While working on research for these blog posts online, I came across a video of a former army serviceman named Robert H. Sterchie. One of the video segments had him describing his voyage across the Atlantic, from New York City to North Africa. I don’t know if Babe’s experience was anything like this, but I thought it was interesting.
Sterchie sailed aboard a converted civilian cruise ship called the SS Monterey that the army had effectively commandeered and refitted as a troop transport. He entered the army April 1, 1941, and left Jan. 16, 1946, as a first lieutenant. He was a prisoner of war camp guard, administrator and interment camp commander. He said 6,000 servicemen were aboard on an ocean that was “smooth as glass.” The troop ships would zig-zag across the ocean while accompanying ships circled the troop ships to protect the convoy from enemy ships.