While going through my dad’s things the other day, I found a book entitled, “Gemini Ship - The story of the U.S.S. DOYEN (APA1) and its Civilian Calling as the BAY STATE.” Although written and edited by Lawrence A. Marsden Lt. Cdr. (SC) USN, it consists of a great many stories submitted by the men who served aboard the ship. 

As submitted by his brother, Asa (Ace) S. Briggs and Charles’ son, Charles H. Briggs, Jr., they wrote:

“Charles Briggs came about the Doyen in May, 1944 as a Gunner’s Mate 3C. He was 18 years old and was from Sacramento, California. Aboard the ship throughout its years of active service, he served in most of its wartime engagements and was finally detached on December 29, 1945 in Seattle, Washington. He was recalled for sea duty in the Korean conflict.

“After leaving the Navy, he served as a teamster doing heavy hauling, retiring as Foreman for Valley Crane. On his death, he left his wife Jacqueline, one son, two grandchildren and six great grandchildren.*

“HIS FAVORITE STORY: The Doyen had just participated in the invasion of Leyte Island in the Philippines. The ship was then sent to Hollandia in New Guinea for R&R. Chuck did not know that his brother, Navy Chief Ace Briggs, was stationed at Pie Beach, Hollandia. When Ace heard that the Doyen was in port, he used a load speaker to ask if anyone aboard knew Chuck Briggs. Doyen Gunnery Chief, Ace Parker heard the message and told Chuck. Ace then obtained permission from the Base Captain to go to the Doyen.

“The seas were rough and Briggs got drenched boarding the Doyen. Chief Ace Parker sent Ace Briggs to his quarters and, while he was showering, Parker sent for Chuck Briggs on the pretext that his gun was dirty. While Ace Briggs was still in the shower, he could hear Chuck coming into Parker’s quarters loadly protesting that his gun was not dirty. His brother Ace stepped out of the shower and the two embraced, crying with joy. Chuck and his brother then ate dinner in the CPO Mess and Chuck was then able to introduce Ace to the ship’s Captain.

“Chuck was then called to the Ship’s Laundry where he and his brother were introduced to a large tub of iced beer. That night, unable to sleep, the two of them spent the night on deck talking.

“Each day the Doyen was in port, Chuck was assigned to accompany the Chaplain on mail duty so that he would have the chance to see his brother. The two of them wrote a joint letter each day to their parents. When the Doyen left Hollandia, it was the last time the brothers would see each other until the war was over.

“In his three years in the Navy, Chuck never saw another person he knew from home. Each year afterward, Ace and Chuck brings went out to lunch on October 28 to celebrate the day they met on Hollandia, New Guinea.”

Now I, Ace Briggs’ son, celebrate October 28 in recognition of the relationship these two men -- who happened to be brothers -- had on each other, their families, their ship mates, and the world around them.

*Actually, his wife Jacqueline had proceeded him in death. My Aunt Jackie and my uncle Chuck’s relationship was what probably inspired the writing of romance novels.