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Gallery of War

Page 8

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Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 1968
Archival Print #H-PH110AM
(c)2003 L. Nollenberger

After work the next day, I returned to the fantail. The Arizona Memorial could be seen in the distance across the bay. A grim reminder of those who had died in war. A shipmate walked onto the deck. "Spooky, ain't it," he said. "Sure is," I said. I asked him when we were headed off to Nam. He went on to tell me they would finish the paint job and then take her out on maneuvers for a few weeks and then we would ship out for the P.I. "Set up temporary port in Subic Bay and make a run to the gunline for about 30 days," he said. "All you do is shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more over there." He asked if I had been assigned a battle station and I told him I was the trainer of the 5" gun mount on the fantail. "Ah, I'm the pointer," he said. "Looks like we will be working together on the next cruise." He asked if I had a rank and I told him they had put me on the deck force. "Gotta get a rank, unless you want to chip paint and swab decks for your entire stay," he replied. "Get out your reg. book and start studying, then mail off to Annapolis for a study course." "Get in Supply Division or Personnel or something easier," he advised. I took his advice and went below and started reading. I had made a friend. Although, only a seaman he knew some of the ropes and had made a cruise. He would become my mentor, my teacher and my link to survival in a sea of full of exploding bombs. I tried to study but my mind kept wandering. I could not get the war out of my mind.