We were at anchor in Buckner Bay, and a couple officers from the Vireo came aboard at noon. While they were aboard they switched the plate that said WARDROOM for one that said CLOWN LOCKER. They later claimed they had come aboard on mid-watch, when Westsmith & I had the bridge and Palmer had the engine room. It wasnt true, and it made us look bad, so we decided to get even. We conspired all the way home and hatched a plan.
The Exec (Whaley?) told us that if we were successful we each got a day special liberty, but if we failed, he knew nothing.
Friday, about 2100, we struck. We were in India Basin, and they were at a pier on the main channel, stern to the channel where all the liberty boats went by. We took a life raft, with a little outboard, a bucket each of haze gray and deck gray, and a brush. We putted to within about 100 yards, then paddled in under the stern, WHILE THEY WERE SHOWING A MOVIE ON THE FANTAIL, painted out VIREO, & painted CLOWN in foot-high letters.
Sunday, we came back and took pictures.
The next week as soon as the pictures were ready, Captain Freeman called their skipper, put a picture under the plate they had left, and asked if he wanted it back. When he grabbed the plate and found the picture, he about shit. He wanted to know exactly when it was done so he could court-martial the watch, Freeman wouldnt tell them.
He was a good man.
As told by Jeff Reese SM3 1959-1961
AND HERE IT IS!!!!!!!!! enough said! (Thanks! Jeff Reese)