Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Dad and Frenchie

In the Pacific during the second world war, my dad served on a destroyer, the U.S.S. Hoel.  Three months before the Hoel was sunk, my dad was selected to return to Boston and help train a green crew on a new destroyer, the U.S.S. Purdy. 

While putting the crew and the new destroyer through maneuvers along the Atlantic Coast, the ship experienced stormy conditions and high seas which damaged the deck around the forward gun.  This required the ship to be taken to Portland Maine for repairs.

My dad's friend, Frenchie  (Arthur Pereault), had a wife living in Lewiston Maine and he expressed the desire to visit her.  But he said he didn't want to go by himself.  So my dad said that he would come along.

The two were supposed to be back onboard before midnight, but they didn't arrive back until 5:30 AM.  The officer on deck, an ensign, stopped them and chewed them out for being late, and then he began filling out a form to put them on report.

Just then the engineering officer, my dad's boss, came aboard and said, "Malott!  What's going on?"

The ensign explained what had happened and that they were being put on report.

The engineering officer took the form from the ensign, tore it in two, and said, "Where these boys are going, this doesn't mean a damned thing."  And handed the torn form back to the ensign.


My dad didn't want to leave the Hoel and go to Boston, but the reassignment saved his life.  When the Hoel was sunk, none of the men in the engine room made it off the ship alive.



Grammy said...

Beautiful story. I just re-read Winds of War and am now half way through War and Remembrance, so this all sounds very familiar to me. Amazing times - amazing people. I'm glad your dad and mine made it through.

Malott said...

If memory serves, your father was George Aspinwall and he flew on a glider into Europe on D-Day?

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Grammy said...

You got the name right. He was a glider pilot but his big mission was the liberation of Holland. The series Band of Brothers covers it really well.