“When I saw the U.S.S. Anzio carrier that I was being assigned to it looked so big and awesome and dangerous, and I realized for the first time what I had got myself into. This was real and the training and the fun I had been having was over, and I didn’t know what was ahead of me. As I walked up that gangplank with my sea bag on my shoulder (which I could hardly carry), for the first time it hit me. I was afraid.”
“After a while the excitement of the newness wore off and homesickness set in. I remember many boring days, as the days went by, and we missed our family. While at sea we would have regular routines getting up at 5:30 a.m., have breakfast and then have roll call on the flight deck and exercises. Sometimes it was so hot, we all had heat rash and the food tasted bad at times.
I remember when a submarine had been detected and we had to go on alert because we would be the target that they would pursue, even though we had destroyer escort. But that was our goal to get the subs before they sunk someone else but still that’s when the fear set in.
But even with that fear I’m happy to say that I was proud that I did serve my country. I was able to go ashore in the Philippines, Pearl Harbor, the Island of Guam, also Ulithi, anchored at Okinawa, Kerama Retto, in the Ryukyus Islands, also the Marshall Island, the Caroline Islands, Korea, China, Cuba and Panama City. I got to see a lot of this world, but the U.S.A. is still the best. It’s an adventure I shall never forget.”
This excerpt was from my Dad’s memoir that he wrote in 1998. He shared that in January 1944 at the age of 17 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy to join the forces in the fight to win World War II. He left his hometown in Beaumont, Texas and he along with other enlistees boarded a troop train headed for boot camp in San Diego, California. He served on the U.S.S. Anzio, U.S.S. Coral Sea CVE57, and the U.S.S. Franklin Roosevelt.
My dad passed eight years ago but his service to our country will never be forgotten because he recorded his adventures of service during World War II. If you are an armed services veteran of any age, it is important to be Keeping Your Memories recorded for future generations to read what you experienced and what you learned from your service to our country. If you have any family members that have served, ask them to write their memories or videotape their stories.
- What was your rank and serial number?
- Were you drafted or did you enlist?
- What were your duties and assignments in camp and on the field?
- What was the biggest act of courage you saw? By an ally? By an enemy?
- How difficult was the transition from the military back to civilian life?