Most of you who were at the Memorial Service and especially those who weren’t, I have an update for you.
Many of you have heard the story of James Alls, commissioning member of Flier’s crew, who was aboard from the day she was commissioned as a US Naval Submarine in New London Connecticut, traveled through the Panama Canal, suffered the grounding at Midway, went on the complete patrol, and was ABSENT for the doomed second patrol. The night before (or two nights before, I’ll be sure to get the full story) Mr. Alls got in a bar fight in Fremantle, and was hit in the jaw with a bottle, breaking it (the jaw, jury’s out on the bottle, not that it matters).
An injury so serious grounded Mr. Alls in the hospital in Fremantle, and the Navy assigned another man to take his place on the Flier. Mr. Alls hoped that he would be re-assigned to Flier when she returned, since everyone aboard was so close to one another.
And of course, Flier never did return.
Mr. Alls, like the other survivors, questioned why he survived, and felt incredibly guilty that he wasn’t there with his friends who were like family the moment that it happened. It haunted him for years.
But then the Flier was found, and Mr. Alls decided to make the trek from Kentucky to Michigan to memorialize his lost crewmembers, and throw a rose into the water for Fireman Donald See, the man who took his place.
The memories of these men, their personalities and stories, are still vivid in Mr. Alls’s memory and at that service, he was able to give the gift of introducing relatives of these long-lost men to those whose lives remain forever frozen in 1944. In the words of a nice of Joe Kucinski (who apparently, everyone called “Ski!”) “Mr. Alls gave me my uncle back. I never knew him before, but I feel I know him now through the stories [Mr. Alls] told me.”
I’m posting today the fact that Mr. Alls and I have tentatively arranged to meet for an extensive interview sometime in the next eight weeks in an undisclosed location. (all this hinging on arrangements still being settled, hence the “secrecy”.)
So if you have a question you’d like me to ask Mr. Alls, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t promise that it will get asked, but I will certainly try. I hope to continue to talk to and correspond with Mr. Alls for as long as possible, so if I can’t ask it during this first interview, hopefully I can soon.
I will be filming and recording this too, so if all goes really, REALLY well, I’ll try to post segments of the interviews here for everyone to see. How’s that for exciting?
I know I’m excited. Some of his information has been really enlightening. It’s going to add some details to the book and definitly force a re-write of a couple of places.
For more about Jim Alls and the short interview he did for the Grand Haven Tribune,click here. And see below.
|Jim Alls remembers the U.S.S. Flier|