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By Robert Roberts

Robert J. Roberts served as a sergeant first class as a Survey Chief of Party with the 937th Field Artillery Battalion from January 1951-April 1952

A troop ship is not the ideal way to travel:

Smelly bodies stacked six high

On canvas beds just high enough To get in while lying down;

Two meals a day at stand-up tables Where you were lucky if your mess-mate (That’s sailor talk, they told us) Doesn’t throw up in his tray From seasickness (we’re not sailors);

Feeling your own gorge rise And running up the stairs (called, strangely, ladders) To get out on deck for fresh air;

Pulling KP, washing trays in steamy GI cans While your buddies threw up in the can next to you

(A lot of throwing-up went on) While you laughed at them You HAD to laugh or join them;

But the worst thing was the boredom

Read until your eyes hurt,

Walk the deck, nap, Play poker, canasta, cribbage,

Walk the deck, etc., etc. Did you ever spend fifteen days doing Absolutely nothing?

But then, we were near San Francisco. We saw the cloud-like shoreline, Then the coast itself, Then San Francisco, and finally

The Golden Gate Bridge.

Everyone was on deck When we went under the bridge And a cheer erupted spontaneously From a thousand throats.

We suddenly knew We had survived the war And we were home.

Sergeant First Class Robert J. Roberts

Headquarters Battery 937th Field Artillery Battalion

Unites States Army

Courtesy of

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