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
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
I Will Follow Him -
Little Peggy March
Needles and Pins -
It's My Party -
Da Doo Ron Ron -
Foolish Little Girl
- The Shirelles
Losing You - Brenda
Blue on Blue - Bobby
Two Faces Have I -
Sukiyaki - K.
You Can't Sit Down -
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
Smooth Sailing Shipmates!
Bob Mitchell ("Mitch")
Gig Coxswain 1962 - 1964