On 29 November 2006, the following information was received from Charlie McClelland, USS HELENA CL-50 .
It included these pictures:

During WW II the Navy took over this hotel for the treatment & observation of Patients with malaria.
We contacted malaria on the Island of Vella LaVella. I spent about 30 days here in December 1943
along with other crew members from the USS Helena.

We arrived at the US Naval Convalescent Hospital (Grove Park Inn) on November 25, 1943 for
observation and treatment of malaria. The Grove Park Inn is located in Asheville, NC.

We were assigned two to a room. Each room had two beds, private bath, a dresser and a writing desk.
Our room was on the third floor. The posted rate, at that time, was $12.00 a day. (Today's rates average
$279.00 per day.) I don't remember the name of my roommate but he was from the CL 50 too.
Several other CL50 shipmates were there also. We took our meals in the dinning room and were served
by the hotel waiters.There was a two lane bowling ally, library and they showed movies. We set pins, in
the bowling alley, to earn extra liberty money. We returned to duty, on the USS Houston,
December 21, 1943.

Agnes and I visited the Grove Park Inn in July of 1987 but didn't stay overnight.
The pictures we took have faded but we did get some postcards.
Agnes saved all my letters, from the Inn, and we were able to get this information. Charlie

Here is a post card I mailed to my bride to be on December 11, 1943. Not a true picture but close.
The text on the card was, if you can't make it out, is;

" Betty, This will give you an idea what this place looks like.
My room faces the back and can't be seen on here.
Take care of yourself. Love, Bill" (Charlie aka Bill)

It was know as the U.S. Naval Convalescent Hospital, Asheville, N.C. by us in 1943. Charlie

This picture shows all the new additions since the end of WW II located in the rear of the original building, (center).

The following story was copied from the USS Helena Organization Newsletter, dated February 2003.
Osborne S. P. Koerner LTJG was a "5th Division" Officer on the USS Helena CL-50. September 1942 - July 1943


There was an article in the magazine Naval History which was entitled "Tiny Miracle: The Proximity Fuse". Captain Osborne S. P. Koerner, USNR (retired) wrote a letter to the editor which follows:

An incident almost 57 years ago in spring 1943 on board the light cruiser Helena (CL-50). Anchored at our home base in Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, I had just gone topside for a breath of fresh air after finishung lunch. Near a 5"/38 twin gun mount, officers were removing the nose cones of shells used in that type gun. The group included Commander "Deak" Parson, Lieutenant Commander John Chew, Lieutenant Richar Cochran and others. I (a young ensign at the time) asked LT Cochran, "What's going on?" "I will talk to you later," he responded. Several days passed. A daytime "snooper" enemy aircraft was picked up on the ship's radar. A condition watch existed. The targeted aircraft gave no proper IFF signal, came within range, and was knocked down after the firing of several rounds from the 5"/38 mount. Lt Cochran was the director control officer, and he explained to me that the shells included the new proximity fuses tha had come on board with Commander Parsons. I recall that the fuses still were a secret at that point and --like radar equipments--could not be mentioned even on board ship. The Helena was the first U.S. Navy ship to shoot down an enemy aircraft using the new proximity fuse.
Editors Note: After leaving the Helena, then Captain Parsons, was aboard the B29 Enola Gay and armed the atomic bomb that was the first one dropped on Japan.