Along about the third week in March of '43, outside Bermuda, our convoy from New York merged with ships from all along the Atlantic Seaboard. I have no idea of the size of this convoy. All I know is that it stretched from horizon to horizon in every direction. How much further it extended only the Navy brass and the Nazi U-boats knew for sure.

As we plowed Eastward, we went through many schools of flying fish. I thought of Kip ling's, "Road To Mandalay", and was quite fascinated by them. Jumping from one wave to another, they would land in a haphazard manner. At times, when the waves were on a level with the ship, some would land on deck. Their shape and coloring reminded me of a mackerel, but in place of their pectoral fin~ were transparent wings five or six inches long, like a huge dragonfly.

Then came the Sargasso Sea, birthplace of many fantastic tales circulated during my childhood in coastal Maine. I had heard of ghost ships like the "Flying Dutchman" passing silently over the surface. It was said, with great certainty, that a graveyard of ships with Spanish moss draping their yardarms and skeletal crews existed at it's center, but all I saw was seaweed.

Ironically, this idyllic passenger weather made it easier for the wolf packs. In a twenty four hour day, we would get 3 or 4 general quarters alarms. Probably some ships in the outer perimeter were taking some hits, but we had no way of knowing how close they were.

The ship's company kept us informed of our progress on a large map in the mess hall. Our first indication of another continent came just after passing between the Canaries and Azores when an Allied aircraft came out to escort us in.

I came topside one morning and there on the starboard side was the snow capped Atlas Mountains. We had passed through the Straits during the night. Oran, the ship's destination, was only a day or so away. Our destination, Arzew, came after being transferred to an LCI for a stormy trip along the coast. Here we found a bunk and squared our gear away in a huge warehouse while listening to tales from the group that had left in January.

This cruise had to be paid for. The very next day a group of us were sent up to the high ground over the town with an ammunition detail. While working here we could look down on the harbor, and learned what that heavy wooden cradle under the LCT was for While the chains holding her were being removed, the ballast tanks on the same side of the LCT and LST were filled until a certain degree of list developed. At the critical moment, the LCT began to slide sideways and over the side to the accompaniment of an earsplitting crescendo from all the ship whistles in the harbor

Back at the barn that evening, there was a lull in the endless conversation when all ears turned to a radio which someone claimed to have liberated from a whorehouse in Mostaganem. For the first time, we all listened to Axis Sally.

She played a few scratchy Bing Crosby records, and spoke to the soldiers at the front. Then, much to our surprise, she started talking to us. She informed us that she knew we were over there in Arzew with our flat-bottomed bathtubs, we seemed like a nice bunch of fellows. She couldn't understand why we didn't take them and head back home before the Germans made coffins out of them. There wasn't much sense dying for Roosevelt, the other Jews and 4fs who were probably sitting with our girlfriends and wives right now. This brought the house down. After all, it was nice to be noticed.

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