My dad passed away over 6 years ago. He was a member of “The Greatest Generation” and served in World War II and the Korean War. We are fortunate to have an autobiography he wrote after he retired. Part of it recounts how he joined the Navy in 1944. He was seventeen years old. (Photo at the bottom of this post.)
He was a technician in the Navy. His interest in electronics began in Christmas 1941, just a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I became interested in radio and electronics when I received a crystal radio set for Christmas in 1941. … All through high school I learned as much as I could about how radios worked and always strung long wire antennas at the Kirkwood and Webster houses. I built a two tube superregenerative short wave receiver, played with cast-off radios that anyone would give me and had ambitions to be a hamatuer radio operator. In the last semester of high school I found out that the Navy needed radio technicians. As an incentive to any lad who could pass the “Eddy” test, the Navy offered enlistment as seaman first class (pay of $65 per month instead of $50 as an apprentice seaman) and nine months of rigorous electronics training. I passed the test and Mom allowed me to enlist on April 30, 1944. I was put on inactive duty until I graduated from Chaminade on June 3, 1944. I was seventeen years old.
I am grateful for my dad and all of the other men and women who have protected our freedom through the ages. Happy Veteran’s Day to all of you!