National Geographic : 1960 May
HS EKTACHROMESBY GILBERTM. GROSVENOR(OPPOSITE) AND THOMASNEBBIA, NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF © N.G .S . vast striking power can wage war hot or cold, atomic or conventional. Said Greece's former Foreign Minister Panayiotis Pipinelis of this deterrent force, "In the powerful gray diplo mats of the Sixth Fleet, we see the guarantee of small peoples' independence." Another fleet mission is frequent Mediter ranean port calls. Parties are held aboard for underprivileged children, sports between fleet and local teams are arranged, and sailors worship ashore in churches of their faith. The Friendly Fleet roves the Mediterra nean, ready to assist anyone. When a dis astrous earthquake rocked Greece a few years ago, the Sixth rushed to the rescue with doc tors, food, and medicines. Two years ago when a four-year-old boy lay seriously ill on a tiny Greek island, a U. S. destroyer brought him to Rhodes, where a private plane could take him to Athens for treatment. Today he lives. In Villefranche a fire threatened French homes. The Des Moines dispatched more than 200 well-equipped men to help extinguish the blaze. They saved the homes. As the huge Essex steamed toward Tunis with the Des Moines and the President, we witnessed a routine rescue. One of the Greek fishermen clustered around us thought our big ship would ram his rowboat. He dived over board. An Essex helicopter plucked him from the sea, and Navy doctors fed him brandy before a second helicopter flew him home. We continued to Tunis, where Mr. Eisen hower interrupted his rest for a brief visit. The next day he landed at Toulon, France, where he entrained for Paris and the Western Summit talks with French President Charles de Gaulle and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (opposite). Des Moines and Essex were again free to prowl the Mediterranean, where the Navy lives by President Theodore Roosevelt's say ing: "Speak softly and carry a big stick."