Hottest Week in History
Six Days in Hell
After cruising alongside the opposing banks of Africa and Asia in the Suez Canal, my ship, Robert H. McCard DD822 docked in Ethiopia, Africa for a period of six days.
I did not know until over 50 years later while doing research for a novel, that those were the hottest six days ever recorded on Planet Earth. There was one single day that was hotter; it was in the Death Valley desert on Furnace Creek Ranch on July 10, 1913. The temperature was 134.1 °F.
The temperatures during my six days in Ethiopia ran from 116 to 127.
Trying to Stay Cool
As a result, our working hours were 4:00 A.M. till 10:00 A.M... We could not have stood the heat any later in the day. Our uniform of the day was most unusual. We wore Bermuda shorts, a skivvy shirt (t-shirt), and a Jungle Jim hat.
Hammocks were issued and set up from one end of the ship to the other. We lay in our hammocks with a pitcher of water and sweat.
We knew for sure that it was unusually hot, but I never knew how hot until doing the research.
By the way, two months later, my son was born, and he too became a Navy man.
Destroyer...Robert H. McCard
The Robert H. McCard destroyer was launched in 1945. It was named for Medal of Honor winner, Marine Gunnery Sergeant Robert H. McCard.
While I was still a member of the crew, this ship participated in the Cuban Missile Blockade when Russia tried to deliver missiles to Castro's Cuba. We were in the Naval Shipyard in Boston when our ship was called into duty. We had just taken off the gun mounts to remake the ship into a missile launching ship with a helicopter deck. Therefore, the ship had no defense during the blockade. It was simply used as a decoy.