RCU Forums - View Single Post - S.S. United States
View Single Post
Old 06-04-2017, 08:51 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

About 1966...we got orders to report back to America from Germany. Transportation would be by military transport ship...except all of the military ships had been put into service for Viet Nam. We got stuck in Bremerhaven, Germany with no place to live and no transportation back to America. We went shopping for camping gear and got a huge German house tent with all of the goodies. Then we set up camp in a campground on the water near the harbor. My Dad ..U.S. Army Master Sergeant..had to check in with the military liaison at the harbor every day looking for transportation to America. After a couple of months, he came back with our new travel orders. "report to pier # **"

We packed up the station wagon and drove to the harbor to find out what kind of ship we were going to be on. My Dad was not very optimistic. He kept saying "it'll only be a couple of weeks on the ship". There was an MP stationed in a little kiosk at the pier so my Dad checked in there. When he came back, he was grinning this huge grin. He told my Mom "we're on that one" and pointed at the United States. He parked the car where they told him to and they just hoisted the whole thing up with all of our stuff packed inside.

That ship was humongous! Saying it was big is like saying the Moon is far away. It had lots of swimming pools that I practically lived in and dining halls that were like stadiums. We left Bremerhaven and stopped in London for a day, then across the Atlantic for New York Harbor. One nite at the dining hall, my Mom and Dad got into a discussion over whether that was James Bond or not. He is..He is not, etc,. etc. I got up and walked over to his table and asked him Are you James Bond? He said Yes boy. I am James Bond 007. I told my Dad that he was right. They sent me back to get his autograph. He signed James Bond 007 Sean Connery with the date on one of those super fancy but still paper napkins with ship logo on it. I still have it stashed away someplace.

That was one of two serious memories about that ship. The other was horrible. My Mom and Dad went to a formal dinner one night. My brother and I were Army brats, world travelers and a Hillbillies son so we were ok to be left alone in the cabin with the standard warning. (You leave this cabin and I'll beat you stupid and then throw you overboard!) My brother and I had these neat bunks that folded out of the wall that we slept on. When not in use, they folded up flush with the wall. We were playing King of The Hill and he was on the top bunk. In trying to get up there, I grabbed this handle that stuck out of the wall. The bunks folded into the wall and my brother was gone! I could hear him screaming. I tried to get the bunk back out of the wall but couldn't. I decided that this was an emergency and I needed my Dad so I took off looking for him. How far could it be to the formal dining room? They ate dinner and danced for a while and then headed back to the cabin. On the way, they found me sitting on the stairs crying that the wall ate my brother. Yeah, he lived but had a touch of Claustrophobia after that. Heh heh.

We had two big German Shepherd dogs that we had bought in Germany with us. That ship had a very nice complete kennel set up on board. That ship was like a small city. On a military transport ship, they would have had to have been stuck in little cages for the entire sloooow trip.

The Captain of the ship must have thought the Viet Cong were going to fire a torpedo at him so he kept the ship running fast all of the way to New York. We made it in three and a half days. That was a speed record for a passenger ship at that time but I don't know if it still stands. They actually had lifeboat drills on one day. They made us all put our life jackets on and stand by our assigned lifeboat. In New York, they just set our car down onto the dock and we drove away.

Sorry, I don't have any specs or anything about the ship, just my personal memories. Hope it helps.