Tales of Palau       

Farewell to Anguar

By Allen J. Neal

 

December 19, 1954 I was summoned to the office of the CO, LTJG Kraine who informed me that I had enough time in the 14th CG district to be rotated home. I had 60 days leave coming which included 30 days of compensatory leave for isolated duty. It sounded good to me to get to go home for a while. I had to put in three choices for my next duty station, I choose the 2nd district, St. Louis, Mo in hope of getting the river boat out of Omaha, NE right across from my home town of Council Bluffs, IA. My second choice was Miami FL, and my 3rd choice was the 13th district, Seattle, WA. Everyone I talked to said you always get your first choice after spending a year on isolated duty stations. WRONG, I got my 3rd choice the 13th district, Seattle, WA. I later found out it was a great choice and I loved Seattle.

Feb. 4,1954 a R5D arrived on Anguar with an inspection party with Rear Admiral Kenner and his entourage of higher ranking officers consisting mostly of Lt. Commanders and Captains going on a “ Round Robin “ inspection tour of the 14th CG district bases. The remaining trip consisted of going to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Midway and Wake Islands before returning to Honolulu. We were asked if that was OK or would we rather wait for the next plane. It was OK with me, as I would get to places I probably would never see except for this trip. Allan “ Smokey “ Stover SN was going also as he had his time in the 14th CG district also.

The old WW 2 Douglas R5D was veteran of the Berlin Air Lift we were told and had a few seats up front and a cargo spaces in the rear. We had to set in the rearmost seats and we looked like a couple natives with our deep tans, wrinkled undress whites, and longer hair. As the lumbering old R5D climbed toward Sangley Point, Manila, the Admiral got up and reached into his bag and brought to Smokey and me the latest editions of Life and Newsweek magazines to read, we hadn’t seen a current magazine in over a year.. We thanked him and he returned to his seat and we noticed all the icy stares from the front of the plane as about everyone was staring at us and probably wondering why the Admiral gave us his magazines instead of them. I told “ Smokey “to read slow because I didn’t want any of the “Yes“ men getting the new editions of the magazines until we landed.

Admiral Kenner was one of the finest officers I had met while in the CG, I was told he had a twin brother that was also a admiral 

While at Sangley Point NAS we waited for better weather to fly to Hong Kong. Smokey and I decided to walk across the airfield to the base PX which was on the far side of the air field. We had to walk around parked aircraft which were inside a yellow painted line. As we rounded a corner one of us stepped on the yellow line, we heard a loud ‘ Halt “ and there was a “Jarhead“ with his rifle pointed at us and ordered us to the provost marshals office where we got a lecture about stepping on the yellow lines. I guess they thought we were some kind of spies or saboteurs.

Our arrival in Hong Kong was very exciting as the plane had to make a sharp 90-degree turn to line up with the runway at Kai Tek airport on the mainland of China at Kowloon.

The aircraft commander told us we would be there for 4 days and to BE there when the plane was ready to leave or ELSE. We stayed at the Grand Hotel in Kowloon that still had many bullet holes from Japanese aircraft from WW 2. Smokey and I got a room that cost $99.40 for 4 days, which was about $10.00 US for the 4 days.

Smokey and I decided to take a rickshaw ride and we both piled in together and the Chinese guy took off and we didn’t know where the hell he was taking us as he didn’t seem to know or understand English. We soon noticed we were in the “off limits“ district for servicemen in a section of Colon we were warned to stay out of. We went past opium dens where old Chinese guys were smoking with long hoses hooked up to pots of smoking opium. We kept trying to tell the rickshaw driver to get the hell out of there. He didn’t understand or was giving us the “Dumb Act“ as he kept going. He finally stopped and we were surrounded by about 10 beautiful Chinese girls that kept saying “Pick one“ “Pick one“ we wanted to get out of there fast so we said, “you and you“ and told the Rickshaw driver to get us back to the hotel pronto.

 The two girls we picked came to the hotel that evening but our “bellboy“ on our floor that has the keys to the door wouldn’t let the girls come up as he had his own stable of girls himself and didn’t want any competition. The next morning Smokey and I walked out of the hotel and there were the two girls waiting for us on the sidewalk. They said the bellboy wouldn’t let them come up to our room unless we escorted them. We said OK and they grabbed our arms and we strolled through the lobby arm-in-arm with the two Chinese prostitutes. When we got to the elevator the door opened and there stood Admiral Kenner. He said, “ Are you boys enjoying yourself?“ “Yes sir“ we said and he said, “Very good, carry on“ as we got on the elevator.

 We took the ferry over to the island of Hong Kong and if cost $ .10 for 1st class. We walked around the city and noticed that in front of the banks an Indian wearing a turban was sitting in a chair holding a sawed off shotgun and looking everyone over as they went into the bank. I bought a jacket and some jade as things were cheap and the exchange rate was 10 cents US to a dollar Hong Kong. We had a very good time.

When time to leave Kowloon, the bus took us back to Kai Tek airport where the planes was ready to go to Tokyo. When the airplane AC saw all the stuff that was bought he about had a fit, the officers of the entourage had bought ebony chests, furniture, small motorcycle, and boxes of stuff. The AC said, “How am I suppose to take off with all this stuff?" “He came up to me and said, “Is any of this stuff yours?” "No sir,” I said, as I knew if anything were mine it would be left behind, as I was the low man in the “food chain“ aboard the plane

  We landed in Tokyo on Feb. 14, 1955 and it was 40 degrees and we were in our dress whites, we about froze until we got to the armed service hotel and dug out our dress blues that we hadn’t worn in almost two years. We toured downtown Tokyo and the Ginza district and I bought some gifts for my mom. We stayed four days in Tokyo.

We left Tokyo and headed for Wake Island for refueling and spent the night. The gooney birds were all over the place, even walking around the barracks. We took off for Midway Island and then on to Honolulu. We went through customs and I had two Colt .22 pistols and they didn’t say anything about those but they took several bottles of booze from the officers that had too many over the limit. The plane was fumigated and taken over to the CG air station where we picked up our sea bags; the place the crew had hidden several cases of knock-off Ronson cigarette lighters in the places wall padding

I guess they were to sell as real ones. So much for customs inspection.

 The flight to San Diego was uneventful and then on to San Francisco and Alameda.

 Home for 30 days and then Seattle here I come.

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