LT (JG) George A Keel

LT (jg) George A Keel







LT (jg) George A Keel






3 November 2000 Dear Tom, Don't faint from surprise. I am at my daughter's house in Raleigh, NC. She has a computer and got on the Internet. I asked her to get some information on the SS Esso Aruba, which was a Standard Oil of New Jersey tanker. I was the Armed Guard Gunnery Officer and had a gun crew of 12. There was a Gunners Mate First and a Gunners Mate Second. The rest were seamen and a couple of them were striking for Gunners Mate Third. We did not have a Boatswain aboard. We sailed out of New York Harbor and went to Aruba, which was an island 16 miles off the coast of Caracas, Venezuela. Standard Oil of New Jersey would get the crude oil from Venezuela and ship it to Aruba and refine it to good oil. The island of Aruba was 90 percent refinery. The Esso Aruba would transport the refined oil bulk to Bayonne, New Jersey and they would convert most of it to gasoline for the Navy, retain the rest, and transport by truck to their area oil stations. I made 9 trips to Aruba, down and back in approximately 34 days. After each trip we got 5 days port director leave. Believe it or not, we steamed alone approximately 40 to 60 miles off shore. No escorts! We had a 5" 38 on the stern, a 3" 50 on the bow and 4 20MM's, 2 on the port and 2 on the starboard. There was one good thing. We all ate out of the same mess hall and the food was great. At Aruba we had port leave, half the crew from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM and the other half from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. We would buy presents for our families, etc. After the 9th trip I went home with 7 days port director leave to Kenton, Ohio. I got delayed and the train was late getting back. The base commander sent me to the SS William Pepper and that was just great. We went to Murmansk, Russia, not once but twice. I am 82 and some of the crew were close to my age at that time. I was 24 and had two years of teaching when I received a letter from President Franklin D Roosevelt, bless him. He was in a wheel chair then. I am very glad I served and naturally I don't think I'll be called again. I forgot to tell you how important I was (smile). I was a LT (jg). After the last trip to Murmansk I was sent to Los Angeles to an Officer's Separation Center. I coached the base basket ball team in a 10 team league. I received my B.S. Degree in June 1941 and taught two years before being called to the Navy. I returned to get discharged in August 1946. I then went to Ohio State and received a Masters in Education and taught until 1974. I had 33 years of teaching and loved it all. I taught Mechanical Drawing, Industrial Arts, Health and Physical Education. Good Luck and God Bless you. George Keel








SS Esso Aruba


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SS Esso Aruba


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SS Esso Aruba


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SS Esso Aruba


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SS Esso Aruba


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SS Esso Aruba


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