Tokyo 1952Posted: January 13, 2012
The event was a trip to Tokyo, Japan in 1952.
I was only 5 at the time and my only real memory is of fruit rolling back and forth, back and forth across our cabin during stormy weather. Don’t know why that memory stuck! My mother was taking my 9 y/o and 3 y/o over to Japan to meet my father, who had completed a one-year tour in Korea. According to her, the ship carried troops for Korea and wives going to meet their husbands in Japan. There were, per Mom, only two cabins on the ship with private baths. The Captain got one, and she as ranking wife, got the other. She felt bad about that…but not bad enough to give it up either.
A couple of interesting anecdotes she has related from the trip (and they are second hand because I was certainly too young to remember or be aware of them at the time):
She said one wife was approximately 6 months pregnant and was going to meet her husband who had been gone for one year. The gossip/rumor mill loved that (this was the 50’s after all!) and was wondering how her husband was going to buy that. The wife was escorted by the chaplain to go meet her husband. The wife was subsequently escorted back onto the ship by the chaplain and returned, unaccompanied, to the US. The husband apparently didn’t buy whatever story she gave him.
Supposedly, one young trooper bet another he wouldn’t jump overboard. The young man took the bet and jumped over, knowing they would stop the ship. She said the ship was stopped, but he was never recovered.
— By Pat Gehert, as told to Operation Footlocker on July 16, 1999