1947 - 1948
|These pages include copies of Charlie's cruise journal from 1947 - 1948, photos from the cruise, as well as recent memoirs.|
|Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, taken from the signal bridge.|
|Below, the title page from the cruise journal. Click here to read a sample journal page (use the Back button on your browser to return), or here to open a PDF of the whole journal (it's large - 2MB; use the Back button on your browser to return).|
How I Joined the Navy
I turned 18 on March 24, 1946, while in my senior year of high school (1945-46). I received the standard draft board greetings, was given a physical, was accepted into the Army and then was given a deferment until July 1, 1946.
Along the way I heard about a Navy program in electronics that was now available with only a two-year enlistment. I went to see the Navy recruiters and was told that I could get out of the Army and go into the Navy.
I took the Navy physical and was rejected for: 1) overbite, 2) flat feet, and 3) scoliosis. They told me about a test they had (called the Eddy test) and if I did well they would request a waiver for me. I took the test. It was almost identical to the "ham" license test that I had taken a month before. My Eddy test results were very good, and they got my waiver in four days instead of the usual two weeks.
I joined the Navy on July 15, 1946.
I went into the Navy as an apprentice seaman, electronic technician. Boot camp started out as a six-week program. At the 5th week, we were told it would be eight weeks. The last two weeks were pretty screwed up.
Our boot camp company comprised electronic technician apprentices, and we all started a 27-week Primary Electronics School program together. The program was excellent. Long days, lots of homework, and no goofing off. When this was finished they selected a much smaller group to go on to Secondary Electronics School, a 15-week program dealing with radar and other advanced types of gear. Primary school was given at Great Lakes, Illinois (north of Chicago), and Secondary was at the Naval Research Lab , Bethesda, Maryland (just outside Washington, DC).
The first day of school, an old Navy Chief (Chiefs run the Navy) gave us a short talk. “You are entering one of the finest electronic technician schools in the country. When you finish your schooling you will be well-trained. I’ve had a lot of active duty and I can tell you, I don’t want the guy who thinks he knows it all when the chips are down he will fall apart. I want the guy who admits he doesn’t know it all but knows where to find it or look it up.
“I want you to finish this school. You will be working with electronic equipment that has very high voltage in it. If you get shocked with your left hand, the current will usually travel down the left side of your body to your feet, passing through your heart on the way. I want you to put your left hand in your pocket and play with yourself so that any shock through your right hand will go down the right side and maybe miss your heart”.
I came out of Secondary School as a petty officer second class. Formally, I was an Electronic Technician’s Mate, Second Class. I had been in the Navy a total of 14 months at this point.
|Wiring hadn't changed much in 50-plus years!|
|Confused by or curious about all the Navy jargon? Click here for a vocabulary of Navy terminology (G-rated - mostly!)|
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