Midshipman Memories
AWOL in Morocco

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Al Breen, Don White, Bob VanNice, and Mike Shelley
USNA Class of 1963
Photo taken July 1959

  Here's a submittal from John Morgan about his memorable ending to first class cruise.

My first class cruise was in the Med aboard the Steinaker. We flew over and met the ship in Naples. After having excellent port stays in Italy, France, and Spain, we were flown to Port Lyautey, Morocco to await air transport home - and then on to our short summer leave! See Port Lyautey History. We traveled in khakis and were told to stow our luggage and wait on base overnight for the CONUS flight the next day. So most of us headed for the swimming pool. And here is where the trouble starts. At the pool, I saw a face I recognized - an old high school classmate who was an NCO on duty there. "Alan" told me how he was well acquainted with the local area and would be happy to give me a tour in his MG. Since we weren't allowed off base, he brought an extra set of civvies to the pool. So I hung my swimsuit in a locker and headed out to see Morocco.

After a great tour of the local area (Russian ships, cardboard houses, one water tap per city block, etc.) I returned to the base. To my horror, NO ONE was there. The plane came in the same afternoon and my classmates were GONE. To compound the situation, my luggage was also loaded on that plane. And the third killer was that ALL MY ID was in my luggage.

While I sat there in shock imagining the worst, a irritated LCDR came up and asked if I was "Morgan". After a weak affirmative, he told me to get my %^& in gear and come with him to the airfield. There was a beautiful R5D waiting. I sat by myself while the LCDR sat in front, presumably filling out the class "A" offense paperwork, or maybe that for a court martial for "missing a military debarkation". Then I learned that we were going straight to Baltimore International, rather than Dover - where my luggage was going. Along with some nice Toledo steel swords I bought in Barcelona, I had a little 2" souvenir switchblade in my luggage. So when the Navy car came to Balt. Int. to pick me up, I had visions of who would get the first piece of me, US Customs or the Academy Duty Officer. I really thought I would not see the outer side of the "wall" until graduation day. However, the duty officer signed me in without even a simple expletive, asked if that was MY luggage sitting there, and then signed me out on LEAVE. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I vowed to disconnect the phone at my parents' place and take all my medicine when I returned for the fall semester.

When I returned, not a word about my escapades was mentioned. To this day, I can only think that the LCDR was under the gun to find "that missing idiot" and "get him back ASAP". So I behaved memorably for first class year, except for getting fried for "gross table manners" when my buddy Lasswell dumped the pizza on the tablecloth and had the plebes send the plate back for seconds - and then left the table before I did. But that is another story......


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