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My Super Spreader Event

I am an experienced super-spreader.  Not recently though – my super-spreader event occurred in 1953 when I was 3 years-old.  Dad was a CWO4 boatswain aboard the USS Breckenridge (AP-176), a troop transport.  Ships complement of 426 enlisted men and 40 officers – accommodations for 393 officers and 4,896 enlisted troops.  

I had the opportunity to infect more people than the Diamond Princess.  I had the beginnings of chickenpox, and I had access to the galley – a wonderful place with cookies, a pair of petty officer cooks that liked both Dad and children, and a place where over 5,000 people would visit for three meals daily. The Breckenridge was a child-friendly ship, and perhaps, had my visit been limited to the “Children’s playroom” I might never have been a superspreader.

As an adult, I’ve checked the records and realized that I didn’t “accomplish what the entire Imperial Japanese Navy couldn’t,” as a third class petty officer accused me.  The ship may have been delayed and inconvenienced a bit with chickenpox – but she was launched on June 30, 1945, in New Jersey, and was en route to Marseille on her first operational voyage when Japan surrendered. I guess it was to be expected – his stripes were red, not gold.

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