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Chapter XI Barbers Point, Hawaii

Not long after I was admitted to Tripler Army Hospital, Margaret Ann told me that her mother had called and told her that her grandfather Fahey was dying. She said that her Mom and Dad would pay for airline tickets for her and Patti if she would come home for a couple of weeks. Margaret Ann was reluctant to accept their offer because she didn t want to leave me friendless in the hospital with no one to visit me. I told her to go on home that I had made a few

friends on the hospital ward, and I would be fine.

One of my new hospital buddies was an old guy called

Grey. Papa Grey had the

bed right next to mine. He had painted for the Navy for several years and was in the process of dying from lead poisoning. The poor old guy s hands were all twisted so bad that he could t hold anything. Once a month his wife would visit him with his pension check. She would hold the pen with him and together they would scribble something that passed for a signature. Papa Grey s hands were so bad that someone had to spoon feed him. Keeping a close eye on the Hospital Corpsman that normally fed him, Papa Grey noticed that the Corpsman would empty a bed pan and then bring Papa Grey his food tray without stopping to wash his hands. Papa Grey asked me if I would replace the Corpsman as his designated feeder. In addition to feeding him, I also filled out his menu for the following day. Because he was dying, the doctor ordered a special menu for him featuring a lot of goodies not available on my menu. All of his meals were

made up in the furloughed home

Officer s Mess.

About a week before

in compliance with his wishes.

Papa Grey

they released me, Papa wanted to die at home.



The hospital released me after a 45­day stay. Margaret and Patti were still visiting in California. I drove out to Makalualei to check on our Quonset hut and make sure it was still standing. It was, but I found it to be a very lonely place without Margaret Ann and Patti. I splurged on a long distance telephone call, and asked them to come back to Hawaii as soon as possible.


While waiting on Margaret Ann and Patti to return to Hawaii, it occurred to me that I had t heard from the Navy Housing Office in a long time. I gave them a call and asked them where we stood on their list. They told me that we had worked our way to the top of the list but our name was removed because they had t heard from me in awhile. They assumed that we had found adequate housing in the private sector. I told them that the housing that we had found was anything but adequate so they returned our name to the top of the list. Then they told me that they had a two bedroom duplex available and we could move into as soon as we wanted. It was cheaper, nicer and right next to the base. We were thrilled with our new home.


As I was checking back into VR­21 from the hospital, I ran into an old officer friend from

VR­5 Detachment, San Diego. He remembered me as the sailor who the passengers departing from NAS North Island. When we last

gave pre­flight briefings to saw each other, I was an

Airman (pay grade E­3) and now I was a Petty Officer Second Class (pay grade E­5). spending almost four years as an Airman, I had earned 2 promotions in a little over two

After years.

My old friend had also received a couple of promotions during these years and was now Lieutenant Commander and was the Education Officer for VR­21. He told me that VR­

a s

Commanding Officer had been transferred to VR­21 from the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and he


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