Derick - there was a Richard (Dick - Woody) Woodson that served with me at Mine Project FOUR. He (MN1 at time), Weldon Owen Diggs (MN1 at time) and I (MN2 at time) were an advanced cadre for the pullout of naval mine resources at Port Lyauety as decreed by President Kennedy as a result of the big tiff between he and DeGaule - and DeGaule's ruling that all U.S. armed forces be removed from French soil/territory. It was a massive pullout, and when we arrived in French Morocco many evolutions were already in process of loading material in trucks and in turn loading them aboard T-boats for transport to Augusta Bay, Sicily. We literally drove trucks down the aisles of where mine components were stored (everything was 'shelf stow' in those days) and shoveled/pushed them into dump trucks and sent them on their way with special markings 'FFT Sigonella'. We did this for 3 days/nights, sleeping when we could while waiting for more trucks, finally loading the last truck sometime around 2200 that last night. We were dead tired, but Woody (having been stationed there some time before?) insisted we go to town to a place he knew of for a final farewell drink. We started out but were stopped by Shore Patrol as all personnel were now restricted to the base. This did not deter Woody as he knew another way out and we were soon tracking along a barely used path by the perimeter fence. By the time we got to town everything was closed (by order of the local gendarmes and SP). Woody then took us along a rickety wooden fence where he loosed a board and we sneaked in to the back of a local bakery. Speaking in very bad pigeon-French, we had the baker pull out several loaves of fresh bread, which he cored and then poured melted butter into, squishing them slightly between his hands. It was the best damned bread I ever tasted in my life, and still remains a favorite story I tell.
We got back to the base an hour or so later and reported to the local air facility for transport to NAF (not yet an NAS) Sigonella. We flew out early the next morning and were met by AOC Ray Etheridge (a convertee) who was now the MP-4 LCPO and a right-hand to our OinC, LT Tom (Windy) Roberts. The whole of MP-4 (which was the only CNO designated field activity in existence) had been deployed there. Ray took us to the newly established Sigonella Mine Facility which was nothing more than a field with a dirt road, a large Quonset hut, and several magazines. We had no rolling stock. There is our famous photo of our adopted pet donkey (Julio) and Geep (half- goat/sheep) hooked up to a MK 2 Bomb Trailer which emphasized this. The trucks had simply driven into the field and dumped their loads of components. A plan was developed to test enough components to make sure we had 100 serviceable mines (Mk 25), and since we had no storage facilities, we would assemble them into the mine cases (a natural storage environment with air dryers). We called it 'partial stow' at the time, but this quickly became 'Storage Condition 4' as the new "Mine Readiness Condition" evolved in LT Robert's message report back to CNO. CNO liked the idea so much we had extended orders to proceed to Malta, Souda Bay, and then to Norway to put 100 mines each in the same condition. Woody, Diggs, LT Roberts and half the crew went on to Souda Bay to begin assembly there. Richard (Dick - Pooch) Troutman (MN2 at the time) me, Ray Etheridge and the other half crew finished up there at Sigonella and then proceeded to Malta where we assembled our 100 mines with the able assistance of the Malta contingent. Our stay in Malta is another whole story. We were promised a great R&R at Souda Bay when we finished, but when we got there, we found that not even the first mine had been assembled. We were madder'n' hell when we learned that those guys had been relaxing, beaching and drinking Fix beer at Ralph's, and then LT Roberts and Ray told us to take over the assembly detail there. We did so, assembling the mines right in the storage caves.
Two weeks later we were enroute to Norway, via a little place called RNAF Mildenhall where we received Artic foul weather gear. This is another whole story, but I remember Pooch Troutman uncomplainingly (well, maybe a little bit) assembling mines with a diagnosed (RNAB Sick Bay) 103 degree temperature in one of those snowed-in magazines where we had to do our work. A few weeks later, we were back in Yorktown. A 30-day TAD trip had turned into almost four months.
A footnote on history, though: Woody, Diggs and me (now an MN1) returned to that little burg at RNAF Mildenhall to do a survey for per-positioning mines there at an abandoned WWII bomb dump. A little over a year later, Woody would be instrumental in hiring lorry (truck) drivers to deliver mine storage equipment to Mildenhall; this in the middle of a crippling strike in the UK. The drivers were paid with IOUs, payable by the US Embassy, London. Every IOU was honored. And, that's the rest of the story.