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Dr. Richard A. Abrams

I’ve enclosed some prints from slides for you that I took in the summer of 1963 while I was on the S/S Steel Chemist as a Crew Pantryman. The Steel Chemist was my first ship! Our trip was about 4 months. We left New York and went to the following ports: Ceuta [Spanish Morocco], Latakia [Syria], Beirut [Lebanon], Suez Canal, Hodeida [Yemen], Karachi [W. Pakistan], Bombay [India], Cochin [India], Madras [India], Calcutta [India], Chalna [E. Pakistan], Columbo [Ceylon], Djibouti [French Somalia], Assab [Ethiopia], and Barcelona [Spain].

I was 16 at the time; the captain was Captain Brady, the Chief Engineer was Amos P. Woods, the Radio Operator was Richard Lahey – I am amazed that I can recall those names 43 years later. As I recall, the voyage was uneventful, and the crew all got along nicely.

The photos of the ship at the dock were taken in Cochin, India. There is a photo of me [white shirt] standing next to the Boson – we were on our way home in the Atlantic and the crew had a party on the fantail. There’s another photo at the party and it has Jeff Peck sitting down and drinking a bottle of beer. Jeff is now on the faculty of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and is a professor of Maritime Law. While on the Steel Chemist, Jeff sailed as an ordinary seaman. There’s another photo of Jeff at the wheel.

As for me, I went on to college at Temple University, graduating in 1968 with a degree in psychology, and then continued on to Dental School at Temple. During my years in college and in dental school, I continued sailing on SIU contracted ships, sailing all over the world, and accumulated a total of about 2 years actual seatime. While doing this, I constantly continued to upgrade myself with SIU courses, and ultimately sailed as 2nd Electrician as well as FWT, and Oiler. In 1968, I was on the Steel Chemist again, as FWT, but was onboard only 4 days, as I got sick and got off in Baltimore. Upon graduation from dental school, I served as a dental officer in the US Navy, on board the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, making two deployments to the Mediterranean.

After the Navy, I entered private dental practice in Boston, then decided to specialize in Public Health Dentistry, and received a degree from Johns Hopkins. Then, I began a career as Head of Dental Public Health at Marquette University School of Dentistry in Milwaukee. I retired from Marquette in 2003, and have kept busy volunteering part time at a free dental clinic in Milwaukee.

As I recall my time at sea, I have many, many fond and pleasant memories! Some of the happiest days of my life were in the US Merchant Marines!

This is a more recent photo of me, with my cousin Ben, in Venice.

The information and photos on this page are courtesy of Dr. Richard A. Abrams © 2006.
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