• U.S.

Transport: Neighborly Leap

2 minute read
TIME

Bronzed, able-bodied Clark Wyly, 28, has as much claim as anyone to the title of “typical U. S. seaman.” Texas-born, he. took to the Navy as soon as the law allowed. After a six-year hitch he signed as an able seaman on the Panama Pacific liner California. This fall the California and her sisterships Virginia and Pennsylvania became the Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina of the Maritime Commission’s Good Neighbor Fleet (American Republics Line). At Rio de Janeiro on November 4, on the Uruguay’s maiden voyage, a Brazilian longshoreman fell off a gangplank, caromed off a bulky wooden fender and toppled into the water. In leaped Seaman Wyly, grabbed the unconscious man, was reaching up to get a hold when the fender fell on both of them. Stunned, Wyly clung to his stevedore until rescuers hauled both men out, took the stevedore, his leg broken, to the longshoremen’s union hospital.

The Uruguay then sailed south for Montevideo and Buenos Aires. On the way back north the Uruguay hove into Rio on November 17 to be hailed by a cheering delegation of 200 Brazilian seamen. The man they cheered for was Good Neighbor Wyly. The delegation escorted him to a flag-draped automobile, sped him to the hospital to receive the thanks of the recuperating stevedore, then took him back to his ship. There they gave him a gold medal; a twelve-inch gold filigree model of the windjammer Saldanha da Gama, $25 in cash and an offer of a life job long shore at Rio.

Back in Manhattan last week Able Sea man Wyly, in the creased and scrubbed dungarees of his calling, diffidently owned up to his heroism, hastened off to bunk at the Sea men’s Y. M. C. A. until the Uruguay was ready for another Good Neighbor errand.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com