When Frank Stevens received his orders on April 18, 1944, while stationed at the Naval Operating Base on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, there was one additional provision: he was allowed thirty days to return home. There, on the orders, was the old, familiar address posted—home of his parents, William and Agnes Tully Stevens, in Chicago.
It was good that he had this time to return home. The leave, evidently part of policy at the time, allowed Frank to spend some time with his dad, who was already manifesting some of the health problems that eventually claimed his life. Of course, it was also an opportunity for Will and Agnes to be proud of their son’s accomplishments, and to have the handsome young man in uniform there to be the center of attention at family gatherings and visits with old friends.
But there was that one, dangling, phrase in the orders that would hang over them not only during those thirty days, but for the remainder of his tour of duty: “for further assignment by the Commander Service Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet.”