“Tall Tales and Pure Guts”
For Donald G. Sutherland (18-48) the ‘Pulitzer Prize’ for "tall tales and pure guts." From a February 12, 1949 letter from Don to the Commanding Officer at Cabaniss Field explaining why he was skinny dipping in the Officer's pool: Returning from chapel one Friday night, he was walking with the rolling gait particular to those who have spent a long evening kneeling for Vespers and evening prayers. Heading towards the library, he encountered AvMidn R.J. Sample (4-48) and C.W. Rochester (18-48) who--noticing his rolling gait made an erroneous assumption about his sobriety. "Let's go back for another round," they said. Naturally, Don assumed they referred to an additional round of prayers; so was shocked to find himself in a most unfamiliar establishment in which alcoholic beverages were being served. Don was persuaded by his two friends to partake of a curative elixir--one that would help his knees still aching from long prayerful hours. Guessing that if one would help, six might cure, he forced the liquid down. He then felt so remorseful about breaking the vow of sobriety he'd made to his mother and parish priest, he ran from the place and jumped in the Officer's pool to drown hisself. But being ever mindful of Navy Relief's need for clothing, he took off his garments before jumping. Before he could complete the deed, he was rescued by several Marines. However, while in the process of drowning himself, some scoundrel (Talmage Skinner – 12-48) stole his clothes in order to obtain some spending money.
And that is the entire true story of Don's apparent digression from the narrow path forged in his youth.