The Copra Run

By Jerome Friedman 

(Courtesy of Ken Laessar's Coast Guard History Site)


After delivering a cargo to Manila, our FS-362 was ordered to Ozamis, a small town on the north shore of Mindanao. We were to pick up a cargo of copra which would rot if not brought back to a processing plant.

When we docked there, we were greeted by the five very lovely Filipino sisters who owned the plantation. They spoke English so that there was no problem communicating. The officers and crew hastily donned their cleanest outfits and some hurried below for a quick shave. These five sisters were fine looking women, and we all wanted to look our best.

The sisters came aboard for a quick topside inspection. Then they invited the officers (sorry about the crew) to a formal dinner that evening at their home. I don't remember what I ate because I drank a bit to much. I regret to admit that my attempts at seduction got me nowhere.

The next day we started loading the copra, and it looked like a two day job. That gave us two more evenings to see the sights and meet the people of the town. That afternoon, we met a member of the Philippine Constabulary stationed just outside the town. He invited all our officers and crew to a dance they were holding that evening.

When we arrived at the dance, we saw all these lovely Filipino women and girls (I guess they were all lovely in our eyes at that time of our lives.) So, to be modest about it, being a good dancer I walked over to a young lady and asked her to dance. Suddenly, a man rushed over to me and said, with his finger wagging under my nose "If you want to dance with my daughter you must first ask my permission."  I realized then that all the older people sitting against the wall were the parents of these girls. I humbly apologized and asked politely if I had his permission to dance with his daughter. He graciously granted permission and, for the rest of the evening, I was held in the arms of this lovely young lady.

For our third and final evening, we were all invited to a wedding. Because of the steady flow of the local "scotch" (tuba), about the only thing I really remember about this evening was the huge buffet of all kinds of delicacies, much of which I did not recognize. Probably for the better. We all staggered back to the ship.

They say war is hell and so it is; but those three days I shall never forget





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