About once a month
I receive a call from my good Navy buddy, Tiff Graham, of Richmond,
Virginia. His heavy southern drawl and casual speaking manner have never
changed over the years and I always enjoy hearing from him, because there
are always new stories. We served together on the Daly for the full 4
years of our enlistment, 1951 to 1955. We were both at the Great Lakes
Training Center for Boot Training at the same time, however he was in
Company 342 in Camp Barry and I was in Company 340. Our paths never
crossed until we were assigned to the Daly in Charleston, SC.
our training, we both arrived in Charleston, SC, on the same overnight
train trip, then mustered on one of the docks at Charleston Naval
Shipyard and were assigned to the USS Arcadia, a destroyer tender, for an
In our recent
conversation we were reminiscing about our stay on the Arcadia when
I learned his experience was a bit more complicated than mine.
It seems that when
his group stood muster on the first morning of arrival, they were told
that they were scheduled for leave and to report back to the base in 7
days to begin their assignment to one of the mothballed ships.
Tiff spoke up and asked the First Class Boatswain in charge why they had
to take leave now, when they were told they could make their own
schedule for leave.
Boatswain, obviously annoyed at the question by a defiant boot just off
the train, instructed Graham to remain at attention while he marched the
group off to the base office.
as he was instructed and remained on the dock for some time until the
shipís cook from the Arcadia spotted him and inquired as to where he was
Graham was a raw recruit, he took him aboard the Arcadia and immediately
assigned him to kitchen detail. His duties were; arise at 4:00 a.m., head
for the kitchen and cut butter. Meal after meal, day after day, for nearly
thirty days he cut butter into little patties. That assignment
never changed. His reward was one day of liberty a week during his month
Then one day the
Shore Patrol appeared and began making inquiries about a certain recruit
that was AWOL. The recruit they were seeking was Graham and was
apprehended, but before they could haul him away, the shipís cook vouched
for him and confirmed his assignment in the galley. The issue was
finally resolved when
assigned to the USS Daly roster. He then spent the next two months on the
deck gang of the Daly chipping paint and standing fire watches. He never
again served time in the shipís mess and was
grateful for that,
but the deck hand work was hard enough.
The Daly was
re-commissioned on July 3, 1951, sometime later Graham was assigned to the
Fire Control gang and I to the Gunnerís Mates. We were in the Second
Division and bunked just below Mount 5 in the same stack of racks.
He was on the bottom and I was in the middle bunk. Thatís where we bunked
for the remainder of the cruise.
I was lucky, I
never served any duty in the galley or mess hall, but both Graham and I
stood bridge watches at the helm for about 2 years while at sea.