of appetite (Good chance to lose that fat ass you are packing around.
  3. Sometimes your fricken hair falls out, completely or in clumps.
  4. On the bright side it gives you a good reason to smoke marijuana.

Being an Asia Sailor in good standing, I was particularly interested in the effects of alcohol consumption, As I read the sheet for each drug, I became more and more perplexed. Each one said that alcohol was permitted in small amounts. My questions were:

  1. How much is a “small” amount? In my experience anything below a six pack can not even be considered an “amount.”
  2. Are you only permitted one small “amount” or can you have a small “amount” for each medicine?

After agonizing over the problem for awhile, I decided that not drinking during the treatment would probably be best. Once CHEMO was finished, I was scheduled for fifteen radiation treatments. The Radiation Oncologist explained the side effects of the treatments.

  1. Torture. Since my cancer was in my neck, they fashioned a mask that covered my face and head and was clamped down so I couldn’t move. (See Photo)
  2. Probably lose sense of taste.
  3. Recommended increasing calorie increase because could cause rapid weight loss. (A fat boy’s wet dream.)
  4. Could rot your teeth. Prescription toothpaste.
  5. Could cause loss of hair growth on face and neck. Oh, Boy! Simce I would rather eat a bug that shave, I saw this as a benefit.
  6. There were some other things, but Tara, the pretty nurse, came into the room about that time and I don’t remember anything else he said.

I also decided to forego the drinking during radiation treatment.

Now that I have been considered cancer free, I guess I could have a few, but I think I will wait until The Asia Sailor reunion in Branson. Come on May!



“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”

“Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed.  Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams.  If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered.  I think, “It is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.” – Babe Ruth

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.” – Paul Horning

“24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.” – H. L. Mencken

“When we drink, we get drunk.  When we get drunk, we fall asleep.  When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.  When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.  So, let’s all get drunk and go to heaven!” – George Bernard Shaw

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer.  Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” – Dave Barry


Remember “I” before “E,” except in Budweiser. – Professor Irwin Corey

To some it’s a six-pack; to me it’s Support Group Salvation in a can! – Leo Durocher


Midway Magic (CV-41)

By Willie R. Ellis

If you go onboard her in San Diego and stand in the expansion joint passageway, if you’re very still, and very patient, every once in a while you’ll notice that joint flex and move ever so slightly. It’s like she’s still breathing. Dreaming perhaps. Dreaming of flight ops no doubt. Or maybe a high speed run down the South China Sea to Subic. Carrying her cargo of young, crazy sailors on their way to adventures they’ll remember the rest of their lives. She dreams of all her adventures the same way we do. And she dreams of being underway again.

The way we all do…



Stolen from Paul Reuter

In the annals of Naval history, there are no more famous brothers than the Sullivans…five brothers whose lives were lost aboard the USS Juneau CL-52 at Guadalcanal in 1942.

Less well-known are the Northcott brothers, John, Robert, and Thomas…three Seamen Apprentices who became Hospital Corpsmen and who miraculously survived a gauntlet of disease, torture and deprivation over their first years in the Navy.

Born in what was then the American territory of the Philippines to a British-born American father and a Spanish mother, the Northcott’s grew up in Manila as war clouds spread across Asia.

Anxious to do their part and serve their country, the brothers enlisted in the Navy together in January 1941.

They were assigned to the USS Vaga YT-116, a tug used for patrolling the Filipino coastline from the Cavite Navy Yard to the island of Corregidor.

Soon after the Japanese invaded, the Northcott’s helped scuttle the USS Vaga off Corregidor and join a Navy unit attached to the 4th Marine Regiment in defense of Corregidor until they were capture on 6 May 1942.

Along with fellow defenders of Corregidor, the Northcott’s were transferred to Bilibid. From the Tagalog word meaning “prison,” Bilibid was the name a detention facility located in the heart of Manila.

Bilibid would be used to process thousands of American, Filipino, Dutch, British, Australian and Kiwi (NZ) prisoners to labor camps throughout the Philippines and Japan.

Among Bilibid’s internees were physicians, dentists, and hospital corpsmen who had once staffed the US Naval Hospital Canacao.

Despite suffering from tropical diseases, malnutrition, and lacking sufficient medical supplies and equipment, the personnel of this “hospital unit” would continue to treat the sick and wounded, operating what was called the…

“Bilibid Hospital for Military Prison Camps of the Philippine Islands.”

The Northcott brothers worked as “sick-bay strikers” working Bilibid’s makeshift hospital wards and receiving special instruction from doctors and pharmacy warrant officer in nursing, first aid, and administration.

Bilibid’s hospital unit even had regular examinations (promotion) for rate advancement. John, Robert, and Thomas would each be examined and promoted to pharmacist’s mate third class in November 1942.

In spite of many setbacks, including bouts of dengue fever and amebic dysentery, the Northcott’s remained on continuous duty.

As it was later reported in their Bronze Star citations, each carried on with their duties despite limited rations, constant harassment by guards and each willingly shared their meager supplies of food, clothing, and other necessary articles to less fortunate and ill prisoners.

On 21 October 1943, John, Robert, and Thomas were among 228 Bilibid prisoners, including 72 patients “drafted” for work detail on an old rice farm in Cabanatuan, 90 miles north of Manila.

There the brothers would remain working in malaria-rife conditions until they were finally broken up.

John and Thomas were sent to mainland Japan aboard the “hell ship” Oryoko Maru.  Robert would remain at Cabanatuan until his liberation.

In December 1944, John and Thomas were loaded into the ship’s cargo hold with 1,617 others.

Each was given only one-fifth of a canteen cup of steamed rice, two ounces of water, limited air, and no sanitary facilities.  On that first night at sea 70 POWs would suffocate or die of dehydration.

Two days later, while off Olongapo, the ship was strafed and bombed by aircraft from the USS Hornet CVA-8 killing another 270 prisoners.

Those lucky enough to survive the sinking were herded onto a cattle boat which would be sunk off the island of Formosa killing an additional 268 prisoners.

The remaining POWs were then loaded onto a third ship.

Over the course of its 17-day voyage an additional 656 prisoners would die of exposure, starvation, and disease before arriving in Japan on 30 January 1945, the very same day Robert Northcott was rescued from Cabanatuan.

John and Thomas Northcott would spend the remainder of the war at prison camps in Japan before finally being liberated in September 1945.

After the war, the Northcott brothers would remain in the Navy.

John and Robert would retire from the Navy in 1961, rising to the rank of Chief.

Thomas would be promoted to Chief in 1950 and serve with the First Marine Division in Korea until wounded in action in September 1950.

While recuperating he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and would be medically discharged in 1951. For his actions in Korea, he would later be award the Silver Star.