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Small Boat Capers

Every L.S.T., carried at least two LCVP's (36' Higgins boats) on it's davits. Some L.S.T.'s had as many as six LCVP's. When the L.S.T. is at anchor, these boats are used as water taxis. They were the only connection to other ships at anchor and also shore installations.

I was part of the Mad Hooligan boat pool, working as a team with Coxswain Jim Greenough. We had a good relationship and participated in many unauthorized capers. One example was as soon as we were out of sight of our ship, we immediately would remove one of the LCVP floor boards. To this we would fashion a bridle and tie on a tow rope. Volia! We now had a first class aquaplane. Jim and I would swap off towing one another on our daily runs. Since we didn't bother to wear a bathing suit, we would strip down and ride bare a--. On one occasion when Jim was towing me, he decided to round an anchored hospital ship and I was the object of a thrill for the nurses lining the rails. I blushed all over.

Another time, while we were at the mail dock in Leyte, PI. We were able to buy two bottles of "stateside liquor". One pint was "Three Roses" and the other pint was "Four Feathers". (We should have known that the real stateside stuff was Four Roses and Three Feathers, but the labels looked authentic). Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), one bottle broke and spilled all over the engine cover. We're real lucky the bottle broke, for the next morning we discovered all the paint was off the engine cover.

One more story was a scary happening. During an air raid on Okinawa, all ships would make smoke to cover the harbor. We also had one of those smoke generators on our LCVP. Once while operating the generator, it burst into flames. Needless to say, we deep sixed the contraption before the enemy could zero in on us.

Bob Franzago



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