National Geographic : 1965 Feb
Then I spied what was behind it: the muzzle of a guerrilla's gun, poking at us from a foxhole dug into the bank (page 175). The guerrilla turned out to be a Marine dressed in Oriental clothes. The patrol and I continued-theoretically wiped out. Now the Marine next to the patrol leader slipped on the jungle path. The sergeant grabbed him and pointed wordlessly to a camou flaged hole he had just missed. On a real patrol, it might well have been lined with razor-sharp bamboo stakes. On we went, the patrol stealthily blending into the jungle, its mem bers alert to so much as the snapping of a twig. All the while I kept an eye out for the habu, a poisonous pit viper at home there on the ground, in the water, or in foliage overhead. Finally we found ourselves blocked by an almost vertical cliff at least 50 feet high. Using ropes, the Marines scaled it. But I was a weary senior citizen, not a Marine. Major Cooper, smil ing, mercifully showed me a hidden path around the cliff. Fleets Replenish Stores Under Way Marines, submariners, the men of the destroyers whose ships know every mood of the sea-all think their particular branch of service is best. But taken as a whole, the Navy I saw proved much the same everywhere. One thing, however, sets the two overseas fleets apart: The Sixth has no shore bases. It patrols the underside of Europe constantly as a transient organization, mobile and self-sustaining, making several complete trips around the Mediterranean each year. Thanks to its service force of fuel tankers and repair, ammunition, supply, and provision vessels, the Sixth can stay at sea indefinitely. Its support comes from the Atlantic Fleet on the east coast, with which its men and ships rotate every four to six months. The Seventh, on the other hand, has many shore bases, shipyards, and dry docks. Its ships undergo major repairs without returning to the United States. Some 55,000 Japanese work on our vessels at the great naval bases of Yokosuka and Sasebo. Seaplanes of the Seventh's patrol squadrons, similarly, are overhauled at Japanese aircraft plants. "Repairs are made in less time and at considerably less cost than they would be if sent back to the United States," said Vice Adm. Paul D. Stroop, Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet. All our fleets have one outstanding characteristic: long, sustained, mobile staying power. They can be completely independent of over seas bases on foreign soil. Underway replenishment, a Navy system Departing Midway at dawn, a radar equipped Lockheed C-121K Warning Star heads toward the Aleutians to scout unidentified missiles or planes. Phantom II jets in the North Pacific escort a Russian Badger long-range photo-reconnaissance plane as it flies near the carrier Kitty Hawk. On a Pacific tour in 1963, James H. Wakelin, Jr., then Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development, boards the Constellation with Adm. Thomas H. Moorer. Dr. Wakelin serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society.