Search: Sort by:



                                           THE HUNTING FOR THE RUBBER BALES

Three German blockage runners, carrying rubber were sunk and the bales of rubber floated on the surface of the South Atlantic Ocean. The USS Carib, along with the USS Seneca were sent to the site to recover the rubber. We lowered the Higgins boat into the water and used it to gather up the bales of rubber.

We returned to the ship to hoist the bales to the deck of the Carib, and then resumed gathering more bales. When we finished the assignment, I believe the Carib had 1001 bales of rubber aboard. The Seneca had a similar amount, I believe.

At the end of the day, the Higgins boat was hoisted aboard the Carib. The hoisting was a slow process and I wanted to get aboard quickly so I grabbed a line (rope) that was hanging over the gunnels of the ship. The only problem was that the other end was not secured (tied) and into the ocean I went. The officers on the bridge observed this and ordered "Stop all engines." I was fished out of the ocean a little embarrassed.

The interesting part was that one of the crew told me he had seen sharks in the water. I ignored the comment. Then about 55 years later I was at a reunion of fleet tug sailors and one of them commented that he remembered that someone had "fallen" overboard during the rubber recovery assignment and he remembers sharks around me. I then said, "That was me."  We all had a good laugh about it.

Fleet tugs Carib and  Seneca return to Recife with thousand of rubber bales from German Blockade Runners sunk in mid South Atlantic. 29 Jan 44.Carib in the background with Higgins boat. Seneca at foreground. Picture sent by Evan Lindner

Carib and Seneca seen at Recife harbor soon after their arrrival loaded with precious captured rubber bales from 3 German Blockade Runners sunk early in January 44. Pictures sent by Evan Lindner.


Apparently information from Alusna (American Legation United States Naval Attaché) Buenos Airesindicated that the Spanish ship, S.S. Monte Amboto sailing from Buenos Aires to Tenerife was carrying a suspected Graf Spee internee. The U.S.S. Carib ATF 82 was moored in BahiaBrazil at this time. This information resulted in Lt. Cdr. Leventen, Lt. Cdr. Murphy and Lt. Halliwell  from NOF 150 coming aboard the Carib at 0810 on the morning of Friday, January 7, 1944 with orders to intercept the S. S. Monte Amboto and remove the suspect.

The Carib got underway at 0840 and approximately two hours later was in the vicinity of the S.S. Monte Amboto. A boarding party was assembled. As I remember there were about a total of eight men which included one or two officers. I do know that A.M. Borges, a GM2/c from the crew of the Carib was among the group primarily due to his ablity to speak Portuguese. I volunteered to be on the boarding party.

How young and foolish we were in those days. The boarding party left the Carib  at 1017 and I remember distinctly that an officer, probably Lt. Cdr. Leventen, GM2/c Borges and possible one other person went below on the Spanish ship to pick up the man in question. The rest of us stood on the fantail of the ship with our weapons in an “at rest” mode. During the time we waited in this formation, the Carib circled the S. S. Monte Amboto with it’s 3’ 50 gun pointed at my head. (At least that is the way it seemed to me at the time)

The suspect was given time to pack all his belongings and was then brought up to the main deck where he was placed in the boat with all of us in the boarding party to return to the Carib.  I remember the man as being of slight stature, clean and young. He made a very nice appearance. It just happened that when he was climbing down  into the boat, he had gotten his hands quite dirty. I was sitting immediately to his right.

He raised his hands to show me how dirty they were so I indicated that he should wipe them on my dungarees. He did. We were back aboard the Carib at 1217. He was later taken into custody inBahia. Further investigation determined that the suspect was Luis Leonardo Wissman , a Swiss citizen and not the person that the intelligence people thought he was. Mr. Wissman was later returned to another Spanish ship so he could continue on his original planned  trip.

By Evan G. Lindner


I believe it was when we were in Recife tied up at the dock. I got sick and was diagnosed with Typhoid Fever. I was temporarily transferred to the Pina Beach Naval Hospital. Penicillin was new and not available to me because it was not that plentiful. Instead, they attempted to sweat the fever out of me. I sweat so much that it went through the mattress and made a puddle on the floor. I became pretty weak due the losing a lot of weight quickly.To restore my strength, I was given 3 eggnogs per day. Each one consisted of 6 eggs.

So, I was getting 18 eggs per day. Two things happened when I was sick. One day the admiral and his staff visited me in the hospital. He wanted to know who was eating all his eggs. I was told later that he had a farm on the mainland.  Another thing that happened is that Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the President visited the hospital while I was there.Typhoid Fever is a disease that should have isolation facilities. Pina Beach had no isolation ward so they put me in the corner of the larger room with other patients and surrounded me with hanging sheets. But, with Eleanor Roosevelt being there, they did not want her to know Typhoid was present in the hospital without the patient being isolated so they put me in the brig. Only time in my Navy life that I was in the brig.

The makeshift Pina Beach Dispensary. There the first 50 US Marines were quartered late in 1941. They came in 9 Catalinas along with AVD Clemson a Seaplane Tender.

Rare view of "The Casino". In the foreground the "Jangada", a raft used by local fishermen.



Copyright 2007 - 2020