by Willie Lagarde
When I first saw Yorktown thirty eight years after I left her in Jan ‘46 I thought; what have they done to you old girl, I would have never recognized you.
They have butchered you and stripped you of much of your beauty. Where are all those quad 40’s and 20 MM’s where I lost my youth and stood on to heave a line to our destroyer escorts.
When I went aboard I couldn’t find my sleeping quarters, head or our gear locker. I asked, is this really you old girl of my dreams?
But to be truthful, I was mostly looking for something else.
During one of our respites in Ulithi someone decided to give much of our beer to another carrier. They made the mistake of putting a couple of our delinquents on the barge to unload the nets after they were lowered from the hangar deck. It was night time and though they had the marines and MAA’s watching every inch of the route from the store rooms to the hangar deck, it was a simple matter of dropping a heaving line down to the barge in the darkness to intercept a few cases. We drank some of the beer after cooling it with CO2 and hid most of it.
The missing beer caused so much uproar we never deemed it safe to retrieve it from its hiding place and over time gave it little thought but never really forgot about it.
After the war, with only Hughie and I still aboard we decided it was probably more trouble than it was worth and we no longer had easy access to the necessary tools.
I wonder, did the shipyard workers find it, or later crews or is it possible there is some sixty year old Ranier beer still hidden somewhere on that old ship at Patriots Point.
I quit looking for the hiding place about ten years ago.
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