An improbable naval officer afloat – a memoir

If any deserve the dedication of this collection of true short stories they are the certain unhappy officers and enlisted men who were assigned to the eight 1918-vintage eagle boats that operated out of U.S. coastal ports during World War II. They felt, as I did, that we had been put aside and ached to get into, in my case back into, the real war.

In order to compensate, most of us expended our youthful exuberance in situations that would have not otherwise occurred and that verge on the unbelievable. Some pertinent tales are recorded herein.

Furthermore, due to the torpedoing of Eagle 56 with the loss of forty-nine, the overall casualty rate for those of us in the eagle boat manning pool exceeded nine percent. Regardless, the frustration of not being assigned in more exciting situations remains.

I also wish to record my disregard for the detailers in the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Personnel who, no matter how busy they were during World War II, cannot justify their failure to effectively assign qualified engineering officers. At a critical phase of the War they achieved what no enemy had accomplished; they absolutely wasted fifteen weeks of my services. Since I know of a few others who had the same experience, I often wonder about the total loss of trained manpower at a critical time. In the context of naval readiness, it was just as if we were injured by an enemy and spent fifteen weeks in hospital.

Louis D. Chirillo


Copyright © 2005 (text only) by Louis D. Chirillo