By June 14th we were back in Yokosuka; this time preparing for our final leg home. Much of our eight days there have unfortunately slipped my memory bank over the years. The event that stands out strongest for me, however, was the ship's party in the Habchi Room at the E.M. Club. This was on the 18th. The E. M. Club, as you might recall, is located just off the base across the street from the main gate. I described it some in my write up on the earlier stop in Yokosuka, so see no need to go into that here.
Robert (Bob) L. Allison, YM3, did a nice job of writing about the party in the June '57 issue of the Spangler Bulldog. And as was typically the case, when the Spangler did anything, it did it right! Bob wrote that the party included a buffet dinner consisting of of "roast turkey, ham, roast beef, potato salad, cold beans, relishes, potato chips, popcorn, and assorted beverages." I wonder what those assorted beverages were? But not to be outdone by the food, the party also came equipped with a dance band and twenty five hostesses. And as typically the case, Phil Eng was on hand with his trusty camera to capture the moment.
Bob went on to write that "An all Japanese floor show which lasted about an hour and a half was started with 2 teenagers doing a comedy tap number which was followed by a young TV Starlet who played the guitar and sand several western numbers which were quite welcomed by the crew members.
Next on the program was a female impersonator who did a very good job with her impersonating. Last but not least on the program was a very talented young lady who gave the audience the benefit of her talents by singing several popular songs....In the later part of the evening, the audience was entertained by Harris on the drums, Bell with the trumpet, and Johnson on the bass; a little show of what these men can do to aid in the Spanglers search for men with such talents to join the Spanglers band. Also surprising the audience with his talents was MOORE, SD1, singing Stardust and closing the show with Goodnight." Sweetheart.
The Skipper and the Executive Officer and some of their guest were present along with all the other officers and crew. I'm sure a skeleton crew remained aboard the Spangler for security reasons, and was then relieved some time during the evening so they could also attend. I doubt anyone was left out altogether, unless they chose to remain aboard.
The Skipper and XO weren't the only folks with invited guest as evidenced by the young ladies in the photo to the right and the one (Miki) next to Chuck Kuntz in the photo below. The presence of twenty five hostesses to keep the guys smiling didn't hurt a bit! I'm not sure who came up with that idea but they deserved a pat on the back!
One can only guess what Andy Anderson, Jim Chappelear and William Chiles found so interesting! What ever the subject, they are deep into it. And with Andy doing the talking, the subject could have been on just about anything! I had the good fortune of visiting with Andy not too long ago...the guy's got a steel trap memory. He recalls anything and everybody aboard the Spangler, at least for the years he was aboard. And as the ship's laundry man, he knew every guy aboard ship and was close to the officer staff as well! The smiling fella in the civilian clothes is Ron Knight and the young lady is his girlfriend, Miki Atsuma from Kobe (not the same Miki sitting with Kuntz).
Don't you love this photo below of Lalicker holding the beverage cup. Yep, that's coke! Uh! Huh! Sure! I don't know if he was that far gone or putting on an act. But with Lalicker you never knew which for sure, all it took was one beer and he was on his way. Great guy! I doubt there's a man who served aboard the Spangler in '57 that doesn't remember and miss this fella!
What I really recall most, was not the ship's party so much as the "party" afterwards. By that I'm referring to the Ops Division party. The ship's party wrapped up around 10 pm and the crew split into groups and headed off into different directions or headed back to the ship. The Ops crowd, at least some of us, including Ensign Day and another officer or two, headed off to a club-hotel combination a few miles out of town. I recall we had to take a taxi to get there and one to get back. The place was called the Princess Palace, but I might be wrong on that. It had a large lounge area but, in truth, the place was really more of a brothel than a hotel, but what the heck; it served its purpose, depending on what that purpose was. Anyway, we had a full, blown party that lasted well after midnight. Unlike the E.M. Club where only some of the guys had girls to chat with, nearly everyone in the Ops party, especially the younger guys, had a girl sitting next to him. And it wasn't unusual to see the pair depart for a while. I recall this one young lady, as cute as any you would ever see in Japan, bounce from table to table and guy to guy. She was just a little thing, but as cute as a bug's ear with a smile that lit up the room. I would love to have a dollar for every guy she took up stairs that evening. I can't imagine anyone having that much stamina. No sooner would she visit with one guy for a while and she would move on to the next. The guys had to have one hell of a comradeship to abide by the goings on that evening! The hotel had a communal hot bath. And I say communal because it must have been at least 12x12 feet square and 3-feet deep, with lots of room for lots of folks. You can't begin to imagine how hot that water was! The bottom of the bath was lined with steam pipes releasing a continuous flow of steam. A few minutes in that thing and you came out pink like a cooked lobster. If you had any germs on you going in I'd feel sorry for the germs. >Mama-san was a stickler on cleanliness! She never permitted anyone to go upstairs without first taking a bath. A hot bath...a really hot bath!!!
You and the girl you were with would enter the bath area wearing bathrobes, step out of those and into the bath, typically requiring a little coaxing on the girl's part, considering the fog steam of hanging above the surface. Next came the bath, the young lady you were with bathed you from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes. If you were drunk on going in your were stone sober coming out...but almost too lethargic to get out from all that heat.
How do I know all this, well that wasn't my first night to the hotel. But on this particular night, after having plenty of drink, I decided to return to the ship following a little encouragement from Ensign Day. We caught a taxi and made it back to about a block from the ship, when at a stop light I opened the door and got out. Ensign Day yelled, "Dorough, get back in here!" I said "Nope! The evenings too young yet!" I caught a taxi, returned to the hotel and had a more drinks with some of the guys. When it came closing time, Mama-san said, "You stay, you go ship in morning! Take hot bath. I fix you good bed!" So she had one of the young ladies march me into the hot bath, for the second time that evening, and then off to bed. I slept like a log until Mama-san woke me up the next morning.
I rose up in bed and along side of me I saw this girl lying there totally nude. She had the prettiest body, but not exactly the prettiest girl. No, she definitely had not been one of my choices for the evening.
I said "Huh! How did you get here?" I was still a little hung over, groggy and trying to wake up. But I knew she damn well wasn't there when I went to bed!
She jumped up, grabbed her bathrobe and said, "Mama-san say I sleep here, I need bed! I sorry!" What could I say? She looked so timid and looking at her made me think her didn't go that well. So I gave her a few bucks, dressed and headed back to the ship.
That was some night! Some party!!!
Ten men came aboard for the ride with us back to the states. These were Raymond Jacobsen, FN; William Laffrey, IM3; Leonard leggate, EM2; Norman Quinton, AN; Wayman Stanley, SM2; Norman Kimball, FN; Joseph Schaeffer, AN; Francis Stodden, AN; Cecil Swank, SN and Sgt. Robert Varady, USMC. June 23, 1957 marked the day the Spangler and her sister ships pulled anchor and headed home....Finally!!!
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