Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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Princeton Welcomes You

By: ET1 William Lord USN/USNR (ret) 


I had something bazaar happen to me when arriving in Long Beach to report aboard the USS Princeton LPH-5 for the first time after ending my duty at the USNS Subic Bay in the Philippians in 1961.

It was late at night and I was due to be aboard the Princeton by 2400 hrs.  I was standing on a corner on Ocean Blvd trying to decide if I should take a cab out to Terminal Island where my ship was tied up when all of the sudden I heard the screeching of brakes and a loud thump and a shoe came flying through the air and almost hit me in the head.

I turned and saw a vehicle stopped in the intersection and several feet in front of the car was an older guy lying on the street.

The person lying on the street had on old dirty clothes and I thought to myself a bum (as homeless people were referred to back then).

I stayed on the corner and observed the action until they carried the person who was struck by the car away in an ambulance and the police were finished with the young driver of the car and made my way to Terminal Island and reported aboard the ship.

After the Duty Officer had checked me in I was taken to temporary berthing to get a good night’s sleep.  

The next morning after breakfast I went to personnel to be assigned to my new job. 

I was assigned to 3rd Division (deck force) which was the division responsible for maintaining the after part of the ship.

I was escorted there by someone in Personnel and introduced to my Division Officer and later taken to my work spaces to meet the people I would be working for and with.

To my surprise one of the Petty Officers a third class Boatswains Mate was the driver of the car I had seen the night before in Long Beach.

I later found out the victim who was struck by the car had died and the BM3 went through all sorts of legal tape before the issue was finally dropped.

I always thought this was almost like Twilight Zone.  What are the odds that the first person you would encounter from the ship you were reporting to which had a ships company of about 1200 people would be one of the people you were going to be working with?

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