“The wonder is always new that any sane man can be a sailor.”

My father graduated from high school in 1944 when he was sixteen. He was so young because his mother had sent him to school when he was only four. She couldn’t take him anymore. He was a bit of a rambunctious child so his mother sent him to school to give her a bit of relief. After he graduated, he asked his parents to sign permission for him to enlist in the military. They refused. He then bided his ime until December when he turned seventeen and didn’t need permission. He enlisted in the navy.I never asked him why he chose the navy. I wish I had. He certainly wasn’t safer as his ship carried supplies back and forth in the North Atlantic, and it was on one of those trips when his ship was sunk. He managed to find a piece of the ship to hold on to, but his legs were still in the cold water. I don’t remember how long he was there, but I do know he passed out, and when he woke up, his captain, who had been holding on to the same piece of ship was gone.

My father was rescued, but all of his mates from that end of the ship were not. He was transported to a hospital in Plymouth, England. The doctors thought he might lose his legs from the exposure to the cold water, but he didn’t. His parents, meanwhile, had no idea where he was or what had happened so they called the Red Cross who located him. He was seventeen. He hadn’t even thought of his parents. To him the war was a huge adventure.

My dad told us stories about his hospital stay. With both legs in casts, he’d borrow a bicycle and roll down the hill to the pub. When he was ready to go back, they’d have to call an ambulance to come get him. He was in the hospital during the Battle of the Bulge, and the wounded kept coming. They said they were getting slaughtered and were losing, but that changed.

He was sent back to the US still in the navy, was granted leave and went home. My mother had heard my dad had lost a leg, but she found it to be a rumor. When he first saw her, he greeted her with, “Hey, Babe.” He was, as always, his rambunctious self.

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12 Comments on ““The wonder is always new that any sane man can be a sailor.””

  1. Morpfy Says:

    You ever start writing that book yet? the one about this blog “the Coffee Blog” ?? ?? ??

  2. Rowen Says:

    Great double post, Kat. Thank you so much.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Rowen

      I love talking about my Dad. He was a great father and a very funny man.

      I had to do the Cohen postings. He is a favorite of mine and the subject of many comments here on Coffee!

  3. olof1 Says:

    I do like to read thgese stories about Your father 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

  4. flyboybob Says:

    My dad was drafted into the Army shortly after Pearl Harbor. He married my mom in June of 1941 and was sent to Ft. Dix New Jersey. In normal times my father would have been classified as 4F, physically not fit for military service. However, in those days they took everyone. He was assigned as an MP, Military Police, and spent the next 18 months at Ft. Dix. He was eventually medically discharged. Although he didn’t see action he served his country in a small way.

    After he was discharged he worked at Newark Airport at a company that disassemled fighter aircraft which were pickled and shipped to Europe on ships. Fighters couldn’t fly across the Atlantic and air to air refueling wasn’t invented until after WWII.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      My father was disappointed he couldn’t enlist sooner than he had. As it was, I still think he was too young.

      Serving is what matters.

      Was it your father’s career which got you interested in flight?

      • flyboybob Says:

        My dad didn’t stay in the aviation business but moved back to NYC and became a salesman.

        I have no idea what influenced me to go into aviation.

        When I was the chief instructor of a flight school, an airline captain wanted to buy his son a private pilot training course for his high school graduation. He said his son wanted to become a airline pilot. He then said he didn’t know why his kid wanted to become a pilot because his son had a 180 IQ and had won a full ride scholarship to Baylor University. He then said that flying for a major airline was very boring after a while and his son should consider a career that would challenge his mind his entire working life such as medicine, law or business. I replied that he wanted to be like his dad. The captain replied that wasn’t the case, it was probably “the time off, the money and the pussy, none of which was accurate”. Unfortunately, the captain lost all of his retirement and his job a year later when Braniff International went bankrupt.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        My dad also became a salesman.

        I wonder what happened to the son. Did he take the lessons?

  5. Jay Bird Says:

    God bless your father and all our other heroes.


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