-; THE BLUE BONNET ;-
A weekly publication of the ship's company
of the U. S. S. Houston, Captain G. N. Barker,
U. S. N.. Commanding and Commander C. A.
Bailey. U. S. N., Executive Officer.
Editor: Lieut. ( jg) E. A. McDonald
Assistant Editor: Ensign J. P. M. Johnston
Cartoonist: W. C. Ridge
Circulation: M. A. Pipp. Seale
Printers: R. L. Beckwith, Seale
E. Essy. Sea2e
Slaughter Among the Icebergs
( Continued from Page 1.)
It must not be forgotten that during
this trying ordeal the ship was
forced to continue its course of 000°
True. Stern hands kept the bow headed
for the Polar regions. In spite of
the black fog which shut out sight
and rendered duties extremely difficult
to perform the men stood their
watches faithfully. What was accomplished
was done by touch alone. But
now to make matters much worse a
violent electrical storm lashed out
from the darkness. Its fury was uncomparable.
The best attempt in describing
the terrifying forces and the
wrathful vengeance of nature would
fall woefully short of the truth. However,
it is sufficient to say that lightning
sent its jagged piercing streamers
in an almost never ending stream
from sky to water. The electrical display
was awe- inspiring. Later, many
of the crew were heard to relate that
it was the best durned Fourth of
July Celebration they'd ever seen. No
doubt, too, the danger lent zest and
many thrills to spectators.
Call it a freak of the storm or by
any other name, yet a - near miracle
now came to pass. A peculiarly green
colored bolt of lightning containing
many volts of electrical energy struck
o. 1 turret. The turret glowed like
molten iron for a few moments then
automatically trained itself around
to 180°. As a result its guns tore
through the bulkhead into the captain's
cabin. No cognizance was then
taken of this significant action mainly
because attention was centered on
the safety and integrity of the ship.
We were to learn later of the amazing
effect of the supercharged bolt.
During the rolling and pitching of
the vessel many of the crew felt the
rigors of the sea. Much of this effect
THE BLUE ' BONNET
very unfortunately went to their stomachs.
The pickles taken aboard while
in port performed invaluable service.
Some of the crew became quite attached
to them and felt that most
everything might have been lost ( and
well it might) if it hadn't been for
their soothing influence. Later, I was
told by most reliable sources that
these unfortunates banded themselves
in a society to further the popularity
of the pickle. To this present day, it
was also said, the society still carrys
out its convictions and aims.
Coincidentally when the last pickle
was gone, the storm lifted as suddenly
as it had appeared. Sunshine and good
weather replaced the foul. A velvety
sea replaced a seething cauldron, The
only remaining trace of the rather
unusual weather was a layer of soot
which caked the entire ship from stem
to stern. If we could have seen our
ship and ourselves then from a distant
t. ation in a detached manner
no doubt we would have laughed
most heartily. Everyone looked like
the colored messboys. The ship looked
as if he'd been carrying coal for
centuries. The occasion proved anything
but humoroui; after considering
it from the angle of labor involved.
An emergency field day was
held. Before long as a result of long
and well planned work the ship emerged
as from a chrysallis, spotless
and shiny, the pride of the seas and
a credit to our Navy.
After a few days of storm, daily
routine was reestablished and normalcy
flowed on as serenely as a mountain
brook. Except for one thing, a
quite weighty reminder, the storm
with it events wouldnave fa( fed into
the limbo of time. No. 1 turret could
not or would not be budged from its
reversed position. Although almost
every mind aboard devised methods
of returning the ailing turret to its
normal position all efforts failed miserably.
There was only one thing left
to do. That was for everyone concerned
to adopt the policy of " live and let
live" of " what is must be". This was
then hastily concurred in and all
hands repaired to the sick bay where
the ship's doctor prescribed ample
proportions of medical alcohol.
Day followed day with amazing regularity.
Except for the continued falling
of the thermometer each day was
like the rest. Then finally there came
that day, long thereafter remembered,
when a single iceberg hove in sight.
Blue- white and glistening like a million
diamonds in the sunlight it presented
truly a wonderful sight. Here
then was one of the far flung frontiers
of the polar regions. On the or
del' for the day peacoats, double watch
caps, and woolen socks were prescribed
the uniform of the day.
Becau e of the fact that we were
rapidly approaching the iceberg pack
the landing force was mustered with
full equipment. Under the leadership
of the 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine
Corps all units marched about the
decks like they had never marched
before. They pirouetted, parried, made
feints toward an inaginary enemy,
and otherwise performed with their
various guns. Naturally they came in
for a good share of rather caustic
remarks and ribaldry from interested
and amused spectators, but by setting
their minds to the duty and the
job before them no amount of outside
horseplay could even as much as
elicit one strained smile. Within the
short period of two days the landing
force was pronounced ready for any
emergency or trial that could beset
them in the frozen northland.
Finally, before us, as far as the
eye could see loomed inpenetrable
bergs, floes, and ice fields. The grinding,
churning roar of crushing restless
ice filled the ail' with eerie sound,
Men had to shout in order to be heard.
Before us was our destination. Now to
its successful completion.
Plans were now laid with infinite
detail. It was decided that J; he- logi
first step would be to send the four
planes out on a scouting mission. The
discovery of the piece de resistance
was, to say the least, of prime importance.
Polar bears were necessary to
successfully CUlminate our undertaking.
Flight call brought the aviators
to their stations on the double. In a
few minutes each plane, fully equiped
to withstand the terrific cold, was catapulted.
Meanwhile although the main engines
had stopped it was found necessary
to back down continually to
avoid crashing full tilt into the icebergs.
Still not the least bit of alarm
was felt because of this rather unusual
procedure. It was explained