St. Louis main turret firing - # 3 turret
Stories of Pride in our ship
Wm. Goode 19 / 41-42-43-44, ------ Annapolis Academy line officer, 4 yrs aboard
Recently I sent you a letter with my comments on the Navy Unit Citation we were awarded. Enclosed with this letter are some notes which may or many not be suitable for the Hubble Bubble. You are free to use or discard as you see fit. Regards, William M. Goode
When we returned to Tulagi after Kula Gulf we stood by to take on survivors from the HELENA who had been rescued by RADFORD and NICHOLAS. Joined by O'BANNON and JENKINS, the destroyers passed close aboard our port side in column and as each ship passed we gave a cheer. This was one of the most impressive moments of the War for me because these four "tin cans" had established themselves as first class warriors to be honored by all and was indeed a touching honor.
Un-like the crew who ate what the Supply Officer provided for the general mess, the Caterer of the Wardroom Mess adopted a menu based on the wishes [and pocketbooks] of the officers. A list was circulated and each officer could write in his choices. One day I found that the menu had changed radically with rice and curry being served every other day. It seemed that several of the senior officers who liked rice and curry had hi-jacked the list being circulated and changed it like a Chicago election. Those of us not fond of rice and curry endured it until the next menu was approved on which this dish naturally did not appear.
One night while we were operating off Guam, the messenger woke me up and told me to report to the XO. I was told that I would be a courier to take some classified material to the flagship by whale-boat. The seas were rough and stormy. I prepared by drinking cup after cup of black coffee in the wardroom until 1 was thoroughly wide awake. At that point the messenger came in and informed me that the trip had been cancelled. I was relieved and went back to my stateroom to resume my sleeping but I found that I had so much caffeine in my system that it was several days before I could close my eyes and sleep.
Whenever air attack was threatening the bugler would sound "Air Defense" and all hell would break loose. This call starts with two series of two slow high pitched notes followed by an overpowering tune. Once you have heard it in action you can never forget it. To this day, wherever I am and I hear two high pitched notes in succession I freeze until I realize that I do not have to man my battle station.
H-B Editor: Jack Notes! In the old cavalry, the bugler played this sound, it was called "Boots and Saddles" It does bring you to your feet.
In December 1942 we arrived in Noumea. Another cruiser moored alongside to port. The marine sentry on the bow had orders to challenge any boat approaching and to fire if he had no response. A boat did approach and cross close aboard from starboard to port. The sentry challenged and when the boat ignored the challenge he fired his weapon across the boat's bow. The boat continued and went alongside the other ship. In a few minutes a four striper stormed aboard, went forward, seized the sentry's weapon, threw it over the side and stormed back to the other ship. Our captain took immediate action and ordered the other cruiser to get underway immediately and find some other berth. The sentry assignments and instructions were changed.
The most hated chore faced by officers during the war was assignment to the "censor board". All personal mail leaving the ship had to be reviewed and passed by the board. Just before mail was scheduled to leave the ship, the mail clerk would bring bags of mail to the wardroom and stack the contents on the tables. The officers were required to read each letter, make necessary deletions, stamp the envelope with the censor stamp and initial the seal. It was the rule that the contents of any letter were never discussed with anyone. Because sailors often poured out their hearts in their letters it was imperative that neither the contents nor the identity of the individual censor be revealed. We had enough to worry about without getting involved in the feelings of the crew. 1 personally know of no instance where an officer discussed a censored letter with the writer. Likewise I know of no officer who faced his censoring duty with anything but a strong distaste. Shipboard life in wartime is too demanding to permit otherwise.
The "Hubble Bubble" has contained many first hand accounts of December 7, 1941, but I do not recall any mention of the frantic but successful efforts by the ship fitters to cover the four foot hole cut in the ship's side to facilitate boiler repairs as the bombs started to fall. The patch was welded in place and the ship entered the channel with the weld still hot.
A case of diarrhea:
During the Guam operations I received my orders to report to the nearest US port for reassignment. Because of threatening weather we retired to Kwajalein to regroup. I thought this would be an excellent time to leave the war zone and so I approached the captain with the suggestion that he detach me. His response was firm and unequivocal , "I want you to stay on board until we secure Guam". I was disappointed but not upset. We returned to the Guam-Saipan area and resumed operations. One day operations ceased and the ship began to increase speed and move west. The Captain then came on the squawk box. His words made my heart miss a beat. "This is the Captain speaking. We are heading west at best speed to meet the main Japanese battle fleet". To me it was too much like the movies. The hero gets his orders to the rear but before he can leave he is ordered on one more mission, one on which he gets shot down. It was then that I developed a case of diarrhea and a conviction that my days were numbered. Fortunately, the Mariana Turkey Shoot intervened and we never had to face the Japanese Fleet. The ship threw a screw and we headed for Long Beach where I was detached, alive.