Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #212
…Battles will continue to be fought and armistices forged, but Harv has had his fill, saying his goodbyes at his P-E J Paris office…
… far from the glamour of the movies, Harv Pearson has witnessed the wonder of America’s contribution to the Great War, Col. Billy Mitchell in particular. On one day in late September, watching from the ground, he sees the sky above is filled with allied airplanes, spanning the horizon and headed for Saint Mihiel. They will total 1400 or more, he learns from Mitchell and quite a sight to see at that.
The sound of all those rotary engines will forever echo in the recesses of his mind. War produces sights and sounds that no peacetime event can and places a stamp on the human souls therein.
It also helps when you are on the winning side and thanks to American contributions, i.e. the air war, submarine warfare and fierce ground assaults. An end to the Great War can be seen.
Battles will continue to be fought and armistices forged, but Harv has had his fill, saying his goodbyes at his P-E J Paris office, leaving a skeleton staff to tie up the many loose ends. Personally, he is thankful that they had not lost any of his rotating reporters to the war, which is not the case for other news organizations. In fact, they are the only journalistic presence not to lose a correspondent.
For his last assignment, Harv is going to go back to the U.S. on a convoy ship, under the command of Rear Admiral William S. Sims. Sims has been at it for longer than most anyone, coordinating the transport of war materials, then troops since back in ‘15. He too is making his final voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
He has a wealth of stories to tell, many of them end with the sinking of one of many defenseless civilian ships. Until the Navy was allowed to convoy, a safety net surrounding as many as 10 supply ships, millions of metric tons is lost to U-boats… and the bottom of the ocean.
“How many ships have you been on that have been struck by a torpedo?” asks Harv after they have been under way for a day.
“8 too many, Mr. Pearson,” he relates with a stare straight ahead; he refuses to think about what is below the waterline of his boat, leaving that vigilant task to his around-the-clock submarine spotters. “If a cat has nine lives, I don’t want to use up that last one”
“It helps that we are traveling on a destroyer, does it not?” Harv is looking for reassurance, wanting to avoid John Ferrell’s fate at all cost. He had a bird’s eye view then and that impression haunt him long after the last shot of this horrible war is fired.
“Well yes, 5 of the boats I was aboard that got hit were civilian and before 1917. I guess the odds eventually even out.”