Posted by: SJS | January 25, 2012

Hammock time on Samar – a candid photo

      After seeing a small ad I had placed in the All Hands newsletter published by PT Boats, Inc.,  seeking information about my father,  Tom Saffles called me in October of 2010.  As I quickly discovered in that remarkable phone conversation we shared, Tom was my father’s closest friend in the Navy.  He had been to visit my father’s family in 1945 during a brief furlough they had before shipping out to the South Pacific.   The details of Tom’s trip to Philadelphia that year were as clear in his memory as if the visit had happened the week before. 

     Although they lost contact shortly after the war, Tom’s memories of my father were fresh and vivid.  He was pleased to tell me that he even had some pictures of Red that had only recently been rediscovered in his house.  “I got a picture of your daddy sleeping in a hammock; he was taking a nap in the day time,” he told me with a huge laugh.  “He never knew I snapped it,”  Tom said.  He promised to send copies of the pictures. 

Red asleep in hammock

Red sleeps in a hammock on Samar (his head is to the left)

     A few days later, a manilla envelope with a large Alabama postmark arrived in the mail.  And there it was,  a photo of Red sleeping peacefully, tucked in a hammock somewhere on Samar in 1945. 

     More amazing than the photo is the connection that I how have with Tom Saffles who was my father’s best buddy from his PT days and his beautiful family in Alabama.  I now talk regularly by phone with a man who my father last saw several years before I was born.  The bonds forged on those PT boats now reach the second and third generations of those distinguished sailors who did so much to contribute to America’s success in WWII.

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