Interview with Innocente "Matt" Mattei
By Brandon Harris
Celebration of Voices
A The Summit Country Day Capstone Project
May 18, 2015
"He started by showing us memorabilia from WWII"
These are all the ribbons I got and the number of stars. I got four stars. Each star is a campaign. For every campaign you got a star. This medal here is the Philippine Liberation Medal and that is one star, then the World War 2 Victory Medal, and the American Theater medal. A friend of mine made this buckle; he was on the USS Medusa, which was a repair ship around Manus Island (New Guinea). Every time we came there, I would get permission to go see him because we started in Kindergarten together and went all through high school and on to the Navy together. I saw he had a belt buckle he had made and I said “well that is really nice” and the next time I saw him, he had one made for me.
And there is our ship right there. The USS Bootes. It was a seventh fleet ammunition ship. It was a floating ammunition warehouse is what it amounted to. They had it set up so that our navy did not have to go any place to get oil, or supplies, or ammunition. We were right with them all the time … that was the idea. So the Japanese had to go back to their home islands, and we didn’t have to do that. And we had reefers, that's what we called them. Ships that brought out frozen meat, chickens, turkey, the whole nine yards. And the only time we ran out of food was when the Japanese got one of those supply ships. Then we were eating canned foods for … well, I don’t know how long … but it was quite a while. (laughing)
And there is an Australian Souvenir, and there’s another. And that’s about it there. OK?
What are the individual medals again?
Well that’s the American Theater Medal, the Asiatic Theater Medal, The Philippine Liberation Medal, and the World War 2 Victory Medal. Anything else you need?
Well, we will ask a few things. Do you object if we record this, so we don’t miss any details?
No. That would be fine.
So would you like to share some of you favorite childhood memories?
Childhood memories. Well the first memory I have is my father wanting his father to see his grandchildren. So, I think it was 1929-1930 we took off with my mother to Italy for about 6 months and that was really neat. Because, well of course at that time you didn’t fly. You took a ship from New York. A train first into New York and then the ship to the Azores, then to Gibraltar, and on to Naples. Then we went on up to Genoa, and our grandfather met us in Genoa, and we went on a train to where he lived. And well I really remember a lot of it. I had real good memories of that visit.
When were you born and how old were you during the trip?
I was going on about 6 years old. By the time I got back I couldn’t even speak English anymore. No, honest to God. I started school when I got back and the nuns called my mom and said, “I don’t think that boy knows what he is talking about” and she said, “he doesn’t”. You learn fast at that age. You learn languages fast. That’s the best time to learn a language when you’re 5 or 6 years old. You can pick them up real quick.
We ended up visiting my mother’s family there too.
So your mother was native Italian too?
Yes. She was born North of Venice, up near the Austrian border. My grandfather was Italian, but his parents were Austrian. Then they moved the border and they were Italian. That’s the way it worked over there.
My father was Italian and fought in World War I.
So you are truly first generation American.
Oh yeah. I was born in Cincinnati and raised in Norwood. When my mom came out of the hospital, it was Bethesda, on Oak Street there. No it wasn’t Oak Street yet; it was a street before Oak Street. It was way back when. Back in 1924. There wasn’t an Oak Street then. And I left the hospital and my dad had bought a house in Norwood and I went right there. They used to have a place on Bishop Street near the University of Cincinnati.
I hope there’s enough there.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
Yeah, I have 3 brothers. There was 4 boys, no girls. Have I given you enough stuff, I have all kinds of memories.
When you went into the Navy were you drafted or did you sign-up?
No, I was drafted. I never volunteered for anything. Just remember that. Never volunteer for anything. OK? (laughs). I found that out real quick.
What year was that?
Well that was 1942, but I actually didn’t go in until 1943. I didn’t start boot camp till 1943, so I wasn’t officially in till ‘43 when I went to boot camp. And that was at Green Bay up in the Chicago area. That was the camp we were in, they had several camps up that way. That was the Navy. I was 18. You had to be 18 to be drafted. I was born in ’24. So then we got down there and went through a physical and they asked for volunteers for the Navy, and I didn’t say anything, because I wasn’t going to volunteer for anything. And so one of the guys came by and said we need someone for the navy and you have nice teeth. And I said “OK”.
So he picked you based on your teeth?
So after they picked the navy guys, they picked the marine guys out of the navy guys. And I ducked down. There was no way. And boy am I glad. I thought if I am going to die, I am going to die clean, not in a mud hole someplace. And I’m glad I made that decision after knowing what the marines went through out there in the Pacific. Oh boy, that was horrible.
Did you train with any of your friends?
Well, yeah. My buddy that I told you about. That made the buckle for me. We started in grade school, well kindergarten St Elizabeth’s in Norwood through high school at Norwood HS. We graduated together and somehow, I guess how they picked people we were in the same group and ended up going to boot camp together. And so we went in the navy together. His name was Paul Sprague. He has since passed away. He died pretty young from a brain tumor. And, aah, that’s the way it goes. And then we had, well there were quite a few fella’s from Cincinnati. Dominic Ancana, he was a first generation Italian from Madeira, and there were 2 gentlemen, Roy Butt’s and Russell, Russell … somebody. I can’t remember his name. They were from St. Bernard. So we had a good smattering of Cincinnati guys on it. Then everybody, I think all the up to the M’s, were assigned to the ship. And when we got to San Diego, it wasn’t even finished yet. It was brand new. So we stayed at the destroyer base in San Diego. It was a beautiful place, it has all the Spanish style courtyards and the food was outstanding. When we went out there we were on a Pullman car to San Bernardino, California then they switched us, and we went to sleep. The next morning we woke up and we were in San Diego at the destroyer base. So, they let us sleep in, they woke us up, and sent us over to the mess hall … and they had this wonderful breakfast, everything. Eggs, bacon, sausage … and I thought, boy, they have a special treat for new guys. And it wasn’t special. It was like that everyday. It was fabulous. But we ate good on the ship too. We didn’t have too much of a problem with food fortunately. We had a freezer and a refrigerator, both walk-ins, an ice cream machine, and an automatic potato peeler, and so you know … it was pretty well equipped.
So did you travel as part of a larger group?
Yeah, we were part of a task force. Well sometimes we didn’t, it all depended. When we went to get ammunition in Australia, we were by ourselves. When we went back to join the fleet we would get air cover to make sure we got there. They made sure we got there. Except for one time when the admiral got mad at our skipper we didn’t get any escort. I don’t know what he did, but they got into it about something. About guns, or some damn thing. I don’t know.
How long did you serve on the ship?
My whole time. Except for boot camp, I was on the ship the whole time. The whole war. Overall I was about 3 years and on the ship, well, over 2-1/2 years. I went to boot camp, went home for 9 days, then out to San Diego, then on the ship. And fortunately I got out early, because once I got out there on the ship I was overseas and, I didn’t know this at the time, but when the war ended you got extra points towards discharge if you were overseas and I had loads of overseas (time), it was all overseas practically. So I was counting how many points I had so I could figure when I was going to get out and I had it down pat. I said I was going to get out on December so and so and I by God I did. So I got orders to go back to Chicago for discharge and so, we started in a holding facility in Seattle and we sat there. And I said, “When are we going back to Chicago? When are we getting the hell out of here?” And he said well as soon as the Pullman is ready. I said what do you mean a Pullman? We can take … and he said “no the Navy travels on a Pullman. So we got to wait for a Pullman and I said OK.
(Did) Any of your brothers serve?
Yeah. My brother Victor. He was in the Navy also. He wound-up, his first duty, he was younger. His first duty after he went through electrical training at the University of Idaho was in the Philippines. We had already taken the Philippines by the time he got there. He was building back up the electrical power systems and all that jazz. He was a Seabee you know. You know what that is? The Seabees? A construction battalion.
Normally, if it was a campaign, we were always in a task force, and the task force included all kinds of stuff. Destroyers, and ah … except when we went through the Philippines, we didn’t have any destroyers. We were on our own, but we still had … the task force was so large you could hardly see the first ships in the columns. We were in the back and you couldn’t even see the front. We had carriers, and troop ships, and everything. We would come alongside ships and tie up actually. When we transferred, we had cranes and, they call them booms. They would tell us what ammunition they wanted and depending on what they wanted we would open up the right magazine. I was in charge of one of the magazines and there were 4 total magazines.
I can remember one Sunday, a rocket ship. They were small ships with the bridge on the back end and the whole front end they had rocket racks. So it was Sunday and we always liked to goof off on Sunday and these guys came by and wanted ammunition so they called me and I had to go up and open up the whole damn thing and rig the stuff and then I couldn’t wait to get it over with, so I went down in the hole there and I said “come on now for Pete’s sake. Let’s get going”. So I gave a pile of these rockets a shove and the guy says “hey did you ever see those things go off?” and I said yeah. I was fearless. I said if it goes off we’ll never know the difference. (laughs) I was in a hurry. It was Sunday and you know.
You know that’s not too funny. We were in Manus Island when we were forming our task force for the Philippines, and the Mt. Hood was in there, that was the third fleets ammunition ship and I didn’t know they were there, but later I found out. Because, we left early in the morning and I saw Paul Sprague just before I left. Of course he knew what ship I was on a munitions ship. And Paul said he was at a mail ship picking up mail for the USS Medusa and the Mount Hood blew up and took two destroyers with it and he said a prayer for me because he didn’t know they were there but he knew I was there, so when he got liberty and came home, he wouldn’t tell my mom or dad what kind of ship I was on.
OK. I am just gabbing away here.
Are there any more stories you would like to tell about your time in the Pacific?
Well we had good times and we had bad times, OK? Want to see some pictures? I can show you the good times. The good times were when we got to go to Australia to get ammunition. We were in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, and Cairns. And of course the good times, well we got a break. It usually took 3 weeks there to load up. So that was nice to get a break from where we were at. And we had entertainment and beer you know. They had, I didn’t realize it, but they had rations there, but we didn’t ever have any problems. We would go to restaurants and eat all kinds of things. The only thing that was rationed was the beer. You could only have beer for one night and that was all the beer you had. So we used to go to the, they had a, in Brisbane, they had a dining room just for Navy at a hotel and they would serve the beer in pitchers and we would take one and put it under the table and when it was all gone and you couldn’t get anymore then we would pull it out. (laughs)
So then another thing that happens was before you crossed the equator you were a pollywog, and then when you go across the equator then you were initiated and it was crazy. They had King Neptune and the royal baby. And they had a guy with a pitchfork and they had an electric thing and they would wet everything down and they would hit you in the butt with it. With that fork, and you know, you felt it. Like a cattle prod. And after you went through the initiation, and it was quite a big deal, then you were a shellback. So the next time we crossed the equator, then we were the ones dishing it out. And so you know, those were the fun times.
There were a couple hundred crewmembers on the ship. This is the first time we were in combat. At the beginning of the war we didn’t have armed forces radio. All we had was Tokyo Rose. They ought to have given her a medal because that was our entertainment. She played all of the over-the-hill songs. You know you get your girlfriend. We knew it was bullshit but you know. Any way one night after we were here they put her on the radio and she said the Japanese had sunk our ship and heavily damaged another. Well she didn’t get it quite right, they damaged the USS Etamin, put we hardly got touched at all. We got their plane, but she didn’t tell you that. (laughs). So we towed it back to dock and they hit the engine room and it had a lot of dead sailors on it. We got a commendation letter for that. I was standing on deck and they were taking the bodies out and the smell … honest to God, I never smelled anything like that. It was just horrible. Especially out in the Pacific with all that heat. It was, I just couldn’t believe it. That was a torpedo that hit the engine. The fortunate thing is they had all their water compartments shut off. So it was OK but it was dead in the water. It had no engine, but it didn’t sink. So it was repairable. They got the crew that was in the engine room though.
(looking at pictures) That was New Years Eve in Seattle, when I was coming back. Waiting for discharge. It wasn’t all bad waiting for that Pullman. (pictures of Japanese ships after they had surrendered) Here is a desert Island they would take us to drink because we weren’t allowed to drink on the ship. So what they did, instead of getting drunk on the ship, we would go out to the island and have a picnic. Then we got drunk.
They would let you back on drunk?
Oh yeah. As long as you didn’t drink on the ship. Well you know, it was something to break up the monotony. So one time we had 2 Thanksgivings. We crossed the International Date Line and the old man said we would celebrate twice. It was a good meal. We had pretty good food.
I always thought I had a guardian angel looking out for me. When I was going off to the Navy, my dad had been in the Italian Army in WWI, and before he left some lady gave him a relic from the Madonna of Montenero, which was an aberration there in his part of the country in Tuscany. And she told him now, keep this with you always and you will come home safely. And he did. So when I left for the Navy he gave it to me and said “this protected me so it will protect you”. So I said OK and didn’t think too much about it you know. And we had funny things that happened and I thought well it must be my guardian angel. And it didn’t dawn on me until later and I said I know what it is it’s the Madonna.
So one night we were in the Philippines. Well before we got to the Philippines, we were constantly under air attack by Japanese on our trip and it was pretty bad. It started in the morning, and just all … they just pounded the shit out of us. So we lost some ships and one of the planes we hit him and he was coming down and we thought he was going in the water but he didn’t. He sideswiped a troop ship and it blew up and flames were running down the deck and before we even got to the Philippines we were at half-mast. So it went on all day. The taskforce commander finally called for help. So they sent a squadron of destroyers to take up our flank and that made me feel a lot better because it … but it was getting dark then and it was sort of all over with. Then the next morning we were in the Philippines.
Anyways when we were in the Philippines I was on a gun and I had the phones on us. I would take what the duty officer would tell us. So I was on this gun placement and this Japanese plane was coming in and he was heading right for our guns and I could see the pilot. I said oh man goody we got him. So, I said, “go ahead start firing”. And he started to and the gun jammed. OK. And I said, “oh crap”. Then later on I thought about it. If we would have gotten that pilot the plane would have just kept coming at us and he would have taken out the whole bridge. You know.
So see what happened (tearful). Sorry, I get sentimental about this. Sorry. And so that next night, general quarters sounded. So we were at general quarters and they said the Japanese fleet was coming up the Surigau Straight and our capitol ships had formed a protective line. It was almost dark; you could hardly see across the bridge it was so dark. You know, really dark. And we were on our guns, and we were sitting there waiting for something to happen. Then all of a sudden, I look out over the bridge and I say, “oh my God there is a plane coming right at us”. So I called to the guys on the guns on the opposite side and said “Hey I got a plane coming right at you. Right at you. It’s gonna hit ya. Fire. Fire.” They said, we don’t see anything, what the hell are you talking about? I said, “Believe me. Fire”(tearful). And they fired. Next thing I hear the sound of an engine going over top of us. He missed us. The guy said to me “what the hell kind of eyes do you have?” Well I was 20/20 like anybody else, but I saw it. And I thought well. I didn’t think about it anymore, but pretty soon I wised up to the fact of who was protecting me. So that’s the way it goes then.
Well there were all sorts of stupid things that happened and you wonder why you didn’t get bunged up.
So after that incident, we were sitting in the Leyte Gulf and soon the fireworks lite up. Best I had ever seen. The Japanese Fleet were moving up, single file and we were wide so we had the advantage. We could shoot all of our guns, but they couldn’t. I sat there and watched it. Beautiful fireworks. So I was watching PBS “Victory at Sea” and they had that scene just as I saw it. It could have been shot from our deck.
Was that your first campaign?
Oh no. Our advanced position was Espiritu Santo, New Habrides. That was the most forward position. Then they moved into New Guinea, and Guadalcanal, and they kept moving up. The Philippines was just before Okinawa so it was late. And Okinawa was a disaster too. So then the next move was to invade Japan you know. The Japanese Islands. Oh boy, I thought, that’s not going to be good at all. Well if you knew the Japs, they were dying for the emperor. They wouldn’t give up. They had the Kamikazes; they just flew their planes in. Flew the damn planes right into the ships. If we would have landed there it would have been a disaster. Millions of them dead and millions of our guys dead. Actually the A-bomb saved a lot of lives. Both Japanese and US lives. So as bad as it was, it was a Godsend in the long run for us.
Where were you when you got the news of the bomb?
I was in Sydney, Australia. The reason I was there was that one of our submarines came back and said what kind of ammunition are you giving us?” They were patrolling along the Japanese coastline there and would surface to sink small ship. And they fired, I don’t know how many rounds of 4.5cm shells and none of them exploded, so they sunk it with all they holes they put in it. So they came back and we had to unload all the stuff we had and they said go to Brisbane and clean out the magazine and get ready for the invasion of Japan. And then we went to Sydney and got some more stuff there. So we were in Sydney and the war ended. They dropped the A-bomb and we were the first ones to know, because of the Armed Forces Radio. So we started blasting the ship's whistle and told all the guys working on the ship “Go home the war is over”. So we were supposed to go to Okinawa before, but because of the bad ammunition we were saved.
Then the next incident was coming home. You think it was over, huh? Why was I on the bridge talking to the duty officer? I don’t know. We had 4-hour watches, 2 hours steering and 2 hours watching. So I was just standing talking to the officer and looking straight ahead and it was starting to get dark. And I said, “my God there’s a mine!” (Tearful). It was bobbing up in the water and he yells at the helmsman “full right rudder. Full right rudder” and he didn’t respond. He didn’t know what to do. So I went up and knocked him out of the way and we got full right rudder. It got so close that the officer was standing on the wing of the bridge and looking straight down and telling me what to do. That’s how close it came to us. Then we didn’t have a chance to destroy it, because by the time we got back around, it was too dark to see anything. I don’t know if another ship hit it or not, but we got an SOS shortly after that some ship was calling that they hit a mine. One of our cruisers was close by so they were going to help them so we just kept on going. All kinds of crazy stuff. And we had a full load of ammo.
And of course, they said we were going to Seattle, but we didn’t go to Seattle. We went near Seattle, but after Port Chicago where two ships blew up in a populated area there was no more ammo ships anywhere near a populated area so we went on up to some summer resort. It was January so there was no one there except the guy who owned the place. So in order to go to Seattle we had to take our landing craft. So half the crew would take two days liberty and then would come back for a day, then the other half would go for 2 days and we would rotate it.
After the war was over, how easy or hard was it to start a career or get back to your life?
No. Not at all. We had the GI Bill of Rights and it was the best thing that ever happened to this country. You got to go to college, they paid for everything, they gave you a supplement. And everybody went. I went to UC and interned with Cincinnati Milacron. Well it was Cincinnati Milling Machine at the time. They had a coop thing with UC in Mechanical Engineering. I worked there 42 years. And I retired early yet. So my ambition is to be retired 42 years. Well, I started before I went into the service and I just continued when I got back.
And boy there were a lot. Even the people we sold machines to … GM .. They were all GI Bill graduates.
Where does Della (his wife) fit into all of this?
She was living in Louisville. So we sort of met in a strange way. Her parents and my aunt and uncle were friends and her sister wanted to see Risa Stevens sing Carmen at the Opera at the Zoo. I don’t know if you knew about the zoo opera. They had an Amphitheater at the Cincinnati Zoo and in the summertime they would bring the New York cast down. Risa Stevens was just the greatest. Very popular. So her sister wanted to see it so she got tickets and they stayed with my uncle. He came down with them to say hello to my parents. I was taking a nap, because I was out the night before. My mom said well you have to come out and meet these people and I said, “I am tired”, but she got me out of bed to go out there. So we were chatting and I said I had vacation at the end of August and she said “well come down and see me and I’ll show you around Louisville”. I said “well I’ll see” I came down and we starting going out together. That was 1946 and then we dated long distance, I went there one week, she would come up one week. Driving Rt. 42, then they put in the Hummingbird, L&N Railroad, and that was way better than driving the 2 lane road. Then we decided to get married because we were getting tired of the long distance courting. So we did. So September of ’47 we got married. Here in Louisville.
Well it worked out well. I wish they had the same thing for the guys coming out of service now that we had. They paid for all our books, gave us a stipend. We couldn’t have made it without the stipend. So it worked out real well.
In 8th Grade we are studying the character trait Justice. How would you define justice?
Well. I am all for it. I think we need a lot of help though, right now because of this black on white police thing. We had that in Cincinnati. I don’t know if you remember that. We had those riots after that police officer killed that black kid that was climbing a fence. There wasn’t any sense in it. Then they had these riots and were burning everything. So they formed a committee to take care of this problem. In other words; This wasn’t going to happen again type of thing. Both black and white are going to work together and we’re going to figure it out and not let it happen again. And they accomplished quite a bit with that program. After that we didn’t have that same problem. There was peace. They were getting together in the black sections. The police were interacting with the people, and that’s what it takes.
I can’t understand that New York deal at all. That was cut and dry. That was murder. And I think the Grand Juries are not the way to go on something like that, because they are between the prosecutor and police. They don’t get the right information. And I don’t know how they missed that New York seen. You could have questions about other incidents because they didn’t have any film or pictures, but that was cut and dry in New York. I don’t know how they come up with something like that. I just don’t. Cincinnati had the Feds come in and direct it and it worked. We need more of the interaction with the community.
Would you be willing to share your story with my classmates?
Oh sure. Yeah. I didn’t do anything bad. (laughs)
You have a very interesting first name. How did that come about?
Well that was my Uncle’s first name. My mother’s brother was Innocent. He died in World War I. So when I was born, she insisted that I take his name and my dad was against it. My dad said well let's give him a middle name and she said, no, because if we give him a middle name, he won’t use his first name. So I got stuck.
My dad got even with her by naming the next boy. He named him after his father, Italo. But, he was smart enough to give him a middle name, Victor. So guess what? You never heard his first name. He was I. Victor.
So you go by Matt. Where did that come from?
My nickname in Louisville is Inno, all the family here calls me Ino. But in Cincinnati it’s all Matt. The reason for that is after I graduated high school, I started at UC and all that Jazz, which I didn’t finish because I got called to the service. Anyways, one of my classmates said, “Innocent? You’re not Innocent, your Matt” and it stuck. In fact my business cards were I. Matt Mattei. Everybody, all the customers knew me by Matt. Except one of our customers in Detroit knew my first name was Innocent. So when I was transferred back to Cincinnati, he called and said he wanted to talk to Innocente. At that time we didn’t have all these fancy things. We had operators you talked to. So he called the operator and said he wanted to talk to Innocente Mattei and she said we don’t have anybody by that name. He said, “I know he is down there. Don’t tell me Matt’s not there.” And she said, “Oh yeah, we got him” (laughs) So she came back and said, “Is that your real first name?” and I had to show her my driver’s license because she didn’t believe me.
How many kids did both of you end up with?
Four. 2 boys and 2 girls. 2 are in Dallas and 2 are here (Louisville). I still have a nephew in Cincinnati, David.
Is there anything you didn’t share that you would like to?
I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of stories. I can give you sea stories till your ears fall off. After three years in the Navy you know.
My younger brother, John, he was in the Korean War. He was in the Navy. He really lucked out. He had an electricians rating and was assigned to the USS Medusa. And guess where it was? Tied up to the dock in Naples, Italy. That’s where he served the Korean War.
What was your rank when you were discharged?
I was a Coxswain, 3rd class. If I would have stayed in longer obviously I would have gotten more, but I wasn’t staying in any longer than I had too. All I wanted was a rating because that allowed me to be shore patrol and I got a lot of benefits. I was a member of the MCO club. I got to go to the MCO club and they had a bar and you could buy your liquor in bottles, the good US stuff. Funny thing. I think it was in Sydney. We had Cokes on the ship and we were going to take them off to our hotel in Sydney and we walk off and get to the checkpoint and the guys wouldn’t let us through. He said, “That’s spirits”. I said, “No it’s not”. He wouldn't let us go by. The reason we wanted to take them is after they were empty, we would take them to the Red Cross and they would give us refills. Otherwise you couldn’t get it.
So we were walking back to the ship to take it back and this gentleman we were friendly with on the docs said “what’s wrong?” and we told him the immigration guy wouldn’t let the Coke in and insisted they were spirits. He said ,”wait a minute. Stay here”. So he came back and said “see if you can get through” and we went right through. It was obvious the immigration guy was a jerk.
We were in Sydney and at the time they didn’t have gasoline, they had what they called charcoal burners. All the taxicabs had charcoal burners. We got friendly with one of the taxi drivers and he would drive us around to the MCO club and other places. We would get good US booze. He was telling us that his wife just loved rum. We had enough rum, so we would get him some for his wife. So we got good service from him.
It was nice, we were off service for 2 days at a time in Sydney. The Master of Arms and I got to be good friends. His name was Sydney Goldberg. His family had a bakery in Atlantic City and we got to be real good friends. I guess because he was Jewish, a lot of people snubbed him and I never felt that way about the Jewish. So, when we were in Sydney, every ship that came in had to supply a shore patrol. We had to help and Sydney was in charge of picking. So guess who got first choice? I did. So instead of a day of duty of the ship, I would get another day in Sydney on shore patrol. For a while, I was on a patty wagon. We would pick guys up. The reason they wanted us was if we knew they were from our ship, then the rule was we would take them back to the ship. Otherwise, they would end up in the navy brig in Sydney. So that was the reason for wanting us to participate. So one of the guys was drunk and out like a light. We got him back to the ship. He was so bad we had to drop a cargo net to hall him on board. (Laughs) After that, I got duty at a dance hall, the Trocadero. It had a rotating floor. So I got shore patrol there, which was really nice. So one day, I had a few beers, and I was feeling good. One of the girls said you better not let the shore patrol find you like this. She didn’t know I was the shore patrol. So that worked our real well. In fact, one day I got a compliment. One day a group of soldiers got in a fight. I went over and made peace. All the Aussie’s there were telling the Officer there what a good job I did. And I said, “It pays to be happy, I guess”. I just tried to talk some sense into them. I said, ”The SP officer is going to come and you guys can fight all you want, but your going to go to the brig if you don’t knock it off so wise up”. And they did.
Well that was great. Thank you.