USS Noxubee AOG56

A Tribute To Those That Served

Thank a Veteran

Lost Contacts
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Noxubee Crest

Always On The Go!

By Tom Hayes


Noxubee at dock I served on the Noxubee from Aug '51 until Mar '53. She was my first ship and I still remember the day I reported aboard in Norfolk 50 years ago.---I loaded my seabag and myself into the back of a pickup truck at the receiving station for the ride down to the pier. When we got there my first impression was, "where in hell is the ship?" It was low tide and the tank deck/ quarterdeck was way below pier level. The next thing that caught my eye was a large sign mounted midships on the catwalk life rails. It proclaimed in large red letters. VIETATO FUMARE!

Hmmm, very strange, is this really a U.S.Navy vessel? I learned later it means NO SMOKING! in Italian. It seems the dockworkers in Italy where Noxubee spent a lot of time didn't appreciate the fact that the smoking lamp should be out while pumping AVGAS. They'd light off one of their little crooked stinking black cigars any time they wanted. This caused a previous CO loss of sleep. Hence the sign.

Noxubee was definitely different. I climbed down the 45 degree sloped brow, reported aboard, and began one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was a 19 year old SA so I was assigned to the deck force and worked in the 1st division on the fo'c'sle. BMC Campese was in charge up there and he promptly sent me back aft to the galley for a 90 day mess cooking tour.

When I checked in at the galley I was plugged into the scullery where I spent a good part of my time in a cloud of steam which wasn't much fun when we got to Gitmo. The potato peeler (machine) helped matters somewhat by conking out. I became its replacement which gave me a chance for a breather topside in the fresh air and sunshine while peeling spuds at the rate of 100 lbs per day.

Noxubee moved over to Craney Island to take on a load shortly after I came aboard. We then got under way for Bermuda to deliver it. So my first morning at sea (after doing my breakfast scullery bit) found me seated on an upturned bucket on the fantail, a potato peeler in my hand and a 100 lb sack of spuds by my side. We were out in the Gulf Stream where the sea is bright, bright, blue. The porpoises and flying fish began leaping out of the water around the ship and I was happy as a Rhode Island clam, mess cook or not. I had wanted to go to sea since I was 12 or13 years old and this suited me just fine. I served on four more ships and never did get tired of watching the sea. So I mess cooked for the next three months as the zubee went down to Gitmo (Cuba) for underway training and then across the Atlantic to begin a 9 month Med cruise.

After mess cooking I went back on the deck force where BMC Campese and his main man BM2 Smith got busy turning me into an all-around fully qualified seaman. I started standing helm watches and manning the boats. I had previous boat handling experience so qualified as boat coxswain pretty quick. If I had known what Narragansett Bay is like in the winter, I wouldn't have been so happy about that.

Mt 31Noxubee may have been a service force work horse but she was a Man 'O War as well. Noxubee's skipper was a mustang LT. named Johnnie J. Wilkes during my time aboard and he was real gung ho about gunnery practice. He sent all the gun crews through the gunnery school at Dam Neck, VA and had us put in a lot of practice time on the dummy 3 inch practice gun mount on the boat deck. He was ready, willing and eager to fight the ship if the chance arose--(I think he wanted to be a destroyer skipper but what the hell, ya gotta go with what ya got.) We also practiced live firing fairly often. My battle station was hot shell man on mount 31. New guys are always plugged in where they can do the least damage. (Better an expended shell casing dropped than a live round.) I was given a pair of arm length padded asbestos mittens.

"Here, wear these things, they'll keep you from getting burnt too bad when you catch them red hot shell casings."
" But don't worry, the doc's got plenty of petrolatum and stuff in sick bay."
"Jeez, thanks Guns, that's very reassuring"
"Soon as the first loader rams the round into the breech he steps back, you move in behind the breech and catch the shell casing on the recoil when the gun fires."
"Stand close but not too close, if the breech block hits you in the head it'll really ring your gong big time."
"Remember, the recoil is 11 inches."
"Don't miss, we can't have loaders dancing around bouncing shell casings."
"Soon as you catch the casing, fling it over the splinter shield clear of the gun tub and get ready for the next one."
"Yhere's not a moment to lose" "Got It?"
"Good, get in there."

and that's all there is to being a hot shell man.

I've carried a lot of great memories of the Noxubee ever since I left her in 1953. I'm amazed how vivid they remain after all these years. Reading the other shipmate's recollections has reminded me of a lot more experiences. It wasn't all fun and games, of course.

I'd just as soon forget about being so tired that I could fall asleep standing up. I often skipped chow for a noonday nap, which, for a real chowhound, says a whole lot (Three things a good sailor will never miss---Chow call, Liberty call, and Payday) I could flake out and crap out on a moment's notice anytime anywhere whenever the opportunity arose, and I still can, for that matter. I guess most sailors acquire this ability, I remember seeing a snipe in the engine room cutting some serious ZZZZZZZ's while propped up against one of the main propulsion diesels as it was hammering away.

MWB Running boats back and forth across Narragansett Bay from Jamestown to Newport in the dead of winter was another experience I wouldn't mind forgetting. Running boats at night through the sea smoke, snow squalls, fog, freezing spray and 2 kt. tidal currents with only a boat compass to help find the bell buoys was no picnic as anyone who's tried it will tell you. Boat crews would arrive at the fleet landing coated in ice from head to toe. Lips would get chapped and stay cracked and bleeding with salt water sores from Thanksgiving till they finally healed about Easter time.

I was looking for some adventure and the Navy obliged me. One thing I really liked about the Navy was the way a young sailor would be entrusted with serious responsibility early on. When the coxswain shoved off in the MWB he was on his own with full responsibility for the boat and for the safety of his passengers. ----- No boat officers rode along in charge of Noxubee boats like they did on the birdfarms and other large combatants.

Noxubee at Mooring Newport harbor was alive and swarming with Navy ships and boats in the early '50's. Practically the entire cruiser- destroyer force had to anchor out in the middle of the bay before the destroyer piers were built. Noxubee would moor to Mike 19 on the west side of the bay near the Jamestown ferry landing. If she was gas-free she had a berth at the foot of long wharf, a few minutes from Leo's First and Last Stop, which was pretty handy. Mike-19 was a 10ft diameter mooring buoy. My special sea detail was to man it when mooring the ship. The MWB would tow a hawser out to the buoy and drop J.T.Cahill and myself off on it. We would reeve the hawser through a big ring in the middle of the buoy and the MWB would return to the ship with the bitter end of the hawser and bend it onto one of the anchor chains. The crew on deck would heave around on the inboard end of the hawser with the capstan and haul the ship up to the buoy so we could shackle the anchor chain onto the mooring ring.

The only problem with this handy maneuver was the mooring buoy was covered an inch deep with seagull shit, rotting fish scraps and other unfinished seagull meals. If there was much of a breeze, and there almost always was, the waves slapping against the buoy would send spray onto the seagull guano so it was nice and soupy, slimy, and slippery. I'll not mention the flies and smell. When the fo'c'sle crew heaved around on the hawser the buoy would lay over till its top was almost vertical. The only way to stay aboard was to lay down, wrap your arms around the mooring ring, and wallow about in the guano. When we got back to the ship everyone would quickly move to windward.

Another choice chore for the focsle crew was flaking down the anchor chain. This job was usually awarded to whoever had recently screwed up the most. I qualified on a number of occasions. One time I'll never forget happened in Naples, (lots of things happened in Naples) My #1 liberty buddy Cahill and myself pulled a little caper which seriously aggravated the exec who aggravated the first lieutenant who aggravated BMC Campese who,--- well, you get the idea. Noxubee got underway early the morning following this episode and Cahill and myself, hung over and sick, found ourselves removing the dozen or so nuts from the chain locker access plate.

The deal here was to climb into the chain locker and flake down the anchor chain as it came down the hawse from the anchor windlass by using some big hooks to pull it back and forth athwartships. This was done so the chain wouldn't pile up, fall over on itself, and jam back up into the hawsepipe in a big ball the next time the anchor was dropped. The main problem with this particular job was bottom muck. Naples had bottom muck that had been accumulating and rotting for over 2000 years. It was really ripe! It would stick to the chain and couldn't be hosed off completely. Some evil-smelling gobs would come off in the hawsepipe to plop onto the heads of those poor unfortunates down below in the chain locker. I can still hear Cahill retching and railing at the injustice of it all.-----PLOP!----- "A little simple fun, for chrissake! OROARK! Good for morale! GUS!" "Ya got that right, UURRK!"

One of the fixtures in Newport harbor in those days was the USS Vulcan AR-5 She stayed moored on her coffee grounds a short way off Goat Island. The Noxubee went along side her one day and tied up in the same spot recently vacated by a large garbage scow. Shortly afterwards two messcooks on the Vulcan struggled topside with a brimfull 15 gal. garbage can. They wrestled it to the rail and, before looking, disgorged the contents down the garbage chute. The CMAA happened to be stepping out of the aft end of the crew's mess just as this incredible torrent of garbage came cascading out of the heavens to splatter all over Noxubee's fantail right before his incredulous eyes. As soon as he recovered from the initial shock he looked up at the two mess cooks peering down at him and bellowed, "What the f--- do you people think you're doing?" One of the mess cooks said, "Sorry, chief, We thought you was a garbage scow". I'll let you imagine the response that generated.

Noxubee Naples Harbor I'll run these memories by you as they occur to me, This happened during the '51-'52 med cruise: I had a really great experience in Naples. The coxswain was Charley Parks BM3. We made a run into the fleet landing, when we got there and tied up, a young American couple came over to the boat. They were newlyweds on their honeymoon cruise and were in a hellava fix, the gal was bawling her heart out. They had got lost in town and their ship had sailed without them. It was just clearing the inner harbor bound for the Suez Canal with all their baggage and money aboard. (No credit cards back in those days.) They begged us to take them out to the ship. I've got to give Charley credit, the OD's orders were: "Make the fleet landing, and return to the ship". This could have got him in hot water but he didn't hesitate. We loaded them into the MWB and took off after the ship. I didn't think we had a chinaman's chance in hell of catching it but it was worth a try.

We cleared the breakwater with everybody waving like crazy. We tied the gal's white sweater to the boathook and started waving that. The ship rang up all ahead full and started pulling away. The situation wasn't looking very good. We were a mile astern her and losing ground. We were just about ready to give it up when they spotted us. The ship backed down and stopped. We ran up alongside with hundreds of passengers lining the rail on the ship and giving us a great big cheer. The ship's crew dropped a jacob's ladder and a line for their hand bags out a cargo hatch in the hull and we had them aboard safe and sound in a jiffy. Yessir! The United States Navy saves the day once again! --- it really felt great!

I have a lot more memories, some of the names may have faded away, But many faces and places are still vividly clear. My girlfriend in Napoli will always remain a 19 year old beauty in my memory. Ah! where are you, Giovanna?

Noxubee encountered a number of sand storms while alongside the mole in Tripoli or sailing along off the African coast. (They're called sand storms but they're actually dust, like tan talcum powder). The ventilators sucked the dust into the ship where it made little piles in the corners everywhere. The Ghibli (Sirocco) blew out of the Sahara for days at a time with 100 F temperatures and close to zero humidity. The wind could dry out your eyeballs if you weren't careful. Sweat evaporated soon as it squirted out and dungarees got white and crusty with salt from the dried sweat. Fresh water was in short supply which limited showers and made the crew real salty at times.

The engineering spaces had high humidity with even hotter temperatures. I don't know how the engineers stood it. When the smoking lamp was out. (often) I'd go down to the engine room for a smoke break and be standing in a puddle of sweat in 5 minutes flat. My Bull Durham roll-your-own cigarettes soaked up sweat from the inboard end and extinguished themselves half smoked. Damn! It was enough to put you onto Chewin' Tobacco.

I tried that for awhile. Nothing like chawin' a big cud of Mail Pouch or Red Man to cure a nicotine deficiency. Quite a few shipmates took up chewing, or at least dipped snuff. So then there's the problem of where to spit. Spittin' on deck is absolutely a no-no. Spittin' to windward can ruin your entire day if it blows back into your eye or worse, the chief's eye. The only solution here is to carry a little spit kit around which is a big pain. I dunno, If it ain't one damned thing it's another. I gave up chawin' in short order as did most others. Oh well,--enough whining for awhile.

Sunrises and sunsets in the Med were the most beautiful I've seen anywhere. I think that the dust blowing out of africa filtered the sunlight to create an incredible pallette of pastels, gorgeous blues, golden yellows, oranges, reds, violets, deep purples. The light had a glowing, lambent quality that I haven't seen since. It could be that microscopic bits of mica in the air caused it. I was always struck by the stark contrast between the artificial flourescent lighting, the flat white, bilious green, and machinery grey colors inside the ship and the beautiful ever-changing color displays of the surrounding sea and sky.

Noxubee Underway One afternoon Noxubee had passed through the straits of Messina (between Italy and Sicily) bound for Naples and had arrived a few miles east of Stromboli at sunset. The island of Stromboli is an active volcano with a perfectly formed cone. I was sitting in the crew's mess when I happened to glance through a porthole. The sky was a beautiful lavender color so I went topside to watch the sun go down. This was where I saw the most beautiful sunset ever. The sea and air were calm and Stromboli was sending a thin plume of smoke aloft. It went straight up through the still air for a few thousand feet where it spread out horizontally to form a brilliant golden parasol over the island. The sun dipped below the horizon and the sea and sky and Stromboli with her smoke plume put on an incredibly beautiful display of color that is far beyond my ability to describe. Paydays on the Noxubee may not have been so great but there were many other rewards. That beautiful sunset which has decorated my memory bank for the past 50 years is only one of many such unforgettable experiences.

Yes indeed, in the words of an old song: "I've got fortunes in memories" from my time aboard the Noxubee.

a fair wind and following seas to all---Tom


Noxubee Crest

Far Away Places

By Tom Hayes


Back when I was a kid in high school, one of my all time favorite recordings was "Far Away Places" sung by Margaret Whiting. It still is a favorite, come to think of it.

"Far away places with strange sounding names, Far away over the sea. Those far away places I keep hearing about, calling, calling, me. Going to China, or Maybe Siam, I want to see for myself. Those far away places I've been reading about, in a book, that I took, from the shelf. I keep getting restless whenever I hear, the whistle of a train, I pray for the day, I can get underway, and look for those castles in Spain. They call me a dreamer and maybe I am, but I know that I'm longing to see, those far away places with the strange-sounding names, calling, calling me".

The Navy recruiting posters back then were a straightforward call to adventure:


That struck the right chord with me so I quit high school after 3 years and joined the Navy at age 17. After boot camp and dropping out of ET school, (I made it thru later on my next enlistment.) I was Transferred to the boathouse crew at NTC GREAT LAKES. When My tour ended there and I finally got my chance to go to sea, the old salty bos'n mates at the boathouse advised me. "Join the Dungaree Navy, kid, put in for a small auxiliary". Good advice. I followed it and got the Noxubee. I could hardly have done better. She was a real steamer and always on the go, poking her bow into all kinds of far away places. So when I went aboard the Noxubee and the word was passed, "MAKE READY FOR SEA, STOW ALL LOOSE GEAR, MAKE ALL PREPARATIONS FOR GETTING UNDERWAY" "CAST OFF ALL LINES FORE AND AFT", and then, when the last mooring line made it's splash. "UNDERWAY, SHIFT COLORS" and Noxubee departed Norfolk bound for Bermuda, my dream of going to sea to see the world was coming true at last. it wouldn't be an easy life, far from it, but the Noxubee was a home and a feeder and I had my own cozy bunk that I could strap myself into when the seas ran high and $90 a month to spend when we pulled into port. Hey, what more does a 19 year old sailor need? (an 8oz draft beer cost 10 cents in Leo's First and Last Stop back then.)

Here's a list of the ports Noxubee visited while I was aboard. Some of them were visited several times.
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Casablanca, Morocco
Oran, Algeria
Tripoli, Libya
Gulf Juan, France
La Spezia, Italy
Livorno, Italy
Naples, Italy
Bari, Italy
Palermo, Sicily
Messina, Sicily
Catania, Sicily
Augusta, Sicily
Pireaus, (Athens) Greece
Iskenderun, Turkey
Izmir, Turkey
Larnaca, Cyprus
Souda Bay, Crete
Marsaxlokk, Malta (20 min. to Valletta)
Boston, MA
New York, NY
Newport, RI
Norfolk, VA

1952 group in Rome Tours were arranged while in port so other places could be visited: I went on tours to Rome, Paris, Pompeii, Pisa, and Sabratha in Libya. Also took a trip up Mt. Vesuvius in Naples and Mt. Etna in Sicily. Some other tours were available, one which I wish I had taken was a tour around the island of Cyprus. and one I didn't mind missing was a wild boar hunt in Turkey. I much preferred pursuing the sort of wildlife found at the Snake Pit in Naples, John Bull's in Pireaus or The Al Jolson Bar at the foot of the Gut in Valletta, Malta. Public transportation was pretty good almost everywhere. The entire French Riviera from Cannes to Nice to Monte Carlo was within reach from Golfe Juan even on a Cinderella liberty.

Noxubee on Riviera I began to fall in love with the French Riviera before ever setting foot ashore there or even seeing it for that matter, except for the coastal lights from sea. I had the 04-0800 lookout watch as Noxubee was entering Golfe Juan for her first visit there with me aboard. We slowed to bare steerageway awaiting first light before moving in to anchor. As if on cue, a gentle land breeze wafted out to welcome us bringing the fragrance of a million flower blossoms, an agreeable change from the donkey dung odor of Tripoli. Dawn lightened the eastern sky. The sun's first rays set the distant snowy peaks ablaze in fiery rose and gold.The early morning light flowed downward over the foothills to the sleeping shore. It flooded the land in a lovely lavender light mirrored in a molten purple sea. The red tile roofs along the shore emerged thru the violet veil of sea mist as the enchanting panorama was magically revealed in the brightening dawn. A church bell tolled on the beach as we entered the tranquil anchorage. I fell forever in love with the place.

Noxubee's Med cruise was an educational experience as well as an adventure. When my high school classmates were college freshmen looking at 4th rate artbook reproductions and listening to boring lectures in art orientation 101, my shipmates and me were standing in front of the original masterpieces by Raphael, Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, Caravaggio and the ancient Greek and Roman Masters in the Vatican Museum, the Louvre, and the National archeological museums at Naples and Athens. When they were looking at B&W photos of the Parthenon, Pompeii and Pisa We were exploring the actual sites and enjoying the view from the top of the leaning tower at Pisa (kinda scary).

Aside from a first rate introduction to western art and culture. the crew picked up a highly useful assortment of survival skills while interacting with the locals. You had to be mighty nimble and quick when dealing with any of these middle eastern rug merchants, bum boat operators, "guides", money changers, peddlers, cab drivers, assorted venders and other characters on the lookout for a fast buck. Constantly dealing with different kinds of '"funny money" kept things real interesting. ---- Francs, Lire, Drachmas, Turkish Lirasi, British, Maltese, Cypriot and Libyan Pounds. They all had to be converted into and from the Yankee Dollar off the top of your head on the spot. If you didn't stay up to speed on this, you would be taken to the cleaners molto subito.

Tripoli, Libya, where we spent the most inport time was the best training ground for dealing with the money changing game. Tripoli had four main currencies in circulation at the same time. The Yankee Dollar, British Pound, Italian Lira, and the Kingdom of Libya Pound that was being phased in. They also had script money issued by the British called MAL (Military Authority in Libya) that was being phased out. Each had a different rate of exchange with the US dollar and when you made a purchase your change could come back in any combination of the above.

A simple example: I bought a sheepskin for 1875 lire and handed the guy $10 american. He handed me the sheepskin, $5 american and 1250 lire back in change. Hmmmm---- Was he trying to fleece me? Ans. Nope, $1= 625 lire. You can figure it out. Actually US dollars seldom came back in change. They kept them if they could. Now, you might ask, What would he want with a sheepskin? Well, one evening after quaffing a few liters of warm Oea bee at the British NAAFI in Tripoli, I encountered a peddler selling full sized sheepskin fleeces. I got a bright idea: "Why go to college, I can get a sheepskin right here for $3 US.

I was very rudely awakened early next morning with the goddam thing wrapped around my head. I rolled out of my rack, lurched to my feet and Clawed my way out from under it. "My God! What is that horrible stench? My eyes are waterin, WHEW!" "Camel piss, you nitwit, camel piss. They tan their leather with pure, unadulterated, CAMEL PISS!!! Get that stinking thing outta here!!" and I was given the bum's rush out of the berthing compartment. I took my fragrant treasure topside to the boatdeck and hung it up to air out in the fresh sea breezes. It flapped up there for a couple months and stayed rank as ever. I finally gave up and consigned it to the deep. When last seen it was floating far astern in the wake on it's way over the horizon.

I had another experience with the wake when things went the other way. I had a brand new pair of Seafarer bellbottom dungarees that weren't getting to look salty fast enough to suit me so I was towing them in the wake to give them that salty, lived in, sea-going look. I was taking my after dinner sauna in the scullery when the ship started to shudder and shake. "Hey, What's happening?" "We're backing down, dummy." says Diamond Ted Pahanish, the baker. Diamond Ted was a bonafide character:

"quit sweatin in the dough, Ted"----
"Hell no, It helps the leavening."
"Hey Ted, What about all them weevils?"
"a damn shame, these ovens bake all the goodness right out of them"
(Ted was putting me on, of course, most of them got sifted out).

"What do you mean backing down, we're out in the middle of an empty ocean for chrissakes, back down for what?" (getting a little frantic and bolting for the fantail) "They ain't supposed to be backing down for chrissakes!" I run back to the taffrail and frantically start hauling my seafarers in, oh oh, too much slack, I can't take it up fast enough, my seafarers are waving goodbye 3 fathoms down and fast disappearing under the counter. Too late! The next thing I know, I'm in a major tug of war with the port screw. No contest, So long seafarers-----Damn it all! I could have inhaled 60 draft beers at Leo's with that money.---back to the scullery.

Noxubee Noxubee had a ship's mascot during the '51-'52 Med cruise. He was a little black dog. I think he came aboard at Cyprus, but not sure. Anyway he got seasick the first few days under way and laid on deck rolling back and forth with his tongue flopping out in the forward crew's berthing compartment. He soon had his sea legs, however, (all four of them) and was scooting all around the ship. We named him Jet because of his jet black color and the way he scooted around. He would go all the way up on the bow and poke his head over the side to bark at the dolphins while his ears flapped in the breeze. He used to take his naps on the cargo hatch. One day the hatch covers were removed. Jet came scooting across the fo'c'sle and leaped up to his favorite spot. OOPS! nothing there. Down he went into the hold where he landed on all fours and banged his chops on deck. Fortunately the lower hatch covers were in place so he only dropped 12ft or so. He was rushed to sick bay where the doc examined him and pronounced him OK except for a fat lip. He was a smart little bugger.Whenever he wanted a nap after that he'd stand on his hind legs and put his paws on top the coaming to check things out before hopping up on the hatch. After a few months we decided he would be happier on shore duty so we transfered him to Wheelus Field in Tripoli where an Air Force family adopted him.

Well, Shipmates, I've been going on too long here so I'm gonna sign off.

All The Best,


Send some of your memories so the good old Noxubee will continue to live on for us all.

a fair wind and following seas to all---Tom

Noxubee Crest

Music! Music! Music!

By Tom Hayes

Many of my memories of the Noxubee come back accompanied by the popular music of those days-('51-'53), and, in my case, it was mostly the music coming out of the juke boxes in waterfront watering holes. Songs like Theresa Brewer's all-time biggest hit:

Music! Music! Music!

Put another nickel in,
in the nickelodeon.
All I want is loving you
and Music! Music! Music!
I'd do anything for you,
anything you want me to.
All I want is kissing you
and Music! Music! Music!
Closer, my dear come closer.
The nicest part of any melody
Is when you're dancing close to me.
So put another nickel in,
In the nickelodeon.
All I want is loving you
and Music! Music! Music!

Juke Box Juke boxes back in those days really were nickelodeons. One nickel got you a play, a quarter got you 6 --- pretty cheap even on an SN's $45 payday. I spent a lot of my liberty time hanging around in the waterfront bars and taverns in Newport, Norfolk and Boston where many of the bars had those big Wurlitzer juke boxes with the colored lighted bubble tubes and lava light effects. They also had damned good speakers with plenty of bass that filled the places with sound. The juke boxes boomed away night and day sending music out the door to echo up and down the street. The music beckoned passing sailors such as myself with a siren song's promise of fun and frolic within, and, hopefully, maybe, even a friendly honey to nest up alongside. Guy Mitchell backed by Mitch Miller's band was a big favorite in all the Navy bars. Tunes like "The Roving Kind" were great for carousing and sometimes shipmates would carouse a little too exhuberantly and end up in the Newport, RI. slammer charged with "Reveling". A local quaint archaism which means "disturbing the peace" which probably goes all the way back to colonial days.

"The Roving Kind"


She had a dark and a roving eye-eye-eye
and her hair hung down in ringelets.
She was a nice girl, a proper girl but,
one of the roving kind.

As I cruised out one evening
upon a night's career.
I spied a lofty clipper ship
and to her I did steer.
I hoisted up my sig-a-nals
which she so quickly knew.
and when she saw my bunting fly,
she immediately hove To-woo-woo.


I took her for some fish and chips
and treated her so fine.
and hardly did I realize
she was the roving kind.
I kissed her lips, I missed her lips
and found to my surprise,
she was nothing but a pirate ship
rigged up in a dis-guy-eye-ise!

So come all you good sailor men
who sail the wintry sea,
and come all you apprentice lads,
a warning take from me.
Beware of lofty clipper ships,
they'll be the ruin of you.
For 'twas there she made me
walk the plank
and pushed me under too-ooh-ooh!

She had a dark and a roving eye-eye-eye
and her hair hung down in ringelets
She was a nice girl, a proper girl,
but, one of the roving kind.

Some other Guy Mitchell songs that were standards in all the Navy hang outs were:
"My Truly, Truly Fair", "My Heart Cries For You", "Belle Belle, My Liberty Belle" and "She Wears Red Feathers" Back in the '50's owning a car was not practical on a sailor's pay. Beside the prohibitive cost, Noxubee was "always on the go" and you never knew when you'd get back, if ever.

The upshot of this was that almost everyone, (single pukes, that is, which most of us were), hung around within walking distance or a short bus ride of the fleet landing. Most crews adopted a "ship's bar" where shipmates could meet to hoist a few, hang out, run a bar tab, get messages, etc. I spent many hours bellied up to the bar nursing a draft beer and listening to the juke box in the navy hang outs along Long Wharf and Thames street in Newport. (There were at least 19 of them between Leo's outside the fleet landing gate on Long Wharf and the Snug Harbor in "Blood Alley" about half a mile away down Thames st.) I remember this because one of my goals in life was to have a small draft beer in each place from the fleet landing all the way out and back non stop. I never made it, but not for lack of trying.

Noxubee's main hangout in Newport was the "Franklin" next to the post office. A lot of the senior PO's hung out there. I couldn't get served in there because they knew I was under age. (doctored ID or not). Also, I suspect, because some of the PO's saw enough of me on the ship already. Some other Noxubee hang outs were the "Blue Moon", "Skipper's Dock", the "Oyster Bay" and Leo's where they weren't so fussy about who they'd serve.

Some more of the popular songs that got a lot of play in these places in addition to those listed above were: "You Belong to Me", sung by Jo Stafford, "Half As Much" by Rosemary Clooney, " Harbor lights" by Peggy Lee? "Good Night Irene" by the Weavers. and one of my big favorites, "Faraway Places" by Margaret Whiting. Noxubee was in the Navy Yard at Boston when "High Noon" with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly hit the theaters. The title song sung by Tex Ritter played constantly for weeks.

Some favorite Boston places were Izzy Ort's and the Hillbilly Ranch in the "Combat Zone" and the Big Potato in Charlestown close by the Navy Yard. One of Noxubee's favorite hang outs in Norfolk was the "Pearl Harbor" where we'd go to get bombed. Norfolk's juke boxes had many of the same selections as those in Newport or Boston. "Mona Lisa" sung by Nate King Cole, "Bali Hai" by Perry Como, "Some Enchanted Evening" by Ezio Pinza. "That Lucky Old Sun" by Frankie Laine, "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart". by Vera Lynn. Norfolk also had a lot of country music, but all I can remember is Hank Williams songs "Cold, Cold Heart", "Lovesick Blues" and "Sailor's Blues" which was also recorded by Ernest Tubb. "Sailor's Blues"

On my way to Italy
from the gulf of Mexico.
Riding on a tanker
feeling mighty low.
left my gal behind me,
no loving for so long.
I'm going back to Texas,
cause that's where I belong.

Well, shipmates, those are some of the tunes I remember best, give them a listen if you get a chance, I think you'll enjoy hearing them if you do. and here's a final one.------ "Now is the Hour".

Now is the hour
when we must say goodbye.
soon you'll be sailing
far across the sea.
While you're away,
Oh then, remember me.
When you return
you'll find me waiting here.

A fair wind and following seas to all---Tom