Excerpt from Love’s Amazing Grace
“That little tail hook is supposed to slow your jet and help it stop, but you must have lost it in combat.”
“Don’t know. Only know it was gone,” Jack chuckled.
“Your bomber ran smack-dad into all the docked planes before it stopped and you couldn’t aim it any other direction. What an explosion! Started several planes on fire, including yours. Made Captain Buckmaster a little upset.”
“More than a little upset,” Jack slapped his knee. “Thought I was headed straight into the ocean.”
“You’re lucky we got you out in time. You could have been burnt to a crisp.”
Jack suddenly turned somber, his quirky grin gone. “Yeah. I know.”
“It had to be really scary,” said one of the guys. “Bombs exploding and planes shooting at you.”
Both men nodded. “We thought we were going to die out there,” Jack admitted.
“The Yorktown sat dead in the water after being bombed twice by the Japs. It was taking on water fast.”
“And then it was bombed a third time. Somehow it seemed to right itself again and stabilize. Tink and I rushed below deck to see if we could fix things,” said Guy.
“Something eerie about a dead ship,” Jack mused. “All it can do is drift like a ghost ship.
Captain Buckmaster told us to prepare to abandon ship. Sailors began to bail by the dozens—some before getting their life vests on—as bullets bombarded us. Yeah. It was real scary.” Jack squeezed his eyes closed as he recalled the infamous day. Guy picked up the story.
“Tink and I checked the gaping hole the bombs had made. Engines were beyond repair, and Tink was about to give up. He went to the boiler room. It wasn’t more than two minutes that the third bomb was dropped on the Yorktown. Shrapnel exploded everywhere. I heard Tink scream. I ran and found him with metal in his chest and head. He was out of his mind with pain, said he couldn’t see. I moved him to a safer place and ran to find bandages.”
“Cap thought everyone had gotten off the ship. The sea was full of men.”
“Were there sharks in the water?”
“Oh, yeah. Not only sharks, but subs below us. Torpedoes, too. Oil and fuel poured into the ocean from our damaged ship, and we gulped that salty-oily mix. Almost drowned us.”
“Were you rescued?” asked a wide-eyed kid as he slurped his soda.
The men all erupted in laughter.
“Guess you’ll have to wait until next time to hear the rest of the story, kid.” Guy gave a hearty laugh. “Getting late. Gotta work tomorrow.”
“Good one, Sport. Keep ‘em guessin’.” Jack hooted as he rose from the table. “Hey, I got this.” He swiped up the bill. “I’ll go pay and see if I can hit it off with little ‘Red.’” Jack eyed the waitress and licked his lips.
“Oh, no you don’t. This one’s mine,” Guy grabbed the bill from his hand. “And you leave that one alone,” he nodded at the redhead.