Wartime fun!

by The Boatswain | November 20th, 2005

In early 1944 I had an opportunity to go back to the states for some special training and a chance to see my wife again! So I took it and was sent to a special training unit in Ocracoke, NC, to become a member of the Navy’s Beach Jumper Unit.
BJU1-200x
When I arrived there, we were told we could have our wives join us, IF we could find a place to live off base. Myself and two other guys found an old wooden shack on the beach that we could rent and it was even “furnished”! (Everything was OLD in the place, with rusty springs on the beds and outdoor plumbing!) There was a porch that extended around 3 sides of the place and the outhouse was built on the rear end of the side porch, with no electric lights in it. We were only going to be there a few months, so we quickly had our wives come join us.

OUR "MANSION” ON OCRACOKE

OUR "MANSION” ON OCRACOKE

The only access to the island was via a daily small boat that made a trip to the mainland for mail and passengers (two hours each way!) and the train and connecting bus Ellen had to take, was supposed to meet it. Of course, HER connection was late, as the old coal-burning, straw seated train from the main north-south line to the shore, made every whistle stop along the way! I had ridden the mail boat in to meet her and we were headed back to the island, about 1/4 mile off shore, when the passengers finally arrived. There were several Marines working on a crash boat at the landing, and Ellen and the other passenger for Ocracoke (a sailor coming off leave) asked if they could catch us. Of course, the Marines “CAN DO” and they quickly overtook us! This made a great reunion for us, and a story for our grandkids! The other two wives had arrived a day before.

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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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