So I spent the weekend about 600 miles east visiting with the family of one of the USS Flier survivors. (I was not given permission to say who, but there are seven suspects). Though he was known as a quiet man, he was, in his own way, fascinated with the story of the Flier, and the contents of his and his wife’s scrapbooks and records yielded such gems as the deck logs (daily accountings of what the Flier was doing, ) the sailing list from the Flier, and even the love telegrams that he sent to his new bride to assure her that he was safe and still loved her. It really makes me appreciate how easily I can keep in contact with my family today though e-mail, VOIP technology, phone, Facebook…ect.) To think that this lady, during the first year of her marriage only spent a few days with her new husband, and only got a one line telegram from him every few weeks to let her know that he was still alive is amazing. That she carefully preserved all of them proves how much these little telegrams were her lifeline.
A part of me wishes that I had found these materials earlier, but things happen when they happen. The deck logs in particular are amazing since they tell me exactly where Flier was 66 years ago on every day. Today, for example, she was on a training run which started on the 15th, making practice runs, dives, and emergency procedures. The officers that recorded today’s activities were Paul Knapp, William Reynolds, and John “Ed” Casey. Some of these pages are handwritten and so faded that the information is gone. Someday, I hope I cam make it to the Naval Archives to see the originals, but for now, this is an incredible gold mine!