Raymond F. Albers

Signaling his way to Captain's Mast

At the time we were anchored in what was being called Buckner Bay on the southeast side of Okinawa.  It was late July or early August and the island had been secured.  The carrier Suwanee was anchored nearby and on it was a friend of mine  who was a radioman.  Since he could read Morse code as well as I, we were able to communicate by flashing light.  As we talked about things in general one of us brought up the the subject of where we thought we were going next. We wondered if the fleet was perhaps destined for the coast of China or Japan itself.  As we were doing this an officer on the flag bridge which was just above the signal bridge was reading our conversation and reported that I was signaling info that might harm the fleet if some Japs still alive on the island were able to read what I was saying.   The outcome of this is that shortly thereafter I was "requested" to attend a Captains Mast.  The Captain promptly advised me that I may have been  jeopardizing the fleet with what my buddy and I were signaling. In short order I was demoted from 3rd class signalman to seaman 1st. class.   Ironically, I had just become 3rd a few days earlier and had not even sewn my chevrons on to my uniform yet. A few days after this on Aug.14th, I believe it was, the war ended.    Very poor timing in signaling my friend.  A few days later and I would have still been a 3rd class.  I remained a seaman the remainder of the service and was discharged in Mar. 1946.  Although my friend was adept at reading code via radio, I had to send code by flashing light slowly because if one sends it too fast it becomes almost a steady light and then it  is difficult to pick up.  If I could have signaled faster perhaps the officer wouldn't have been able to read what we were saying.  Such is life.

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