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Friday, January 11, 2008

Sasebo, Japan

Sasebo, Japan street scenes above, 1969

Me, Flight Deck Parade Sasebo, Japan 1969

I snapped these pictures in Sasebo, Japan in 1969. The one directly above shows me as the Ranger ported in Sasebo, and leads into the funny story behind it. My buddy Bob Henshel and I drew flight deck parade duty for the Interior Communications Division. This normally would not have been a big deal. It usually only took a half hour to forty-five minutes standing at attention on the flight deck. On that particular flight deck duty day, it took two and a half hours, because the winds with sleet and snow delayed our entry into port. Adding to the duty was the fact I had a cold, and I only took one handkerchief up on deck with me, thinking we’d be below decks again in an hour. Again, I had my handy Kodak Instamatic with me to preserve posterity.

After an hour of freezing temperatures, sleet, and wind, my mustache felt like porcupine quills every time I blew my nose. My shipmate, Bob, watched me with a big grin as I put off blowing my nose until it was absolutely necessary. Then, I probably whined a bit, using some of the descriptive phrases I’d picked up since coming on board. Bob chuckled or laughed each time, taking entertainment where he could. We weren’t much on sympathy, and usually consoled each other with insults as I remember. This time was no exception. Trying to show support for an ailing friend, Bob said something like this.

“Bernie, you look pathetic. Quit whinin’, you big girl.”

Whereupon, I instructed my sympathetic buddy Bob to go do an anatomically impossible task.

Bob laughed, and took my camera to snap the above picture. When we did get below decks, I went straight to the nearest sink with my shaving gear, and cut off the porcupine quills. I then headed for Aft IC, my duty station at the time, and was roundly laughed at. Having seen my hairless baby-face only moments before in the mirror, I laughed along with them. The lead IC man said, “Shit, Bernie, you look like a teenager.”

I just shrugged and said, “Casey, I am a teenager.” :)


Jordan Summers said...

What an interesting thing to see as a teen. I can only imagine. You definitely looked miserable in that picture (ie you looked like you were cold;).

BernardL said...

Like we used to tell each other, 'you could be in the jungle, Popeye'. :)

Bernita said...

I know guys rag each other, but - I hope he caught your cold.

BernardL said...

I probably caught it from him, Bernita. :)

BernardL said...

Here's a link for my new novel:


BernardL said...

My novel Cold Blooded is now on Nook too.