An Evergreen Tale

By Paul McKenna as told to Jack


Editor's Opinion:  The Evergreen was a "oner" You loved her or you hated her. Over her lifetime she sank next to the dock a couple of times, had a couple of fires, and people used to cringe when they heard her name. If everything could be dredged up about her there would be a good book in it. Too many things happened at too many times and few people wrote things down that should have been written down about her.  She was even used as a weather ship towards the end of WWII?

I sailed on the EVERGREEN from Woods Hole to Argentia and we ran into a full blown hurricane. BM1 Rocky Anglin, GM2 John DeThomas, myself and most of the liberty party said “goodby” to the States by drinking Woods Hole dry the night before sailing (Ed. Note: This must have been a one time happening.) Somehow or other a goodly quantity of wine made it aboard the ship. Of a crew (and passengers) of 63, 60 were sea sick and three were feeling “no pain”. I can’t identify the three except to say that it was a BM1, a GM2 and a YN1 passenger.  We had to go out to the 500 fathom curve to dispose of a 55 gallon drum of radioactive material from the Woods Hole Institute. When we reached our disposal destination green water was crashing over the foc’sle on to a Navy pilot’s car lashed to the port side of the well deck (his wife and young daughter were in the Sick Bay as passengers.) The drum weighed a good deal as the miniscule amount of radio active material was encased in cement.The ship was rolling like a cork (one roll measured 49 degrees.) With the car and the drum lashed to the port side of the well deck it would be impossible to unship the boom, swing it to port, pick up the heavy drum and swing it over the port side since a wave crashing onto the starboard side would probably swamp the ship. For the same reason it was also not advisable to use the boom to remove a section of rail so that the drum could be rolled over the side. The skipper was all set to take the damn drum to Argentia when Rocky hit upon an idea (after a long swig from a wine bottle.) Without unshipping the boom, he slacked the whip, fed the coil through the scuttle, over the rail from the outboard side and around the drum. He then took up the slack on the whip pulling the drum snug up against and partially up the rail. John DeThomas and I got behind the drum and when a wave rolled the ship sufficiently to put the port rail almost under water, Rocky took up all slack on the whip and we pushed the damn drum over the side.  

Later the three of us had to go up on the boat deck and lash the LCVP to the davits as it was swinging loose. Only Rocky’s superior marlinspike seamanship kept John and I from being crushed between the stern of the LCVP and the davits. Later we were celebrating our successful exploits on the Mess Deck with a few cups of wine. Suddenly a skinny Storekeeper, wearing only his skivvies, and as green as a frog, came up from the Berthing Compartment, grabbed a handful of the ever present Saltine crackers, and stuffed them into his mouth. Rocky waved a cup of wine under his nose and admonished him to “Watch out, Stores. If you eat too many of them crackers you’ll be wiping your ass with a whisk broom”. I don’t think “Stores” heard him because when he caught a whiff of the wine he dashed for the Head and was last seen giving the John a big bear hug. 

Upon arrival in Argentia we uncovered the Navy pilot’s hard top sedan to find that his roof stove in and resting on the back of the front seat. His wife thanked us for the trip, but assured us that she would return to the States by plane.  

Jack: Do what you want with this although it probably belongs in the Deep Six with the radioactive drum. S/Paul


Ever Gone, Never Clean, Evergreen by Jack Eckert - [2202 words] -Like a man condemned I walked across the dock with my seabag on my back.... 

Another Evergreen Story By Mark Wood – [367 words] - Morale hit     it’s nadir when this most notorious of all cutters left Governor’s Island.

Shanghaied - A sea story by Paul McKenna as told to Jack - [400 words] 

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