Theophilous Meatyard III
Since May 22, 2016

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You can go to the Motion Models web site, scroll down the left side and click on "destroyer escort models." Then scroll down to DE-1022 USS Lester. You'll see pictures of the model of the ship I was on (home port Naples, Italy). The bottom right photo shows the plaques. At the bottom of the plaque in the middle, it says "We Chase Russians". That stems from memories when we were temporarily docked with our stern to the dock and were having some of our ITAS (itinerant towed array system) equipment (cable) changed out. I was standing there with a fellow radioman (Charles Charles Charles III, no less) and saw a group of people nearby. After a short while, one man from the group walked over to us and asked, in a thick German accent, "Vat do you do? Are you laying cable?" Aware that was classified information, I said, "We chase Russians." Charlie laughed and laughed as the German guy went back to his group and told them what I said.

I recently published a book (about my father’s overseas travel during the opening months of World War II) and my son has been urging me to write a book about my experiences in the Med. We were in the Med for two years and were out to sea 75% of the time (three weeks out and one week in, with a skeleton crew on duty in port, which is why we got to see a lot of Roman ruins).

An example of experiences in the Med: We looked for Soviet subs (ASW) and once were following a sub when a big Soviet cruiser came alongside of us, on our left (port side). Then the sub we were following, which was submerged, turned to port, so obviously we couldn’t turn the same way because we’d hit the cruiser. Then I heard the jet turbine revving up (drank jp-5 fuel). All of a sudden, the turbine kicked into gear and we could actually feel the boat plane upward in the front. We immediately turned hard to starboard, turning behind the cruiser and then we resumed following the sub.

The last I saw of the cruiser, it was pretty much dead in the water. It started to turn to starboard (like we had), then when their captain realized what was happening, the cruiser tried to turn to port. Everyone on our ship on deck was cheering.

As a radioman (which is now an IT rating), I was assigned to typing up and transmitting encrypted enemy sighting reports during general quarters (paper tape fed to computers). After three or four times, the captain came down to the radio shack during general quarters and stood right behind me as I was typing and sending out enemy sighting reports. After about the fourth time when I finished, the lead radioman took the captain aside and I heard him say, "This isn't helping." I heard the captain say, "I'm just seeing how it's done." The captain didn't come down to the radio room after that.

We saw a black Scottish Terrier running along the deck on one of the Soviet ships. At another time, when near a shallow anchorage in the Med, we saw a Soviet sub stop near a large Soviet surface ship that was anchored. A hatch on the sub opened and smoke came out of it. The sub crew immediately transferred to the surface ship.