A ships muster was being called for 01:00 because of one man being picked up by one of the destroyers that was in the screen. It seems as the ship directly behind us had picked up a man that was franticly waving his small flashlight that he wore around his neck on a chain. He had been working on a mad boom on one of the S2F aircraft at the extreme end of the flightdeck and had slipped over the deck and fallen into the sea. About a half-hour back the destroyer watch spotted him in the waves, the sea was running about 4 to 6 feet that night and this was one lucky mate indeed. To make the story a bit shorter the skipper of the can would not give his name but asked that we tell him the man's name hence the muster. I don't recall his name, but I do remember saying that it would make one heck of an Eveready battery advertisement. (You all remember those advertisements don't you?) You know the chances of that destroyer being in a position to spot him was not good as the destroyers change position and coarse with the carrier the gap is really wide. I bet he thanks GOD every day for that ship being there. Imagine falling off that flight deck into the churning screw wash of the water. You trying to get your breath up to yell and by the time you do get the water out of your mouth and get stable so that you can call, the ship has moved off into the night.
You are alone now. Then after what seems like hours you see a small light popping up from a distance in the sea, knowing that if this light you see coming at you does not see you, Then you will most likely die alone here in the water. Imagine the fright of that. Being in the sea in the dark with just one chance that a ship will see you before they move on. What if he didn't have that small-chained flashlight?
Ah, but he did! His Guardian Angel was on the job. (What a flashlight battery commercial that would have made.) I have often wondered what happened to that man, where he is what he had become.
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