From: Toledo, Ohio
2 April 1942, Treasure Island Navy Base, CA
LT Greg Cummins arrives by motor launch at the base. He arrived at the San Franciso train station a few hours ago and made his way done to the Navy pier. There was quite a line of sailors and officers at the dock; so, Greg had to wait his turn. He was able to board the fourth launch and now was back on dry land.
The trip across the country had not been too awful. He went from Washington to St. Louis first. That part of the trip had taken less than two days. He had to put up for a night in St. Louis as there were no available seats until late the next day. The trip across the West had taken almost four days. Greg didn't mind the journey at all. He had never traveled to this part of the country and enjoyed seeing the Rockies for the first time. They ran into a snow storm crossing the continental divide that slowed the passage down quite a bit. The crewmen of the train seemed unconcerned; so, Greg took the same attitude.
He now makes his way to the BurShips office here at the base. He presents his orders to the PO manning the desk at the building's entrance.
“Have a seat over there, Lieutenant,” the man says pointing at some chairs along the wall. “The Captain will be ready to see you in a few minutes.”
Greg takes a seat. His body is still stiff from the trip, and he stretches his legs a bit. He looks down at his jacket admiring his sewing job. The last thing he did before leaving DC was to stop at the PX to buy some new stripes. The long trip gave him ample opportunity to complete the sewing job. It wasn't seamtress quality but it looked passable. The only thing that bothered him was that the new strip was much brighter than the other two. Even a mildly observant man would be able to figure out that his promotion was still quite recent. Only wear and time would change that fact.
“Lieutenant, the Captain will see you now”, the PO says
Greg stands and walks to the room the PO had indicated. He opens the door and sees a familair face. It is now Captain Strothers who was commander of Desron 6 when Greg was on the Warington. The two men exchange salutes, and the Captain motions Greg to a chair.
“Good to see you again, Greg,” Strothers begins. “I've heard good things about your work at the Yard. I knew you were the right man for the job after your input on the Fletcher project.”
“Thank you, Sir,” he says. “I fear you may have sentenced me to a life at a desk.”
“You sound like every Junior Officer I have on staff here,” the captain says. “Everybody is aching for a combat billet. I hope you know that this work is important even if it isn't exciting.”
“You sound just like Captain Lawrence,” Greg says. “They have some class you have to take at the War College for that?”
“No, afraid not,” Strothers laughs. “Let's just say that with age comes wisdom. Wisdom dictates that for every man on the front lines, there are ten men in the rear making sure he has the tools to win the battle.”
“I know that is true,” Cummins says, “but I can't help those jobs would be better filled by Reserve Officers. Those of us who graduated from the Academy have the superior training and qualifications to be the ones leading the battle.”
“Well I will not argue your point, I will only counter that there are too few Annapolis grads to go around.” Strothers says. “I defy you to find me a Reserve Officer with your mind for Naval Architecture.”
Once again, Greg finds himself trapped by his own abilities. He knows it is a moot point and decides to cede the argument to Strothers – at least for now.
“You know I can't,” he says. “Why don't we get to the matter at hand. When are the destroyers due in?”
“They should be here by the end of the week although I don't know exactly,” Strothers says. “CinCPac has ordered complete radio silence. He doesn't wat to tip off the Japanese that two of our carriers are no longer in teh South Pacific.”
“You know what is coming?” Greg asks. “Destroyerwise I mean.”
“Four Mahan, two Porter, two Fanning, and four Gridley,” the Captain answers.
Now Greg knows why Captain Lawrence wanted him out here. It was hard enough at Norfolk when they were working on just one class. Four classes all at once! Greg had the sudden desire to find his blueprints. He was thankful at least that he would have a few days to prepare.
“Where is the work being done?” he asks.
“They will be split,” Strothers answers. “Nine at Alameda and five at Mare Island.”
“Oh this is just getting better all the time,” Greg thought to himself. “First four separate classes, and now they are going to be split at two navy yards that are fifty miles apart. Not just fifty miles but fifty miles of the San Francisco Bay. Whats the drive time between the two bases? Four hours?”
“Here's the list of which ships are going where,” Strothers says noticing Greg's consternation. “You should have time to meet with the Yard Masters at both yards before the get here. I know its a lot to handle, Greg, but look at it this way. If it was easy, they would n't need the best. And from what I hear, you're the best”
“Thank you for your vote of confidence, Sir,” Greg says as he stands. “I better get to work on this right away.”
“Good idea, “ Strothers says. “Nice to see you again.”
“And you also, Sir,” Greg says saluting.
He heads out the door with purpose in his steps. The PO assigns him a desk and he gets straight to work.
“No rest for the wicked, eh Cummins,” he says to himself as he sits down and pulls out the first blueprint.
"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry