Good Ol` Farragut!

by The Boatswain | January 11th, 2006

When we arrived at the Farragut Naval Training Station, at Sandpoint, Idaho, we found out that there was NO on base housing, but were directed to a rooming house in Coeur D’Alene. Coeur D’Alene is a pretty nice town, a bit over 20 miles south of the base. Sandpoint, which had been established in 1901, was too small to have room.

We had a nice, clean, SMALL, room, with “kitchen privileges”, meaning we could cook in the kitchen, but had to take a turn with everyone else living there! At least it gave us a place to stay while we looked for better quarters. We soon moved to a nice, tiny, upstairs, two bedroom apartment that had it’s own kitchen, but NO fireplace or heat! The only heat was from the wood burning stove in the kitchen, and the Idaho winter was coming!

The base had been setup in 1942 as an added Training Station, to help train the flood of new sailors needed by the war. In addition, because of its remote location, they also built a brig (jail) here and, eventually, they sent some German POWs there. These were mostly just German GI’s and ordinary people, NOT fanatical Nazis. There was also a WAVES training Barracks, but the training was rapidly coming to an end. I was assigned to Base Security, and had a gang of POWs that I took around and had clean up the barracks as a daily routine. We also would load a truck with firewood that us sailors could buy at the Navy Exchange and haul it in to Coeur d’Alene and bring it to who ever had bought it. The POW’s did the work and I followed them around.

The lake the base was on is called Lake Pend Oreille, (French for Ear Pendant) is shaped, roughly like an ear and is one of the biggest fresh water lakes we have, as it is 43 miles long! It also had a depth of 1,158′. Some of the training was old fashioned, as they were still teaching “boats under oars” (how to row!) and I doubt if there are any ships in the Navy that don’t have powered boats today.


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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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