|Title||"Hold Your Fire, It's Kitten!"|
|Published Date||Circa 2005|
"Hold Your Fire, It's Kitten!"
Autobiographically inspired short story.
By James C. McKay
"This tub'll never make it! Why should we risk our necks for them frogs?" Bosun's Mate First Class Schultz stalked out of the supply room without waiting for an answer.
The target of Shultz's snide remark was the U.S.S. S.C. 1335. The date was June of 1943. We had just gotten the word that, following commissioning and shakedown, the 110 foot wooden subchaser, then under construction in Halesite, Long Island, would join a slow Atlantic convoy, and proceed to Casablanca, where she would be turned over to the Free French under the Lend Lease Program.
Shultz's outburst served to deepen my anxiety, and I restrained myself only by a great effort from rushing to the skipper for words of comfort. He had enough troubles. George had been shocked to learn that none of his officers or crew members had been to sea. Although I was the executive officer, my experience, other than attending Local Defense School in Boston and Submarine Chaser Training Center in Miami, had been confined to operating a rowboat equipped with outboard motor. Bob, the third officer, had received no training for duty at sea.
George, a stocky, red faced, dark haired man of medium height with the feisty temperament of his Irish ancestors, fought tooth and nail with the Brooklyn Navy Yard personnel to get equipment we were entitled to, and more. Bob and I did the best we could to help ready the tiny sub chaser ready for sea. But, for the most part, George's shoulders would have to carry both of us until we learned the ropes.