This is a story of a life. The life of a shipmate of mine on the USS Porterfield (DD-682) — Adam von Dioszeghy.
Mr. VonD as he was called in the mid 1960s (1964-67) was our Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) officer. He was also the Officer in charge down in IC-Plot where he and I served elbow-to-elbow during General Quarters. He was a crazy and fun man to be around, and since he had a “von” in his name and an accent I always thought he was Dutch.
This book is much more than Adam’s Navy remembrances. It begins with 7 year old Adam and his mother in the bomb shelter basement of their Budapest Hungary apartment building during World War II with war raging all around them — from the bombers above and the Germans and Russian Red Army across and down the street. It continues post war with life under brutal Communist rule and continues to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution when young teenage Adam is twice wounded and he and his mother have to flee the country with nothing but the clothes on their back.
They eventually make it to the US, speaking no English at all, where Adam gets a University degree from Stanford and then joins the Navy and is assigned to Porterfield where I knew him — not very well because he was an officer an I was enlisted.
Following his Navy service Adam returns to Stanford where he gets a Law degree and practices law in California for many years.
He and his wife moved to Hungary about 7-10 years ago and have a small 7 acre farm where they enjoy life and make home-made Hungarian wine. I hope some day to be sitting with them with my wife sipping some of that wine and enjoying the Hungarian countryside and their company.
I hooked up again with Adam recently through the magic of my 1966 WestPac cruise book and the internet. We have been corresponding with each other via email — after all these years he is my very first pen pal.
I highly recommend Adam’s book. It is a man’s life written in a very readable style — much humor and much attention to detail that is amazing to read. It’s much more than a man’s Navy experiences and covers a young 7 year old boy in the midst of the carnage of WW-II, life under Communist rule; the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and escape in the middle of the night. It tells of a young man and his mother assimilating as refugees into a brand new country and culture, having to learn the new language as they go, the adventures lived, and successes achieved along the way.
An amazing book by an amazing man making a new life in a new world — and no, he’s not Dutch.
Here’s a link to the book, now go buy it!