The Panama Canal is something to see. I don't think anyone I know could explain it without photos. How the ships, some of them so large they can barely squeeze in, are raised and lowered and towed. The cuts that have been made to accommodate ships are unbelievable.
I need to back up here and tell you a couple of things I missed. One of which I thought for a few minutes had cost me my chief's stripes. On completion of my training in Detroit, I was promoted to MOMM 1st class, and soon after we got our ship, I was promoted to Chief. I was second in command of the Engineering Department. I was actually in charge because our engineering officer was a 22 year old kid who got his Ensigns rate because he had quit college to enter the Navy. I don't think he could screw in a light bulb unless 2 deck hands turned the ladder he was standing on. He was scared to death of the old man and would not go to him for anything. When I would ask him to go to him for anything he would say, "You go ahead." In the Navy you are supposed to follow the chain of command but I soon began to leave this link out. The Captain, for some reason, took a liking to me while we were waiting on our ship and I could talk to him and get anything within reason. This may have saved my hide later on.