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Gallery of War

Page 6

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Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 1968
Archival Print #H-PH116TFHres5 (digitally restored)
(c)2003 L. Nollenberger

I entered the base through the main gate at Pearl and asked the M.P. where the Taylor was. "Birth 83, about 1/2 mile north," he said. I shouldered my 30 LB. seabag and started walking. Finally, I got a glimpse of my new home. She was an old WW II tin can, moored three ships out. My first thought was, would this old bucket even hold water? She was an old one, alright. I crossed the other two ships and reported aboard for duty. The first thing I noticed when I crossed the last plank onto to Taylor was a plaque full of ribbons attached to a bulkhead just below the bridge. There were more ribbons on that plaque than I had seen on any Admiral's chest! The ship had been around and had seen some combat. The Chief pointed me below decks to my quaters. A young man sat on the opposite bunk picking at his eye. "What's wrong?" I said. "Paint chips," he said. "Get um everywhere, up your nose, in your eyes, hair...everywhere." "They are preping the ship for the next WESTPAC Cruise." "You'll be chipping paint all day tomorrow, better get some rest." "Ever work a pneumatic chipping hammer?" he asked. "No," I replied. "You will," he said. "Better get some rest."