The New Car Escapade

By Lynden N. Benshoof

Picture of Mr. Benshoof     Lynden was the gunnery officer on the LST 392.  The following story comes from Anchors Aweigh by Lynden Benshoof. *

     Greg [the communications officer] came up with the idea of flying down to Oran to obtain a command car and drive it back.  So Greg, accompanied by Chief Art Roehl, went out to Army Air Force Base and requested transportation to Oran (Algeria).  They were turned down flat for lack of official orders.  They came back to the ship and stuffed a big manila envelop with clean underwear and shirts.  They sealed the envelope with wax, stamped over the wax with the official ships seal, then printed "Top Secret" on the envelop in big letters.  Greg and Roehl strapped on their forty-five pistols and headed for the airport.  This time they requested an airplane and flight crew to fly them to Oran.  The request was granted, and within few minutes they were on their way.  

    Three days later they were back from their dusty eight hundred mile drive.  They parked the new command car in front of our ships ramp.  They both hurried aboard and invited everyone to see and examine the new car.  When we all got down in front of the ramp the car was gone.  "Greg, where is the car?" I asked.  "It's gone!  It was just here! Oh! Oh!  The 391 is tied along side, and look! Her bow doors are closing," Greg replied, and then yelled, "Why that's Aronsull's; he's got it! Let's go."

    Captain Lemaire nearly outran us to board the LST 391.  We scrambled down to their tank deck, and guess what?  There was Aronsull supervising six deck hands who were painting the car Navy gray.  Aronsull had been caught with his hand in the "cookie jar."  He laughed and said, "I only needed five minutes more and it would have been painted, but you caught me.  I'll tell you what!  We well even finish painting the car, and to show our good faith we will even stencil LST391--I mean LST 392--in big letters on both sides.  OK?" Lemaire nodded his head and replied, "You just can't trust anybody nowadays, can you, Aronsull?"  Later when he asked Greg where he and Roehl found that car, Greg replied, "Why from the Army MP Headquarters in Oran, Captain, where else?"

* This particular passage comes from Chapter 22, "Mediterranean LST Stories," pages 102-103.

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Last Updated: 8/27/04