Transmission 5: Alex Keisch

Photo courtesy of Alex Keisch, who noted: “The second mate took the enclosed picture and staged it so that we could get the stacks in the background.  Anyone familiar with the ship would know that I am shooting the sun into the wheelhouse!”

Photo courtesy of Alex Keisch, who noted: “The second mate took the enclosed picture and staged it so that we could get the stacks in the background. Anyone familiar with the ship would know that I am shooting the sun into the wheelhouse!”

It fell on the cadets to draw the weather map each day. We worked at least an hour transposing the coded numbers into interlacing weather systems on a grid of the North Atlantic. It was all black pen on a white paper background, with one great splash of color: a red, white, and blue stack with a dot placed carefully and precisely on the leading edge. The importance of this red stack can’t be overstated since it marked our new position each day, proudly demonstrating the expanse of ocean we had traversed in the last twenty-four hours. It was the captain’s habit to check this creation of ours each morning — we all thought he was more critical of the care taken in coloring the stack than of the actual information the map revealed.

I was twenty-one years old then, and thought the Big U would always be like it was then. I also thought I would stay twenty-one forever. I was wrong on both counts!

– Alex Keisch, Cadet, SS United States (May 18, 1966-May 31, 1966), Kings Point Class of 1967