May 1963, Cuba

Hi Shipmates, just going over some old notes, and thought I'd share this memory with you from 40 years ago...

On May 2nd we were operating in the waters off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

May 6th, 1963 we tied up at the pier in Guantanamo Bay. We had been out to sea for about two weeks. It was on a Monday, but most of the stores were closed except for the local pub. I had recently purchased the large photos of the Semmes from our ship's store, and sent them home to my folks. My friend Joe Cavallaro went ashore and brought back a pillow case for me that said Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on it. (Black velvet with embroidery on it.) At the time I thought it was real pretty! 

May the 8th we were still in Guantanamo Bay. The weather was nice and warm, and the scenery was pretty.

May 13th to the 20th we were scheduled for Missile Shakedown and Final Acceptance Trials of the missile systems at Roosevelt Rhodes. I completed my courses for BM3 and had hopes of taking the next exam, along with several other shipmates in the division. Master Chief Dolbier had told some of us that we needed to show him about 50 different knots to get recommended, so we were always walking around in our spare time making knots!  I think it was during this visit to Cuba that I took the Captain's Gig into the boat shop to get repaired. I returned to the pier awaiting the Whaleboat to pick me up and take me back to the ship. I waited and waited, then I saw the Semmes going out to sea without me! I went back to the boathouse and they radioed the Semmes and told them I was still on shore. The Semmes replied that they would return in a few days. So I slept on the gig, and ate at the mess hall until the ship returned. Probably passed the evenings away at the White Hat Club!

May 23rd, we were on our way back to the States.

Here are some of the top songs at this time for May 1963. Sometimes hearing the old songs will give you a "flashback" to those very days, and you will be flooded with your own memories!

       I Will Follow Him - Little Peggy March
       Needles and Pins - Jackie DeShannon
       It's My Party - Leslie Gore
       Da Doo Ron Ron - Crystals
       Foolish Little Girl - The Shirelles
       Losing You - Brenda Lee
       Blue on Blue - Bobby Vinton
       Two Faces Have I - Lou Christie
       Sukiyaki - K. Sakamoto
       You Can't Sit Down - Dovells

That's my notes for May 1963. Hope it stimulated some of your own good Semmes memories!

P.S. Does anyone remember when someone on the Semmes was selling chances to win a 1957 Caddie, Coupe DeVille, convertible? I think chances were about $1 each, (maybe even 50 cents?) and the person selling chances was either Warren Bassford, or Kevin Babbick. What do you remember about it?

Smooth Sailing Shipmates!

Bob Mitchell ("Mitch")
Gig Coxswain 1962 - 1964