The WAR years start.

by The Boatswain | November 12th, 2005

When the war started at Dec. 7, both Ellen and I knew things would change. I could expect a change of orders and a transfer to sea duty. We talked it over and worked on it and, finally, we got married on the 31st of August in 1942. Since the war was on, I even had to get permission from the Navy to get married! We had a quick, short honeymoon in New Jersey, at a summer cabin my folks had. I then received orders to go to amphibious training in Norfolk.  Then, of all places, to Illinois to be part of the crew of a brand new Landing Ship, Tank (LST-213), which was one of the many new designs the Navy came up with for hitting the various beaches around the world! My first crew in my career consisted of ONLY 3 regular navy men, myself, a cook, and a Hospital man!  The rest of the crew, from the Captain on down, (HE was an experienced Merchant Marine Captain.) were all draftees and “90 day wonders”, as the quickly trained officers were called. Our cruise down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers was our shakedown as a crew and our way to learn about our ship. I was in charge of the deckhands and by the time we reached New Orleans, most of the men were working pretty much as a team, which is important, both for efficiency and for morale.

Landing Ship, Tank (LST)

Landing Ship, Tank (LST)

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The United States Navy rating of Boatswain's Mate is a designation given to enlisted members who are rated as a deck seaman. The colloquial form of address for a boatswain's mate is 'Boats'.

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