Newspaper Article titled: Navy Man on Raft 83 Days Visits City.

Navy Man on Raft 83 Days Visits City

Seaman Basil D. Izzi , member of a Navy gun crew on a merchant vessel, who drifted on a life raft for 83 days and a distance of 2200 miles, when his ship was torpedoed in November, 1942 , is a visitor in St. Louis this week. He is here to address workers in war plants for the purpose of stimulating production. St. Louis was included in his itinerary because of the importance of the landing craft program in this area.

Looking very fit when interviewed this morning, Izzi admitted he had regained all of the 65 pounds lost during his trying ordeal, in which two of the five occupants of the raft died before rescue.

“All we could talk about, between prayers for our deliverance was food all the swell meals we had eaten and all our favorite dishes,” he said. “We fairly drooled when we talked about it, but we couldn’t avoid the subject. The diet of raw fish and birds on which we lived after our food ran out only stimulated our conversation.”

The worst part of the trip, aside from the lack of food, was the tropical sun, he said. “The days would never seem to end. If it hadn’t been for the coolness that came on with nightfall, I don’t think I could have made it.”

When asked whether he preferred his present tour of duty to sea duty to which he is expecting assignment shortly, he grinned and said, “I’d rather not be quoted on that.”

Izzi will speak of his experiences at a meeting sponsored by various Italian-American organizations of the Hill district at the Big Club Hall, Shaw and Marconi avenues, tonight at 8 o’clock. He will also be the guest of the Chamber of Commerce at the Jefferson Hotel on Wednesday, when he will speak at a luncheon and again in the evening at 8 o clock.

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