Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just An Orphan Sailor

Now that Frank Stevens has returned home to Chicago from his tour of duty in the south Pacific during World War II, and before we find out what is to happen to him next, we may as well take a look at a piece of paper that was tucked into the envelope along with the letter to his parents dated March 22, 1945. It is my guess, based on the mismatch of this paper with that of the actual letter, that perhaps his mother mistakenly tucked this one into the wrong envelope for safe-keeping.

Whatever the sequence may be, the sentiment on this page may represent Frank’s own ambivalent response to his last few years’ experience aboard that lesser-known vessel called the Landing Craft Infantry.

U.S.S. LCI (L) 707
C/o. Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California


You’ve heard of the Air Force and the Paratroops,
You’ve heard of the Army and other groups,
But think now as hard as you can,
Have you ever heard of the Amphibious man.

The Amphibious gob is of real rugged sort,
But unlike the fleet, He has no home port;
Goes where he is needed, does what he can,
This poor orphan sailor, the Amphibious man.

You might be a Battleship sailor, from a Cruiser or off a Tin Can,
Maybe fresh out of Boot training, or perhaps a second cruise man,
They pick the men at random, how else could they provide,
A few might choose the duty, but mostly they are shanghaied.

You’ve heard plenty of the navy, of ships both fore and aft,
But we’ll bet you a pretty penny you’ve never heard of Landing craft,
They’ve built a few already and are building plenty more,
For they’ve got to have the LCI to win this blasted war.

They come in with the Transports in the middle of the night,
Sail around to rendezvous, can’t even show a light,
Find their way in the darkness, and land upon the shore,
Through bombs, discharging their cargo and going back out for more.

Bringing in the first wave doesn’t end the job,
For the troops upon the beach can’t live without this gob.
He brings in reinforcements and everything they use,
His job is full of danger but he never makes the news.

For when the beach is taken and the radios start to tell,
You’ll hear of Marines and Soldiers and how they went through Hell.
You’ll thrill to front page stories of their heroic job,
But you’ll never hear a word of praise for the poor Amphibious Gob.

And when this war is over and he’s back in Civilian life,
How in hell will he explain to his kids and to his wife?
They know he was in the Navy, but he’s the subject of a gyp,
He’s just an orphan Sailor - - -, A Gob without a Ship…….

                                                            Anonymous and Unanimous


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