Just because I took 260 photos of the battlefield and monuments, I thought it might be nice to include one, so enjoy. I have more on Facebook and if anyone wants to see them just contact me for the link or friend me.
Things with the project have been quiet for a while, but there has been some recent and encouraging “activity”, so to speak. Some spikes in hits on the website had me happily flummoxed and I believe now I know the cause of said spikes. At present I can't reveal anything at the risk of having to eat my words or back track later if nothing happens. I can just say that an email received over the weekend gives me hope that something amazing may be in the works. It would be an honor to reveal awesome news here on the blog, and I have my fingers crossed that the chance for this will come. Some very accomplished people have taken this project to heart, and I can't express enough how much this means to me. In time, I hope all of this proves fruitful for them and is worth the time and effort they have invested.
In early May of 1943, Gus Wellings was mostly recovered from a bout of the tropical flu that had his men down and out. He also got a very nice surprise. He was fortunate enough that one of his brothers was stationed on an island nearby, and for the first time he was able to pay a visit to the ship and spend some time together:
This afternoon I was sleeping peacefully when I heard a loud voice “Get up, do you want to sleep all day”
opening one eye slowly then both eyes widely here was Al. He had just flown in from his base on an inspection trip which may last quite some time. Needless to say a huge session began immediately over two cups of coffee. The time was 1545. He stayed until after dinner – raining so no movies on deck – and then returned to the tender where he will make his headquarters.
It was the first time I had seen him since the Strong passed through his home port on the way out here. I just
didn't have any luck getting the ship down his way. He looks grand - putting on extra weight. I sent to sick bay and got our bathroom scales after we plus Fred had a discussion of weight. I told them our scales were wrong because I weigh
myself when I had my cold. However they both swore the scales were right after weighing themselves. Al weighed 192 in uniform with heavy Army shoes, Fred 144 and your little thin ….....(bottom of page cut off) 180 lbs. Boy oh boy! I
immediately decided to go on a diet of course. I have had no exercise the past week but one doesn't put on 10 lbs in a week. Guess I will have to start working. It wasn't beer because I haven't been to the club for ten days. Sooo
– I am on a diet and no fooling.”
Al was able to hang around for a couple of days in this May 4th letter, as Gus laments his weight:
“Al has been aboard each night for dinner and the movies. It surely is good to see him again. He has a big job
starting another unit up here but he loves it. The rascal is getting fat on it. Incidentally your little boy is on a diet to reduce at least 5-7 lbs. “
Al's being close by becomes important to Gus as July grows near. When you are sick or wounded it's nice to
have family around.