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There is something about a shipmate that defies description. As far as we know, no one has
succeeded in putting into printed words the feeling of one good shipmate for another. Nothing can
explain why, after enduring the endless irritations, and suffering the countless inconveniences of
shipboard life, completely removed from the comforts of home and the company of loved ones,
a man will recall only pleasant memories of the shipmates he has grown to love, and with whom
he has shared eventful days, both pleasant and not-so-pleasant.
Nor do we aspire here to capture such a definition. We can only hope that in days to come,
the words and pictures of this book will refresh in the readeris memory pleasant recollections of
bygone days that were much better than we thought. They will remind us that the good ship New-
port News is a living thing, converted from a mass of pig-iron and paintwork by the men of her
crew - the finest ship you ever have seen - and the best shipmates.
As the ship sailed from pier Hvei at Norfolk that bleak and cold day in January 1952, there was
aboard a conglomeration of levery type and combination of the American bluejacket. Men who
joined the Navy to see the world were thrown right alongside those who last of all wanted to see
anything but their own hearthsides. Plank-owners intermingled with recruits, who wondered at
the size of the ship, and if all those drills were necessary. Whether they realized it or not, they
became 'part and parcel of that day-by-day transformation from a bunch of men into a fighting
team of shipmates. 44 Unnecessary crowding and needless waitings gradually changed into friendly
associations as the inexorable process of building shipmates progressed.
By the time the ship reached Gibraltar, the process was showing results - there was the fellow
who came up to the Exec with eyes that were not quite dry, and talked his way out of a.transfer
to a ship bound stateside. Then came liberty - Gib was all right, but liberty was so hard to get
- only a tenth of the crew? What's so valuable about an old piece of rock?
Remember how we found out Mount Etna was in Sicily? What a beautiful spot Augusta Bay
looked the morning we sailed in and moored to the buoy, and what a miserable place to have
liberty. But maybe liberty at all was better than liberty with no boats, which was the fate of many.
The Captain almost got left on the Midway after he went over to watch the ship's basketball .team
play the Roanoke. What a bunch of seamen we have in our boat crews!
And Condition One Able Able and more drills and then Naples, and back to a more generous
liberty schedule. Tours to Pompeii - 44 who you going with, Mac? 2 For ten thousand lire you can
have a good time in Naples. ,
Villefranche and Mom's place, and those fascinating little joints on the 01 and 02 levels. And
such scenery - they don't call it La Belle France for nothing. What liberties!
It's tough leaving Villa. It's tougher still figuring on catching up on sleep, only to have all
those Condition 3 watches and air raids coming up throughout the day and night. Play hard and
work hard. Besides, my shipmate is doing the same work, maybe a little harder than I am. Sure
glad he's on this ship too.
Operation Grand Slam and Naples again, and Villa again, and on to Suda Bay, Athens and
Istanbul. Then Algiers, and the big flag shifts to the Salem, and we're on our way to' Norfolk,
U.S.A. Back home again - gosh, it hardly seems four months since we left - it must have been a
better cruise than we thought! - ,
Yes, we hope these pages will help you recall many pleasant memories you have enjoyed in a
fine ship with fine shipmates. lt's been a great cruise, and it ought to be remembered. Y0u'll always
be a part of the Newport News, and she of you. VVe hope you like our book.