Anything for a Shipmate

By Don Krautter, Irex shipmate 1945–1946

My good friend Thomas Michael Kiely, Jr., and I went fran the Porpoise to the Irex to help slip it in the water at Portsmouth, NH, and we both left the Irex on 22 March 1946.

Soon after the Irex ccnmissioning, I introduced Tom Kiely to a very beautiful former classmate of mine. He was shy of writing letters to his new love and asked me if I would take on the job for him. As I was real fond of the young lady myself, I gave the work my very best effort; all letters signed “With Love—Tom”.

By this time, I had been busted back rom TM3/c (Porpoise) to Seaman First and was standing lookout and helm watches again. Lieutenant “Rock” Armour had been designated to censor mail, and in the middle of a black night, I heard him chuckling below me. It did not seen to me a night for laughter. We were pointed into gale force winds. The boat was plunging to the base of the bridge. I called down to him “Rock, what's so damn enjoyable down there?” Tons of water were passing over him when the bow came into the wind—and he replied, “Don, those are sure good love letters you write for Tom Kiely!”

You probably know how close we came to losing the Irex in deep water off Guantanamo Bay. Tom Kiely was the only guy not aboard … he was in Miami—playing house.

A life can hang by a hair, or a letter of love …

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