"Late that night when we arrived at Newport, RI, they opened up the mess hall and heated up leftovers for a mandatory midnight snack. We were told to help ourselves, take as much as we wanted, but we had to eat everything we took. Nothing looked appetizing to me exept some French-style string beans, which I loaded up on. Tom my horror I found that I had inadvertantly taken a double portion of shredded green peppers which I couldn;t and wouldn't eat. As each enlistee finished late dinner, he wandered off to ur assigned barracks, T-19, to try to figure out how to rig up his hammock for the first time and get a couple hours sleep. Soon it was just the Chief and me, all alone in the mess hall. After about a half hour of staring and growling, he finally gave up on me and told me to never do that again. It was dark in the barracks when I finally got there and everyone was asleep. Foregoing the hammock, I slept on the floor on my blanket. So ended my first night in the Navy".
Wednesday, August 26, 1942:
"During our indoctrination, we were asked, among other things, to fill out a form indicating what kind of duty we desired. We were limited to three choices. Not wanting to get seasick, I picked the biggest ships that I could think of: aircraft carriers, battleships and heavy cruisers".
Thursday, August 27, 1942 thru Sunday, September 20, 1942:
"Swimming. Early on, our Company was alphabetically lined up along the side of an Olympic-sized pool. With my luck, the B's were at the deep end. We were told to jump in and swim to the other side. I told the Chief I couldn't swim. He said you have to try. I jumped in and the third time I surfaced, the Chief extended a bamboo pole to help me back to the side of the pool. The Chief said he now believed me. For the rest of my stay, I was scheduled for swimming lessons on a daily basis. These were not too bad because we played tag and I became a good doggy paddler.
While at newport, one character I could never forget was a Seaman by the name of Hope. He arrived at the Custom House in a chauffered limousine, wouldn't share his comic books on the train ride to Newport, fought taking shots, and the civilian guards had to chase him all over the place in order to get him in the dentist's chair. Once strapped in the chair, two dentists took turns working on him. He had two teeth pulled and eleven fillings. Years later, we heard that he became a cook and never left Newport.
I rembember we had one individual who never bathed or washed his clothes. After he used up all his clean clothes in his seabag, one night the people who slept around him decided to give him a hand. They carried him and all his clothes to the shower and gave all a bath. Many years later, I was relating this story to a co-worker at Western Electric Company, Russell Taylor, who remembered the incident because he was in adjacent barracks T-20 and the noise woke him up.
Because of the need for warm bodies, everything was speeded up. We were constantly on the go with: indoctrination. basic training, paperwork, calisthenics. marching, haircuts, gas mask drills, medical tests, shots, dental exams, etc."
Monday, September 21, 1942:
"Completed the 16-week boot camp in four weeks. (not my coice) On graduation day, having mastered the art of marching 4 abreast by Company, then blending 8 Companies into a 32 man front, we were marching along just great to the music of a good Navy band, until just before we came to the reviewing stand, we heard, then saw, a surfaced diesel submarine, chugging alongside the parade ground, keeping pace with the marchers, heading into the harbor. Here was the real Navy! There's where all longed to be! Waging war on the enemy! Needles to say, it didn't take long for the breakup to start and by the time we hit the reviewing stand there wasn't a column or line left, all eyes were left instead of right. Just a motley group of gawking civilians dressed in sailor suits looking at a sub and ignoring the red and purple faced officers in the reviewing stand. We heard later, in no uncertain terms, that it was the worst parade ever seen at Newport".
Monday, September 21 1942 thru sunday, October 7, 1942:
"Eighteen-day delayed orders tot an electrical school at Morehead State Teachers College, Morehead, KY. To the non-Navy types, that means that I could go home to Philly to wait until school starts. So much for large ships!".
Wednesday, October 7, 1942:
"Left Philadelphia by train for Morehead, Kentucky"
Thursday, October 8, 1942:
"Reported in to U.S. Navy Training Station. Morehead State Teachers College, Morehead, KY. There were four classes of approximately 100 men each, starting one month apart, each class taking 16 weeks. Upon graduation, if you passed, you earned a rating of Electricians Mate, 3/C.
Morehead is located in the North-Eastern part of the state, on Highway U.S. 60, in the Northern part of the Daniel Boone National Forest".
Friday, October 9, 1942 to Friday, January 29, 1943:
"Nothing overly significant took place during these 16weeks. The food was great, we lived in borrowed college dormatories, four men to a room, equipped with two desks and two double bunks. We were frequently reminded that we were not in the real Navy yet by the Navy enlisted staff assigned to the school.
My non-swimmer status quickly surfaced and I was scheduled for swimming lessons at the college pool three days a week.
The college staff had made up courses based on broad guidance received from the Navy which included basic house wiring, panel board repair, figuring electrical loads, electrical theory, math, generator operation and repairs and shop. One interesting course was making tools out of junk, including making a hunting knife out of an old file. The staff asked us to please let them know, based on our shipboard experience, how they could improve the courses to meet real shipboard conditions. School was five days a week and all instructors were civilians.
We had a Captain's inspection every Saturday morning at 10.00 hours in dress blues after which we marched in Company formation down a side street to the far end of town then came back up the main street, through the one traffic light, and were dismissed at the college stadium for weekend liberty. Since Saturday was shopping day, there was always a good crowd on the sidewalks. I think the parade was more for the civilian's sake than ours. depending on finances, some weekends were spent: in the barracks, sometimes with a special invite home for dinner after church at the local movie house, by Greyhound to Lexington, KY (60 miles) to a volunteer run "Stop Over House" for GI's (free chow and a cot); or, by Greyhound to Ashland, KY (55 miles) to an inexpensive railroad hotel and where you would hope for an invite home for dinner after church on Sunday.
One weekend at Morehead, I rode with a local sheriff for a couple of hours one Saturday night where the biggest thing that happened was chasing a drunk driver with no tires on the rims of his car. On the lawn of the county courthouse a complete whiskey still was erected, with a sign showing the date and location when it was "captured".
The locals were great for making due with their cars during rationing. One time, while hitchhiking on Route 60, a guy picked two of us up in a late model Buick sedan. The back seat had been removed and the car was loaded up to the windows with freshly dug potatoes. A large board behind the front seat kept them from hitting you in the back of the head. Many of the cars had mis-matched wheels as the owners were trying to get every mile they could out of existing tires from other cars".
Saturday, January 30, 1943:
"Graduated with honors (even though I was in sick bay a week with the measles) and received the rating of Electricians Mate 3/C, effective February 1, 1943".
Sunday, February 1, 1943:
"Ten days delayed orders. Took the train home to Philly".