posted on March 01, 2011 13:54
Thanks to former VC-66 pilot DeLoach Cope for submitting the following sea story:
When VC-66 moved from Barking Sands on Kauai to Ford Island on Oahu, I found a good friend stationed there assigned to CASU 1. CASU 1 was in charge of transportation – had control of all types of airplanes as well as cars, jeeps, and other forms of transportation.
My friend was from South Louisiana named Jimmy Lee Fontenot. We started our Navy training together in New Orleans, then on to Corpus Christi. I had not seen him in about a year, so we had a lot of catching up to do.
After meeting Jimmy Lee, I ran into my roommate (from the fighter training unit Naval Air Training Center, Kingsville, TX.), Royce Weldon Watson, we graduated together. He went to the Marines and I stayed in the Navy.
Watson was in the Marine Squadron that flew into the Typhoon. Many lost their lives, including the Skipper. Watson landed in the water and others joined him. They were in the life boat and held to each other by hand for over a day. They could not tie together by rope because the waves were so big it would have torn the boats apart. They were rescued by a PBY that landed with the waves so high that it tore off one of his engines’. He still was able to maneuver the plane enough to pick up all of the men in that group. Later that day a DDE (destroyer escort) came to the rescue and picked up all and sunk the PBY.
Watson and I both had a few days off and wanted to see Honolulu so we called upon Jimmy Lee to furnish us with something to ride in. He did and it was a 1929 Chevrolet 4 door touring sedan. It was completely done over, with no cover, painted Navy Blue with S-13 painted in white on the front door on each side of the car. He forgot to tell us that S-13 had been in trouble with the Honolulu Cops—Royce Weldon and I found out about that when we were touring the city. We were stopped every time a cop saw us. After we paid a few fines we were able to get things straight – the girl in the office helped us with the cops and they left us alone.
I had been given a name and number to call when I reached Honolulu by someone from Kauai. When I called, we were invited to come out to the house for a visit. The place was 422 Judd street and it turned out to be the place where the last of the Hawaiian Royal Family lived. We packed our gear for a day or so visit and caught a cab to the home. We were greeted by the wife of Prince Edward D. Kawananakoa, (U.S. Coast Guard) who was at sea. Before she married the prince she was married to Lindsay Alton Faye and lived on Kauai. Faye was the General Manager of Kekaha Sugar Company and part owner of the Waimea Sugar Co. She was the mother of three girls and one boy. I knew them on Kauai.
We were shown to the place where we were to sleep. It was a huge room with tall ceiling and a bed big enough for 5 people to sleep with room to spare.
It was a huge three story home with a elevator in the home. After being shown our way around we were greeted by Princess Abigail Kawananakoa and were introduced to her daughters Poomaikelani 18 yrs old and Ester Kapiolani 16 yrs old. Their brother Edward A. was away at school, he was 20 yrs old.
Abigail was married to an Englishman, Andrew Anderson Lambert, the father of the three children. They all took the name of Kawananakoa. Abigail was devorced and lived there with her mother Abigail Campbell Kawananakoa
The Estate covered several acres, with a pasture and a small stable for the horses, and was well maintained. The girls enjoyed riding and swimming in the swimming pool behind the home. We were given swimming trunks so that we could use the pool and swim with the girls.
On the 2nd day Princes Abigail Campbell called R.W. and me to come in and talk to her. She was a huge lady, very tall and probably weighted over 250 lbs. That was the reason for the elevator. She said “Boys, I need you to help me tonight. I have invited two gentlemen from the service to dine with me tonight, its war time and I don’t have the servants to handle this for me – they are away at war. I will have the cook to furnish you with aprons for the occasion."
After a day of pleasure, we came to the kitchen and the cook was a Japanese lady who had our aprons ready. She told us she would call us when she was ready for us.
The two guests turned out to be the General of the Army in charge of the Air Corps of the Pacific and the Navy Admiral in charge of the Pacific! When dinner was ready R.W and I served properly. We cleaned up the table and then served the desert. When that was over the Princess called us into the dinning room and told us to take off our aprons and join them. She introduced us to her guests and told us to be seated.
The Admiral would tell a joke and everybody would laugh—the Princess was very, very hard of hearing. The joke would have to be retold in a very loud voice so that the Princess could hear and everyone would laugh again. This went on til time came for the guests to leave. The Princess thanked us and we went to bed.
The next day is one neither R.W. nor I will ever forget. Princess Kapiolani’s beau came. His name was Harry Field, a professional football player, a big man and a nice person and full of himself.
We visited most of the day. Late that afternoon he and Kapiolanileft to go to the city. At bed time R.W. and I went to bed in that huge bed and were asleep. At about 3 o’clock AM Harry Field and Kapiolani returned and Harry came into our bed room and picked up R.W. with one hand and me with the other hand and carried us out and threw us in the swimming pool.
Then Harry poured us a drink of okolehou (Hawaii moon-shine). He had already made a fire in the cooking grill and was cooking a big hunk of meat. He looked at us, called us haoles’ (caucasians) and said I am going to make kama’ainas (Hawaiians) out of you tonight.
After drinking okolehou and feasting on many things that I had never tasted before along with some fine meat and swimming in the swimming pool until early morning, Harry finally decided that we were now kama’ainas . He then presented each of us with a beautiful mu’u mu’u (a cut off or short loose gown) that I kept and at the end of the war was able to show it off.
After lunch R.W and I went back to our squadrons and back to the reality of the War.