Segment 11


It was amazing to Ward to see how quickly they dumped stuff after the war was over. They were heading back to the states when the war was over so they were empty. They stopped at Pearl Harbor for 2 days. They were to go to San Francisco. 2 days outside of San Francisco they said take the ship to Seattle. They put the ship alongside the pier. Everyone walked off of the ship. Ward imagines the captain is dead now, if not he oughta be. Ward notes that he made his grade. The captain was angry with the Navy because he never went to war. He was a commercial merchant shipmaster before the war. Instead of getting a destroyer, cruiser, carrier, or battleship he was conning the same kind of ship he served on as a civilian. The captain of the food ship was hated by everyone. No one respected him. Ward was up for a promotion and the captain called him in, tore up the promotion papers and said this is what I think of people like you. Ward does not know if the captain said it because of his blackness, or because he never boxed. Ward never boxed. Ward is not into fisticuffs and he did not know how to handle his hands. Wards supply vessel just hopped around and it made the captain angry. He had expected to see some action in the war. He was not happy at all. In the service force, if that is what you are doing it is very humdrum. Load it up, take it off; load it up, take it off. The ship had guns aboard and a gun crew but it did not mean anything. One torpedo would have sunk the ship easily. The ship was low in the water. In one instance they really overloaded the ship. You could step off of the gunnel and not make a splash when you hit the water. They wanted and needed the stores. The service ships were expendable. For each run they made successfully it was to their advantage. They were building ships incredibly fast. That is what whipped the Japanese. The mere fact that we could produce what was needed for war quickly and effectively. The Japanese could not replace their gear. If the Japanese had not taken Borneo and Java, they would have been in a tough spot for oil. Ward is able to remember a lot. Ward was not a very good servant. He was able to subdue his anger. Ward was no longer filled with fear. When Ward was at the San Diego Naval hospital they gave Ward a physical. They asked Ward if he would like 30 days leave. After Ward got to New York he was sad he went back because everyone he knew was gone. One of Wards aunts was blunt and asked him how he got wounded, by throwing pots and pans at the enemy. Ward thought it was absolutely humiliating. For Ward and the likes of him, he thought, My god a lot of these black guys are dead who served their country. Ward would be willing to bet that every black person aboard the USS Arizona was killed. It exploded and continued to explode. It exploded for hours after the first attack. It was like watching the 4th of July in Boston.


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