The Alls interview and the deck logs today

Posted by Rebekah
Nov 06 2010

For those that missed the update, due to the very urgent and dangerous turn of health a close member of Jim Alls’s family took a few days before our scheduled interview, the October 23 interview was rescheduled.  If all turns out well, and I hope it does this time, the interview will take place on November 13, next Saturday, and I’ll be able to ask all those questions that you have been eager to hear, as have I?

Did they celebrate birthdays?  What were the nicknames?  Where did they go when they were in port?  Did anybody think the Flier was jinxed, or said so out loud? (I know from family members of several Flier crewmen that they sensed their last visit home really would be their LAST visit forever, but whether that was ever spoken aboard the Flier is another question…)  What was it like to be in a submarine?  How did they decorate their space or try to make it more comfortable?  What was it like during Midway?  Did they celebrate holidays if they were aboard for them?  July 4?  Christmas?

Can’t wait.

Now I know I’m behind on this blog.  I really do try, but lateley, I’ve been absorbed by another project: the deck log.  You see, starting in December, with no warning or explination, the deck log switches from the typewritten logs you’ve been looking at to handwritten logs, and continues that way for over four months.  It’s a significant part of Flier’s story, starting from before she enters Panama Canal, through the grounding at Midway, through the repairs at Mare Island, detailing who went home when and what happened to the crew (including one Summary Court Martial for a Flier crewman who got too drunk to perform his duties…and apparently knocked down the MPs who tried to arrest him!  Not the first time we’ll see this type of incident, and this guy won’t be the only one who pulls this stunt!)

But before I could post any of those, and before I could read them to see what I might want to glean for the interview,  I had to transcribe them.  Mind, I’m working with a high-quality photograoh of a xerox of the originals (and the xerox was taken in the 1960’s or 70’s), so that gets even more interesting.  Even using photoshop and tinkering with dozens of settings to pull the handwriting out, some entries are only spare sketches of what they really say.

This is the deck log from 2 November, 1943. The interesting point to this one is at 10 AM, Ervin Borlick, of Chicago Illinois, was discharged at the end of his four years of contracted service. He's featured on the USS Flier Lost Crew page, so you know this isn't the end...

This entry, for 3 November 1944, shows two additiosn to the crew, a J.C. Strain was assigned to the Flier's crew at 10:15 at night, and then, five minutes later, after apparently 18 hours footloose and fancy free in exotic Groton CT, Borick is back, and reenlisted for four more years.

The Next day, 4 Novmber, 1943, another man was assigned to Flier, Mike Ricciardelli of Pennsylvania. They're starting to finalize the crew lists in preperation to go.

5 November, 1943, and an electrician's mate named Basil "B" ROWE reported aboard. Makes me wonder what the "B" stood for since it's in quotations, it might be a nickname. I know there were at least three "Bud" or "Buddy"s on board. Makes me wonder if this was another one.

And on today's date, 67 years ago, they did...nothing. Stayed moored in one place and did nothing. Well, that's probably not true. They were likely running checks, drills, cleaning, securing watchign making sure that when they were finally given the okay to head for war, that Flier was at her best.

For anyone interested in getting a closer look at any of these deck log pages, you can click on them to pull up a much larger image of the deck log.  Also, since these logs are considered the property of the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, they are in the public domain, so you can feel free to print them and do whatever you like with them. Just please be respectful of the men who’s story is told in these pages.

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