LOUIS C. JOHNSON
I went aboard the des moines in 1954 i always said to myself, what a large ship.the deck so clean and beautiful.i made my first cruise up to annapolis, md,to pick up the midshipmens for a training cruise to cuba,and spain.that was my first cruise aboard any type of ship.it was a great cruise.the des moines was nick named daisy mae. The daisy was always moving from port to port during good will tours all over europe and the north atlantic. I like to say i was on a three and a half year vacation.there were some great ports in spain,sweden,greece,portugal,especially lisbon.you know i really enjoyed my three plus years tour aboard the daisy mae,and one of the proudest days that i ever had concerning her happened in 1956.i can't remember the date or day,but the ship had just returned from a med. Cruise and docked in norfolk,va.
I got a call from home that my brother had passed.i had to take an emergency leave to attend the funeral. The ship was scheduled to go to hoboken, n.j. which was a few miles from my home town.after the funeral, i went to meet the ship in hoboken because i needed to get paid.when i got to the pier there were a few people there waiting for the ship to dock.then there were a lot of people.every one was excited to see this war ship.i had on my dress white uniform, and it was sparkling white. My black shoes shined to the max.soon you could see this beautiful ship gleaming on the hudson river. Standing there,it hit me, this is my ship,my home,my job coming down the hudson and every one was asking me questions about her.i was the only sailor on the pier that knew any thing about this heavy cruiser.man didn't she look great with about six tug boats guiding her to her assigned pier .after she docked and the gain plank was in place with every one on the dock watching i made my move up the plank.as i reached the top of the ladder i saluted the flag,the officer of the day and requested permission to come aboard. Permission granted, the o. D.said.with that, a loud cheer and hand clapping was heard from the many people that had formed on the dock.i took off my white cap and waved to the crowd and they cheered some more.i felt great as i went below deck.i was sad because i had lost my brother,but i felt real proud that those people had shown me and my ship a great respect.