Here in Asheville - April '18. To see the video, click here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Recollections of Watty

Every now and then I get an interesting e-mail from someone who has stumbled across my blog.  Here's one very good example. This is a gentleman who served in the Navy with Uncle Watty.   I simply posted excerpts from his e-mails to me. 

Bob Rudasill

Approaching 85, and still going strong.

I am on the right, the salty looking one.  I was in from 1/45 to 12/47, then reentered the Navy (2/52-2/68)  This picture was taken during tour in French Morocco 53/54.  On the left is "Lefty" Styer (passed away).  Center is  Dennis Fasth (unknown).  I don't recall the name of the guy kneeling.  - Bob

I was browsing and ran across your family history site.  I knew a Major Watt Espy when I was stationed at Port Lyautey, French Morocco.  I was at Port Lyautey from 1953-1954.  We also both attended Teleman school in Bainbridge, Maryland before then.  For us lowly seaman, of which he was one, the story going around was that he had a great deal of influence due to his father.    A congressman would come to Bainbridge (40 miles north of Baltimore) to pick him up, which was quite impressive to us.   If I am speaking of someone other than identified in your site, disregard this.  But I do know he was from Alabama and his father had a great deal of influence with politicians in Washington DC.

After Teleman school in Bainbridge, I then went to NCF Port Lyautey, French (ATT) Morocco where I met Major (Watt) again. We served on the same watch and lived in the same quarters.  The story of his transfer from Naples (where he did not want to be) to Port Lyautey was legend.  Major (Watt) had quite a reputation as a person with political pull.  For instance, he was first sent to Naples, Italy and he stated to the Captain of the base that he did not want to be there but was flatly turned down.  However, during a personnel inspection an admiral was doing, he acknowledged Teleman Espy personally.  The next thing that happened was Major (Watt) was sent to NAVCOMMSTA Port Lyautey at a communications site. I made petty officer 2/C there.  Major (Watt) and I would talk, but we were not close.   

I remember him as rather eccentric but very likable.  I say eccentric not in a derogatory sense but different than the rest of us wild sailors. I was a typical wild sailor and I guess now you would classify him as a nerd.  He was NOT weird but a little eccentric.  In other words, more interested in always reading than carousing than the rest of us.  I remember after lights out, him sitting on the shower floor reading because the lights were still burning in there.  He was likable but a little remote - or maybe we were remote to him.  I did not know him well enough to get personal with him.  However, he was on the same watch section as I and we talked during the watch, but about just trivia.   He sat a TTY weather circuit and we got a kick out of his using his name "Major," which is a rank in the military.  He got attention.   

The weather at Port Lyautey (French Morocco) was very similar to San Diego and we worked watches of eve, day, mid.  Then, we'd have 56 hours off.  And, after the mid, most of us immediately headed to the beaches, but I do not recall Major (Watt) ever being there.  This time at Port Lyautey was the last contact I had with him.

I have traveled throughout Western Europe and Asia Pacific as a sailor and a civilian working for the Navy, but you and your wife have surpassed me in your travels.  The only places I have spent any length of time were Adak in the Aleutians (18 months), Shanghai, China (4 months), French Morocco (18 months), Hong Kong (6 weeks), Yokosuka, Japan (3 years).   Japan was interesting because I had Japanese working for me and I thought I was speaking Japanese very good until one of my senior workers finally got the courage to tell me "Rudy, you speak very good Japanese, but you talk like a girl."  What a blow to my ego!  Needless to say I had been taught by a girl and I did not realize there is a gender difference in the language. 

Robert (Bob) Rudasill

For photos and stories of Uncle Watty during his Navy days, click here.  And, to read of Uncle Watty's encounter with the notorious mobster Lucky Luciano in Naples, click here.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting tidbit in the MWE, Jr Archives. Thanks for sharing, Al! ~N

Anonymous said...

I am 83 and in surprisingly good health, I say surprisingly as I spent 20 years in the navy with broken service, I entered the navy in January 1945 aboard ship in Okinawa, thence to Japan, then to Shanghai in Jan. 1946 and I enjoyed that so much I shipped over into the regulars for two years, was sent to Adak in the Aleutians, got out of the navy but reentered in Feb 1952 and during 1953 was when I served with your uncle...We had communication circuits with various countries and services and I remember him using his first name to an advantage when talking to the Air Force on a weather circuit....We were friends but not close friends as I was older and I believe a little wilder in those days..I was too busy enjoying life at that time...I wish I could provide information but as I said before everyone liked him but we both danced to different drummers...Take Care, Bob (2010)