The Admiral and the Craps Game
"Roll the Dice and Pass the Ammunition"
Another story about Dad's friend, VADM Calhoun. He was in charge
of all the logistics for the Pacific war. Why he concerned himself
with this one incident, I don't know. Truly an eccentric!
As told to me (WGI) by my father (WOI) on 13 January 1996.
I have done some editing and rearranging, to improve the readability
and keep things in sequence. - WGI
WGI: So Admiral Calhoun called you in the middle of the
night to come into Pearl Harbor.
WOI: I said, "I'm in Kaneohe, on the other side of the
WGI: It's a long trip over the Pali. Or did you have to go
WOI: No I was going over the Pali. With no lights, you
know, just with blackout lights.
He called me in to round up some people who were
supposed to be unloading ammunition in a box car.
I came in there and he says, "Mr. Innanen, I want you
to strap on these side arms."
WOI: I said, "Admiral, I can't wear side arms in the Navy
base, I'm a civilian!"
He almost insisted that I wear these side arms. [But] he
finally agreed that if I wouldn't wear the side arms, I
could go help him unarmed.
Here was a bunch of Filipinos in a boxcar, supposed to
be unloading some ammunition. And they're shooting
craps in the boxcar!
Admiral Calhoun had his chauffeur and a couple of his
aids with side arms. They converged on this box car.
These Filipinos, when they saw all of these armed
people pointing [guns] at them, their eyes pretty near
bugged out of their heads! They were just quaking in
The Admiral jumped into the box car -- or somebody
pushed him into the boxcar. He couldn't jump! He
said, "All right you boys, all of you line up here
now! Leave the dice, leave the money on the floor.
Leave everything just like it is."
So he lined them up and he said, "I'll tell you what I
want you to do. I want you to claim the money that is
yours. And whoever owns the dice, I want him to pick
up the dice."
One Filipino would run over there and pick up a few
coins, maybe a dollar bill. They'd [each] scoop away
theirs, until the last fellow had maybe a little change
left. The dice were still there.
Admiral Calhoun says, "Who. Owns. The dice."
Finally one fellow, sure he was going to get shot,
volunteered to pick up the dice. Admiral Calhoun says,
"Young man, you're a brave man to pick up these dice.
It takes someone with some courage to pick up these
dice. Now, I'll tell you. I'll tell all of you. For
me to tell you - and I've been in the Navy for 25 years..."
I don't now how long he said it was maybe 30 or 35
[It was probably 40 plus years at that time - WGI]
"... that I hadn't engaged in a game of chance, well,
that would be stupid of me to tell you such a thing! But
you [each] picked up some money and left some for the
last fellow, and this young man had nerve enough to
pick up the dice." He said, "I commend you. Now, get
to unloading the ammunition!"
And I came over the Pali just to witness this darned
thing! He was just an eccentric sort of old boy.
WGI: Why *did* he call you over?
WOI: Well, just to help him round up these...
WGI: He just wanted someone he could rely on.
WOI: I don't know! But to wear side arms! In the Navy
base? No way! [Civilians] couldn't carry a pea shooter
[Later thoughts: I bet I know why ADM Calhoun wanted
Dad. He was convinced that Dad was the most able man
around for handling civilian work crews. As it turned
out, the Admiral didn't do that badly, himself. -WGI]
Copyright © 1996 by William G. Innanen. All rights reserved.
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