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COMMANDER SOUTH ATLANTIC FORCE AT RECIFE - COMMANDER SOUTH ATLANTIC

28)SHORE ACTIVITY IN 1943


This year saw expansion on land carried beyond any limits that would have been deemed possible a short time before. In January, all shore facilities had been small. Twelve months later several of them had grown to substantial proportions, and others had sprung from virtually nothing into sizeable activities. The transfer of all Naval Observers to the Commander South Atlantic Force included the one at Recife. The establishments there now became a Naval Facility, with Captain Hodgman in charge as Commandant. At the beginning of the year in Recife, the Admiral, his staff, the Naval Observer's office, and attendant activities, moved into the new Administration Building in the business heart of the city. To accommodate increasing sore personnel, which had to be maintained near the dock, work soon started on what became known as Camp Ingram.


Plans for Camp Ingram had been laid in October, 1942, and originally called for one BOQ, three enlisted men's barracks, and the necessary galley facilities. It soon became evident, however, that the camp must be built on a much larger scale. Plans accordingly were changed, and what had been originally designed for about 500 men ultimately housed over 1000. The ground was procured from the local dock company, and lay in the waterfront area of Recife Island, just across the road from Armazens 5 and 6. Since the land had originally been used as a garbage dump by the Brazilians, the first step had to be filling in, a work which began in January, 1943. By the middle of May the Construction program had been substantially completed, but the last building was not finished until mid-October. The completed camp consisted of 12 barracks, including one for the Chief Petty Officers and another for the Fourth Fleet Band.


The buildings were all constructed according to a standard architectural type of brick and tile, designed especially for tropical housing. Perhaps the central feature of the camp was the Recreation Hall, which had facilities for a pool, ping pong, and other indoor games; a library, a bar, a ship's service store, and a theater, which could be quickly transformed into a chapel for religious services. The Recreation Hall also furnished offices for the Chaplains, and contained a barber shop employing Brazilian barbers, and an athletic gear locker.


Outdoor recreational facilities consisted of a boxing ring; courts for basketball, volleyball, and tennis; horseshoe pits; and a softball diamond located outside the camp, but within a short distance. Camp Ingram was placed in charge of Lieutenant R. B. Stocking, who reported in Recife early in February. Lieutenant Stocking's civilian background as a hotel executive fitted him for this type of responsibility. His executive officer was first Ensign D. Frost, and, upon the latter's detachment, Lieutenant (jg), later Lieutenant, S. J. Wornom. Lieutenant R. M. Greenberg became Camp Medical Officer.


In addition to housing a small Ship's Company, Camp Ingram provided quarters for the band, the men from nearby DesRep 12, the crews of the Admiral's Yachts Perseverance and Big Pebble, and the Yeoman and Storekeepers who worked in the Administration Building.


During Camp Ingram's early days the BOQ was full. However, in July, the officers were placed on subsistence, and therefore the BOQ was taken over by various training activities, only a few beds for transient officers being kept. At the end of the year this feature was abolished. Sleeping quarters thereafter existed only for various duty officers. New officers, upon reporting in Recife, had to shift for themselves from the day of arrival. Many of the permanent ones lived at the various hotels, others clubbed together and rented houses, either in the city or at the Boa Viagem and Olinda beaches. Much care was taken at Camp Ingram to give the grounds an attractive aspect. Grass, plants, and flowers were cultivated by hired Brazilian gardeners, and little by little the place was "dressed up". Enlisted men with a flair for art took pride and pleasure in beautifying the Recreation Hall, galley and library. The regular use of the theater as a moving picture hall proved a godsend, and soon two feature pictures were being shown nightly, interspersed with an occasional USO traveling unit, and now and then shows produced by the men themselves.


By the end of the year, Camp Ingram had two Chaplains, a Catholic and a Protestant, who spread their activities and covered other nearby activities as well. It also had a Recreation and Welfare Officer, who took care of amusements and athletics, arranged parties and dances, and managed one boxing show a month. The welfare type of activity received much help from the generous contributions of the American colony in Brazil. Hand in hand with the development of Camp Ingram went that of DesRep 12, the Destroyer Repair Unit, located close by. In March Lieutenant (jg) G. H. Boyd reported as Officer-in-Charge of this activity. It was a land based organization. opposite dock gate number 6. Lieutenant Boyd's assignment was to establish DesRep 12, for the purpose of making voyage repairs to merchant vessels, and keeping in condition the escort ships operating in he area. Within a short time enlisted personnel, numbering 26, comprising various ratings, reported from the Patoka.


At first the only existing building was the machine shop, and this had not been completed. Machinery and materials came in fast, and had to be stored on another building, which after reconditioning became the carpenter shop. When heavy machinery arrived, the first building was in shape to permit its installation.During April and May, 1943, other DesRep officers and enlisted personnel arrived. The new officers then took over the divisional duties which previously Mr. Boyd had supervised alone. Other shops were set up in the machine building, and construction of an ordnance shop began. Due to lack of facilities at first, after muster the men reported daily on board the Melville to carry on their work, until their own installations were ready.


In the course of June, 745 enlisted men reported, filling the allotted complement. During the month, since most of the needed machinery had now arrived, the real work of DesRep 12 began. The rest of the story is of steady work and continued expansion. By the beginning of 1944 the physical facilities consisted of adequate machines to perform major and minor repairs on all types of vessels in the Fourth Fleet, merchant vessels arriving in port which did not require dry-docking, and also repairs to the equipment of the various shore activities. Lieutenant Boyd was later succeeded as Officer-in-Charge of DesRep 12 by Lieutenant Commander Silva, who in turn was relieved by Lieutenant, later Lieutenant Commander J. M. Flaherty. In February, 1943, Recife got its second permanent Shore Patrol Office, the first having existed for awhile the previous year, then the 19th Provisional Company of Marines acted in this capacity. In March, Lieutenant Otto Dougher, with long experience as a police executive in the United States, reported to become Senior Shore Patrol Officer. In the course of the year, his staff expanded from 4 men to about 25. Occasionally ship's details would be added to the force, but there existed a nucleus of seamen, permanently assigned to this duty.


The motor transportation rapidly expanded during 1943. Demands for transport grew with the increasing need for travel between the Administration Building and Camp Ingram, Knox Dispensary, Ibura Field, and the establishment presently started at Tejipió. At the end of the year the Recife Facility had 122 vehicles at its disposal, including 15 station wagons, 17 jeeps, 12 military cars, 10 sedans, 54 trucks, 3 buses, 3 water trucks, 3 bomb loaders, 2 ambulances, and 2 crash trucks for fires. One hundred and sixty-five Brazilian chauffeurs had been hired, organized into day and night shifts. The Navy maintained a garage, formerly the Garagem Central of the Auto Club of Pernambuco, which it rented. Navy personnel worked there for the purpose of making machinery repairs, and Brazilian employees performed routine maintenance.


Further development of the Jiquiá Magazines went on. In March, Lieutenant H. J. Schafer reported as Ordnance Officer. The buildings at this time constructed or under way at Jiquiá consisted of several subsurface magazines, both 20 x 50' and 20 x 20', located on 69 acres of ground. By the end of the year the designation "Naval Magazine, Recife" had been awarded. Further construction had taken place and the Recife Facility became the central issuing point for the South American Area. The Admiral wished also to create a rest and rehabilitation center for sailors who had had long and arduous duty at sea. A conference with Senhor Magalhaus, the Interventor, secured the use of an unfinished Brazilian Hospital at Tejipio, a suburb of Recife. Plans were immediately made, and the Admiral placed Captain W. G. Roper, USN, Retired, in charge of the project. The Captain worked tirelessly at this task and succeeded in instilling the same energy into his subordinates. By October, the Tejipio establishment was ready for occupancy, and received its first draft of men. It also presently became the Receiving Station for the South Atlantic Area, a function hitherto performed by Ibura.


Of all the developments taking place around Recife, the one perhaps destined to have the most lasting effect was the experimental farm installed by he Admiral. The idea came from a farm previously established near Natal by three agriculturists from the Food Supply Division of the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. The "Fazenda Nelson Rockefeller", organized by Dr. Kadow, Dr. Griffing, and Mr. Johnson at Natal, furnished food for the Parnamirim Air Base, which often had large numbers of American Soldiers to feed. Both Admiral Ingram and General Walsh became interested in the agricultural experiment, and the former suggested that the three experts extend their activities to the Recife area. The purpose in large measure was to ease the burden on the often sparse Brazilian food supply, overtaxed by the influx of American personnel.


In August the Admiral asked the Federal Interventor for some property to be used as a farm. Senhor Magalhaes granted 125 acres, located about midway between Tejipió and Varezea, adjoining the Brazilian experimental agricultural station. The land at that time was a wilderness, covered with trees and undergrowth, but it did contain a small lake. At the Admiral's request, Mr. Johnson looked over the site proposed. It would be good, he said, for raising pigs and chickens and fair for vegetables. On being told to go ahead, Johnson started clearing the land, using 14 Navy men with tractors, and numerous Brazilian workers. Later, when the farm had gone into production, he cut the seamen down to four and employed a select Brazilian crew.


About sixty acres went into cultivation. In November the farm began producing vegetables for Know dispensary; principally lettuce, peppers, and sweet corn. The first hogs maintained were "feeders", bought from the best stock in the Brazilian interior, fattened on Camp Ingram and Ibura garbage, and hardened on corn. Soon the farm began its own breeding program, with selected boars and sows, and ultimately became independent of outside recruitment. From November, 1943, to the end of September, 1944, the farm slaughtered between 50 and 60 tons of pork. Chickens came next to hogs in importance. A good breeding stock of layers was brought from the minister of Agriculture's farm. From that batch pullets were raised, and from various sources the farm secured other hens to build up the laying stock to 1500. They supplied, all told, perhaps 100,000 eggs during the first year.  In addition to pork and eggs, the farm produced tons of sweet corn and potatoes for the hospital and the general mess. These, with lettuce, peppers, carrots, and beets, made up the main crops. Tomatoes, though raised, did not thrive so well. Later crops planted included peanuts and soybeans.


Another subsequent idea of Mr. Johnson's, who was commissioned Ensign in the Navy in 1943, was that of broiler chickens. He raised them in batches, maintaining about 7500 on the farm at any given time, ready to be killed at intervals. Finally, the farm produced flowers for the Dispensary and for church services. The buildings consisted of nine broiler houses, three houses (capacity of 500 hens each) for egg layers, and eleven furrowing pens. Though Northern Brazil has heavy rainfall it is seasonal, and irrigation became necessary for some crops. The lake supplied water, and the farm built two irrigation tanks. In addition to proving a great boon in the matter of food supply, the farm created wide interest among Brazilians. They were quick to see the obvious difference between its products ad those ordinarily raised in the vicinity. On Sundays and holidays local families visited it in droves, and students of agriculture came, even from outside the State of Pernambuco, to observe and study.


There always existed the understanding that when the Fleet should have no further need for the farm it would be turned over to the Government of Pernambuco. The name of the establishment in English was "Fourth Fleet Farm"; in Portuguese "Fazenda Cruzeiro do Sul". Admiral Ingram's statement at the inception of this agricultural experiment is worth quoting: "I am grateful to all agencies concerned for the splendid support being given this experiment. It is something new in warfare for the Boys in Blue in a foreign land. I have always believed that God is favorable to those who show the effort to look out for themselves wherever they may be."


The above quotation is taken from the South Atlantic News, a weekly newspaper published in Recife for the Fleet. The journal itself began as a mimeographed sheet, issued twice a week. In August, 1943, considerably enlarged, it became a printed publication, appearing every Friday. Through a contract with a local newspaper, the Jornal do Commercio, the use of a printing press was obtained. A staff of competent newsmen, all recruited from the shore facility, assisted Lieutenant (jg) W. S. Ricker, an experienced journalist, in getting out the paper. In time the South Atlantic News came to have quite a professional appearance, with editorials, feature stories, illustrations, and locally drawn cartoons. Naval personnel looked forward eagerly to its appearance, and each edition made its way over the entire area.


There can be no doubt that Brazilian journalism was affected by the South Atlantic News. Those in charge of the latter's format and makeup say that changes in style ultimately became apparent in the Portuguese language newspapers; changes that could be accounted for only on the basis of conscious imitation. Brazilian libraries far and wide sent requests for copies, and some were observed for sale in the newsstands of Rio for the price of 5 milreis (25¢). Among the features of the paper that may be longest remembered by its readers are the anonymous contributions of one who wrote Solantics under the nom de plume "Joe Glutz S2/c" and the cartoon adventures of "Salty", a Recife based sailor, drawn by the facile pen of "Wee Wilie Walton". Glutz, in a Ring Lardner style of grammar and spelling, philosophized and soliloquized about local happenings and conditions. "Salty", in an exaggerated form, had the normal adventures of a Recife seaman, talked extremely bad Portuguese, and either triumphed brilliantly or came to disaster in each episode.


A more modest paper, though a daily, was the Radio Press News, composed and mimeographed each night and circulated early in the morning. It consisted chiefly of slightly edited news stories of world events, particularly war news received from Communications, with a limited review of stateside happenings and a few items of purely local interest. The Press News began its career during the long stay of the Melville at Recife, and was first prepared on board. Following the ship's departure the paper became a Recife project. Two Yeomen, plus a mimeographer, did practically all the work. For over a year, with never a break, they continued to supply the Recife Facility, and as many other places as their production reached, with a digest of world events. Among the outstanding achievements of this paper was the furnishing of full coverage on the 1944 World Series.


Several different officers-in-charge wielded control during this time, but the Yeomen really produced the paper. Recife and its adjacent activities, had two distinguished visitors toward the close of the year. In October, Secretary of the Navy Knox made a brief inspection, while on his way back to the United States from Italy, where he had watched the Allied operations at Salerno from the deck of a warship. At the places visited by the Secretary reviews were held, following which the Admiral introduced him to the personnel, whom he addressed briefly, discussing the progress of the war in Europe with considerable frankness.


Admiral King made an inspection in December, being received with honors due his rank. The numerical growth of the Bahia Facility began about the same time as that of Recife. Lieutenant Commander Saben, the original Bahia Naval Observer, was placed under the Commander South Atlantic Force late in 1942. It was then that preliminary steps were taken toward establishing a base. The three dockside armazens, numbered 8, 9, and 10, were rented from the Brazilians, together with adjoining land for the construction of barracks, which eventually became known as Base Baker. This very closely resembled Camp Ingram in appearance and general plan, except that the barracks were fewer and more widely scattered. Also, adequate BOQ accommodations existed for all officers. During the building time, which lasted until February, 1944, personnel increased greatly, as did equipment. The base had been put into use long before the completion of the last of the structures.


Headquarters continued to be the business building at Rua da Polonia and Avenida da França, where Commander Saben, who was promoted again in May of 1943, occupied offices with his staff. Personnel, however, began to flow in long before barracks had been completed for occupancy. Various makeshifts were adopted, such as putting officers on subsistence, and temporarily quartering enlisted men in an apartment house. But by June of 1943, the camp was ready, and the greater part of the personnel, numbering about 500, moved into it. Bahia development included the establishment of DesRep 13, a land base Destroyer Repair Unit similar to the one at Recife, though a smaller scale affair. During this construction the Brazilian officials proved helpful and cooperative. There was never any real trouble between U. S. Naval personnel and the local populace. One reason for the popularity of the American establishment, was the large amount of employment given to native labor. The floating drydock installed early in 1944, alone utilized about 80 workers. The camp itself used many more, and others were employed at the lonely Supplementary Radio Station, located across the bay.


Bahia got its first Medical Officer, Lieutenant P. H. Hanley, in February, 1943. Although he had no staff and little equipment to start with, these conditions gradually mended. Shortly after the middle of the year, the Doctor moved into a well equipped Dispensary, located in Base Baker, which was then provided with a staff of Corpsmen. Outlying activities, such as Caravelas, Aratú, Ipitanga, and Radio Supplementary Station, sent patients there for emergency surgical treatment. The more difficult cases, however, went whenever possible to Knox Dispensary at Boa Viagem, where the staff was larger and the equipment more adequate. During the first half of 1943, all BT Convoys assembled at Bahia. These ran regularly until June, when the convoy assembly point changed to Rio de Janeiro. At times, as much as 250,000 tons of shipping might be in the port at once. There existed no adequate protection for the merchant ships at such times, yet no attack by submarine ever came. Authorities at Bahia rather expected trouble sooner or later, and never could quite understand why the Axis refrained.


During 1943, Bahia acquired a Chaplain (Protestant), and a Recreation Officer. Since Base Baker is located in a sparsely settled section of town, space existed for abundant athletic facilities. Four softball diamonds were built, and areas for boxing, volleyball, and basketball laid out. Indoor recreational facilities consisted of pool, ping pong, and tables for cards. Visiting ship crews made abundant use of these opportunities. Natal also expanded its activities during 1943. The first half of the year brought an increase in the handling of matters pertaining to transportation. Four of the ten officers attached worked entirely at this duty. The activities of the assistant petroleum Officer also broadened considerably with respect to Natal. In April, an officer reported to handle NATS operations exclusively, thus relieving the Postal Officer of that burden and releasing him for full time post office activities, which more than doubled between January and July.


There was organized a Joint Intelligence Committee, composed of representatives from the U. S. Army, the State Department, the Legal Advisor to the Vice Consul, the Provost Marshall, and the various Naval activities in Natal. During the first half of the year, the outstanding news event was the combined visit of the President of the United States and President Vargas of Brazil on January 28. This has already been discussed in another connection. Relations between American and Brazilian Officials of Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were very cordial. Complete cooperation existed, particularly with the Brazilian General and the Federal Interventor.


During this period the Natal activity received its new designation, that of Naval Operating Facility, Navy 119. For the second half of the year the only changes of note were the addition of an Intelligence Officer, who took over duties previously performed by others, and who also handled Intelligence for Forteleza; and the establishment of a Fourth Fleet Material Unit. Many survivors of merchant ship attacks received care and transportation at Natal, and numerous vessels were escorted from the port. Lieutenant Commander A. D. Cook remained Naval observer and Commandant NOF during the entire year.


Belem, in 1943, went through a period of continuous operational activity. Early in the year the Naval Observer was designated Commanding Officer, U. S. Naval Operating Facility, Belem. From this Facility the steps were taken to establish both heavier and lighter-than-air bases at Amapá, Igarape Assú, São Luiz, and Belem itself. This resulted in considerable growth for the personnel of NOF Belem, in connection with liaison work, disbursing, post office work, and especially supply. In the latter part of April, construction of Naval Buildings began at the Val de Cans airfield, hitherto used by the Army. By June the first of these was completed. A Fleet Air Wing Sixteen Hedron Detachment, consisting of 4 officers and 100 men, arrived in June, followed by Squadron VP-94, with approximately 50 officers and 125 men. During July, heavier-than-air planes began operating out of Amapá, and São Luiz.


With the increased need for supplies, and with dependent activities in the area requiring provisioning, the Belem Supply Department expanded rapidly. A Supply Corps Officer reported for duty in April. The acquisition of large stocks led to the renting of a warehouse near the docks. Poor transportation facilities handicapped distribution, though this was remedied later in the year. The Belem facility began participation in coastal convoys. The increase of shipping multiplied the activity of the Convoy ad Routing Section, and frequently required he aid of the Assistant Area Petroleum Officer. In April a Communications Officer arrived with a staff of enlisted men. This took the strain off other office personnel and released them to devote full time to their proper activities.


By August increase in the activity and staff had necessitated a change in location for the administrative office. The latter moved from the Costa Leite Building to a structure adjacent to the U. S. Consulate, which in turn was located next to the offices of the Brazilian Commandant of the First Air Zone. The new quarters afforded twice as much office space, while still providing an advantageous location. In September, the Fourth Fleet Material Repair Unit, the USS YR-35, reported to the NOF Commandant. Necessary repairs, of the type this craft could perform, proved of great assistance. Port facilities at Belem are extremely limited, and the YR-35 increased the efficiency of vessels in the area. Distinguished visitors to Belem in 1943 included Secretary of the Navy Knox, Vice Admiral Ingram, Vice Admiral Glassford, Vice Admiral Young, French Vice Admiral Fenard, Rear Admiral Stevenson, Rear Admiral Beauregard, Rear Admiral Sheldon, Lieutenant General Spaatz, and Assistant Secretary for Air Gates.


Belem underwent two command changes in 1943. On February 12, Lieutenant Commander Phelan relieved Acting U. S. Naval Observer Lieutenant J. W. Meehan, and in turn was relieved by Lieutenant Commander A. D. Condon on June 22. The census of the smaller Brazilian activities can be more briefly handled. Several new ones had been established in the course of the year, generally for the purpose of providing air coverage for cargoes. Amapá was the most northerly. It had facilities for land planes and lighter-than-air craft. Being an outpost in the airport chain and not an essential nucleus, Amapá had a small personnel. Construction still went on there at the end of 1943. The landing field was being completed and mooring circles and a take-off mat for the blimps were still unfinished.


Next came Igarape Assú, entirely a Blimp Base. Though its construction had not quite been completed, one K Type ship was already operating from there. Both of these northern spots, though isolated and located in what might be considered unhealthy spots, had excellent sanitary facilities and almost no sickness among their personnel. São Luiz, with facilities for land planes and Lighter-than-Air ships, had completed its housing program by the end of the year and was in full operation. Between São Luiz and Fortaleza, there existed a seaplane facility at Camocim, with ramp, fueling facilities and storehouses, but no shops or barracks. The Navy, however, did not use Camocim, which was under the custody of PanAir.


Fortaleza was set up and going, with a fairly sizeable personnel. It was the Headquarters of Blimp Squadron Forty Two at the end of the year, even tough heavier-than-air equipment had not all arrived, some details remained to be adjusted. A new airfield for planes was under construction by the Army, for the purpose of ferrying 4-engine bombers to Africa, thus relieving congestion at Natal.


Fernando de Noronha, an island of some ten square miles, approximately 250 miles northeast of Natal, fitted excellently into the chain of airports operating along the Brazilian coast. An old runway there, formerly owned and operated by Air France, had been superseded by a new one. A Hedron, consisting of two U. S. Naval Officers and 120 enlisted men, was maintained on the island, in addition to a good sized Army personnel. Facilities existed there for Lighter-than-Air, but the blimps made slight use of these.


Ibura Field, the airport for Recife, had come a long way during 1943. Landplanes used it extensively, though it also had facilities for blimps in case of emergencies. The field acted as a main Hedron repair and storage base for all squadrons operating on the Brazilian coast. It had a nose hangar and complete accessory shops, and also afforded 30,000 square feet of storage space for supplies and spare parts for aircraft. Facilities likewise existed for taking care of the entire plane complement of one auxiliary carrier. Ibura had seen much building during the year, and by the end of it had adequate housing facilities for all its personnel, Army, Navy, and Marine. Not far from the American quarters there was camped a unit of Brazilian soldiers, waiting to move into new barracks then under construction.


Maceio operated land and sea planes, and was beginning to operate blimps. The planes, however, were few in number, and Lighter-than-Air had not fully moved in. Maceio, therefore, remained as before, a small Facility.


Bahia's two air bases Aratu, and Ipitanga, had undergone most of their development during 1943. Aratú, the seaplane base, had a full operating squadron, with a personnel numbering 550. Another squadron was soon to be added. The heaviest handicap of Aratú was its inaccessibility; there being no good road connecting it with Bahia, 34 miles away. Building the base had involved terrific labor, since every piece of material that went into the housing had to be hauled in by mules or oxen. Among the details of construction was that of knocking down half a hill to provide more room. There being no local drinking water available, Aratú supply had to be brought from Bahia by truck, later replaced by a barge. In general, life at Aratú was inconvenient, as the place lacked many items of comfort and had no recreational facilities.


Ipitanga was in better shape, though such had not been the case at first. Originally the only communication it had with Bahia was over a very poor road along the beach, which at times was impassible. Though various private airlines and the FAB had previously used Ipitanga Field, no commercial transportation to it had ever existed. To remedy this situation ADP built a road between the field and the city, which, it is safe to say, is the best in that part of Brazil. January, 1944, saw it in operation.


Enlargement of the Ipitanga airfield involved draining much land and the enlargement and deepening of the Ipitanga River. Both the new runways built for the Navy were laid on swampland and a clay hill had to be moved to fill it up. Before the arrival of bulldozers, oxen spans of 10 each worked on the runways. Due to the nature of the land, barracks for the Navy men had to be located two miles from the field where they worked.


Ipitanga Field, as a regular Navy establishment, started operations in September, and in December the first blimp arrived. Thereafter both types of flying craft were based on the field. Caravelas and Vitoria, next in order down the coast, were both being prepared to receive seaplanes, but as yet none had been based in either place. Galeão and Santa Cruz, the two air bases near Rio, were both to some extent going concerns. The former was utilized by seaplanes, while the latter, pending some construction already underway, was being prepared for land planes and blimps. Still farther south, at Florianopolis and Rio Grande do Sul, the Navy had small establishments, but neither of these ever attained much importance.


It will be apparent that many of the shore facilities in Brazil were lonely and isolated. Men stationed at these places found life dull and monotonous. Construction of necessities naturally had to take precedence over recreation and entertainment, but as fast as possible the latter received attention. The USO had moved into Brazil during the year and had established headquarters in Recife. In the course of time it set up branches at all facilities large enough to warrant them. Nine USO community recreation centers ultimately flourished in seven major Brazilian cities. Though all branches of the service availed themselves of these, the Navy, because of its numerical preponderance in Brazil, naturally furnished the largest attendance.


In June, 1943, Lieutenant Commander C. A. Paul, reported to the Flag at Recife as Fourth Fleet Welfare and Recreation Officer. He at once set up an organization, and during the following months assigned Officer Specialists to Facilities whenever practical. At those places where the complement was too small to make the sending of an Officer Specialist feasible, some officer permanently stationed there received the recreation assignment as collateral duty. Lieutenant Commander Paul organized an Area Supply Depot with Headquarters in Recife, and through this all shore based activities were allotted athletic gear, library books, magazines, and 35 mm motion picture equipment. The construction of athletic and recreation facilities throughout Brazil was undertaken in conjunction with the Fleet Civil Engineer's Office. Ultimately there came to exist in the area 14 recreation buildings of various sizes, 22 libraries containing popular books and magazines, 24 softball fields, 5 boxing rings, and 17 motion picture theaters. Presiding over these, directly or indirectly, were 14 Officer Specialists, aided by 23 Chief Athletic Specialists.


The Welfare and Recreation department maintained liaison with representatives of the USC, American Red Cross, and the United States of America War Emergency Committee of Brazil. Many Brazilian social clubs made their facilities available to American Officers, and in some cases to enlisted personnel. The War Emergency Committee of Brazil consisted of American citizens living in Brazil, the majority of them long time residents and well-to-do. They banded together and raised money for the purchase of recreation equipment for the uses of the Armed Forces. Particularly in the early days, before recreation gear became available in large quantities from the United States, they were able to furnish items which otherwise could not have been procured without long delay. Though most of these Americans lived in Southern Brazil, and hence saw little of the personnel they so liberally served, they asked no more than that their contributions be put to good use.


Shore facilities were not over-emphasized at the expense of the ships. All incoming vessels were visited by Welfare Officers of their representatives, for the purpose of arranging and conducting activities as might be desired. Libraries were put aboard all ships possible, and arrangements made to keep the books circulating by means of exchanges. Participation in all activities available to men on shore was available to all seagoing personnel. This, of course, included the Armed Guard crews of merchant ships. Somewhat later, Lieutenant Commander A. M. McCoy, formerly a football coach at Harvard, reported as Fleet Athletic Officer. He began the organization of a physical fitness program for the shore based personnel of the Fourth Fleet, against the time when they might be transferred to more active combat zones. Particularly stressed was the Tunney physical program, and Lieutenant Commander McCoy accompanied Commander Tunney when the latter made a tour of the Brazilian bases in June 1944.


In the first half of 1944, Lieutenant E. R. Moore, who had previously been attached to the Recife Facility, returned to report to the Flag as Educational Services Officer. His program stressed the off-duty educational needs of servicemen, both from the standpoint of a future civilian career and the possibility of a return to high school or college after release from the Navy.


The religious needs of the men of the South Atlantic Area had not been neglected, although some time had to elapse before the supply of Chaplains could be made adequate to the demand. The first Chaplain to work in the area was Lieutenant Commander C. Nelson, attached to the supply ship Melville. She tied up in Recife on February 5, 1943 and remained until September. Chaplain Nelson conducted Episcopal Services wherever possible, until the Camp Ingram Recreation Hall became available. Thereafter he utilized this space, which had the convenience of being located scarcely a stone's throw from his ship. A portable altar and communion rail had been constructed, and with minor adjustments these served equally well for Catholic and Episcopal services. Chaplain Nelson left with the Melville in September.


Next to report was Lieutenant T. J. Conroy, Catholic, who arrived on April 2, 1943, and served as NOF Chaplain for Recife. Chaplain Conroy conducted Catholic Services at Camp Ingram, Knox Dispensary, Tejipio, the Pina Radio Station, and occasionally aboard ships.


There are several evangelical Protestant Churches in Recife, with American and English, as well as Brazilian Ministers. Some of the latter, moreover, were able to deliver sermons in the English language. Seldom, therefore, did any difficulty exist in securing the services of one of these for a Sunday. Then too, Protestant Churches of the city, Brazilian and American, welcomed sailors from the Fleet and Shore Facility. Jewish sailors cold attend the local Synagogue, and always had special liberty on their holidays. In June, 1943, Lieutenant H. Payne reported at Bahia, as Protestant Chaplain for the Facility. He also covered the Air Field at Ipitanga, and the Seaplane Base at Aratu. A month later, in July, Lieutenant M. DePagter, also Protestant, arrived at Belem.


In addition to caring for the Facility, his duties included services at the Air Field. During the year, Fleet Air Wing Sixteen had grown and established its bases up and down the coast. Consequently when Lieutenant H. Carpenter, Protestant, reported in November, he received an assignment as Wing Chaplain. This made it necessary for him to travel widely, since he had services to conduct at Maceio, Fernando de Noronha, and the ramp at Natal, in addition to Ibura Field, the headquarters of the Squadron.


Also in November, Lieutenant (jg), later Lieutenant P. Bloomquist, Protestant, reported to NOF, Recife. He filled the gap caused by the departure of Chaplain Nelson, and though his headquarters were at Camp Ingram he conducted Protestant Worship at Tejipió, Pina Radio Station, and the Dispensary. By the end of the year, Lighter-than-Air had established several bases in Brazil. In December, Lieutenant G. Barger, Protestant, arrived for duty at Santa Cruz, one of the LTA Detachments. The small Naval personnel and abundance of churches in Rio, made it unnecessary for Chaplain Berger to hold services there, but he did make a journey once a week to Galeão, the Seaplane Base on the island in Guanabara Bay.


So, at the conclusion of 1943, the Naval Chaplains in Brazil numbered six; one Catholic and five Protestants. The supply still proved inadequate and the need for more and their suggested locations had been placed before the Chief of the Division. In January, 1944, Chaplain Conroy, the senior, received additional duty as Fleet Chaplain. Thereafter, in addition to covering his regular activities, he made occasional visits to isolated spots to hold services. Two more Chaplains, both Catholic, arrived in May. Lieutenant J. N. Thompson reported at Fortaleza, but began his tour with a short term of temporary duty in Recife, during the absence of Father Conroy in the United States on leave. Lieutenant E. M. Jarrett became Catholic Chaplain at Belem, and in addition covered Amapá, Igarape Assú, and São Luiz. Finally in June, Lieutenant A. J. Clemens, Protestant, reported at Natal, to become the first Chaplain that Facility had ever had. The total census of Naval Chaplains in Brazil at the middle of 1944 was nine; three Catholics, two Lutherans, and four Methodists.


Hyper War. Commander South Atlantic Force. U.S Naval Administration in WW II.


 

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