Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chapter 33 Cruising to Hawaii

On the fourteenth day, my orders arrived; I shipped out on the SS Evangeline. We were told the small troop ship had been a banana boat before the war, bringing produce from Central America and South America to the States. Just recently I learned the truth: after she was built in 1927, the Evangeline operated the Boston to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia service for the Eastern Steamship Lines until World War II, when she was requisitioned by the US Government and sent to the Pacific theater.

The Evclip_image001[5]angeline had been converted to haul troops. Below decks our bunks were stacked four deep. I had a top bunk which was the best, especially when those below you became sea sick! It was stifling hot down there, and a lot of us just slept on a hatch cover on deck. We could not take showers because there was just enough water for consumption and none for bathing.

The ship had a Merchant Marine crew with a Coast Guard gun crew to man the cannon on the fantail and the clip_image001anti-aircraft 50 caliber machine guns. These were mounted in “gun tubs” on either side of the ship. As we first started our “cruise” we would run under the gun tubs for cover when it rained-which was every afternoon.  After about a week, we would just continue to lie around or sit on the hatch cover and enjoy the rain. We probably needed to be washed off; it took us 45 days to get to the Philippines, and that is a long time to go without a bath!

The Skipper kept telling everyone to wear his life jacket, but it was so hot most of us did not. One hot afternoon we were lying out on the hatch cover, and one of the life rafts, which was sitting on two rails pointed to the sea and tied to the gun tub, broke loose. The sea was calm and just like glass. Well, down it slid, just like it was supposed to do in an emergency. BUT, when it hit the water it did not slow down. It sank to the bottom while we were watching it. Funny, after that, everyone aboard ship had his life jackets on all the time. Those life rafts had been painted so many times the cork would not float at all.

Another disconcerting incident occurred about this time. The coast guard crew was doing gun practice with the cannon at the rear of the ship. They would release big balloons, and shoot at them. They kept shooting as the balloon drifted towards the bow of the ship, and all of a sudden a huge crash, and they had shot the paint locker right in two. Of course it set the paint afire, and we had a lot of excitement while the crew put out the fire.

clip_image002After about six days at sea, we stopped in at Pearl Harbor for repairs. The old Evangeline had sprung a few leaks. While at Pearl, we went ashore each day. We visited Waikiki beach, Diamond Head, the Arizona and finally the Dole pineapple factory. This last one did me in. I loved pineapple, and as we went down the canning line, the guide would spear six or eight slices of pineapple and give us all we wanted. I ate a bunch, but the thing that really did it for me was the water fountain. They had fountains that were pineapple juice. It was a hot day and I drank a lot of juice.

I paid the price, and starting that evening, I was so sick I did not even go ashore the next day. First bananas and now pineapple, will I ever learn?

Photo of troop ship berthing found here.

Photo of the SS Evangeline found here.

Photo of USS Missouri off Diamond Head found here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chapter 32 Penguins on Golden Beach

While we were waiting to be shipped out a funny thing happened. We were sitting around shooting the breeze and some one started talking about those beautiful California beaches with even more beautiful California girls and the surfers. Someone else said,”Hey, let’s go swimming! ”

We all agreed and found our swimsuits that we put on under slacks and shirts. About eight or nine of us got into an old car that belonged to a friend that lived in San Francisco. Away we went, full of high sprits and joshing one another about the beautiful beaches and balmy water we were going to baker-beachenjoy. We got down to as close as we could get to the water, which was just south of the Golden Gate Bridge in Golden Gate Park. As we were taking our clothes off someone shouted, “The last one in buys the first round tonight!”

We all began to rip off shoes, socks, and everything else. Three of us finished first and took off running as fast as we could towards the water. There was a long slope down a grassy hill to the water. Imagine nine testosterone-overloaded 20 year olds hollering and yelling and plunging down the hill toward the water. I remember thinking that the beach was not what I expected; it was a sorry excuse for a beach. I would say it was about ten feet wide and full of driftwood.

Well, the three of us who reached the water first were going flat out as fast as we could and after about three leaps we fell down. Under the water we went and we came up sputtering and cussing. That water was so cold! It was the coldest water I had ever been in. It was colder than the water we felt in Colorado in streams from melted snow. My poor body went rigid and then limp. It was as if I had been hit by a Taser. The three of us were waist deep amongst the icebergs and we started desperately trying to get back to the beach and dry land.

I am sure that we were a comic scene but what was funnier was seeing us fight our way through the second wave who had just hit the water. They were trying to get stopped and turned around and we three were battling our way through them. It was every man for himself. Lots of yelling, pushing and cussing. We finally got out on dry land and were standing there like a bunch of penguins, just looking at one another. We were so cold we were shaking like a grove of aspen trees. My old grandpa who had a lot of earthy sayings would had said “we were shaking like an old dog passing a peach seed.” Our bodies had taken on a definite pale blue tint.

I looked over to the left for the first time and there were a bunch of big clip_image001rocks covered with seals. That would have been my first clue if I had seen them before but unfortunately I did not. One of the guys whispered through clinched teeth, “Them seals are up on them rocks trying to stay out of that water so they won’t freeze to death.”

Well, these strapping 20 year olds who were bounding down the hill moments before were trudging back up the same hill with heads down like a bunch of whimpering pups. When anyone starts telling you about beautiful California beaches and lovely young ladies with surfers floating in on balmy water, do not believe them. It is all a lie!!

Photo of Golden Gate Bridge found here.

Photo of seals found here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chapter 31 Shipping Out

clip_image001While I was in Boston my old friends from high school, Bill Kliene and Robert Holzschuher, came up to see me and we had a great weekend reunion. Robert was a line officer on a ship that had docked in New London, Connecticut and Bill was flying Corsairs in New Jerseyclip_image002 with the Army Air Corp. Of our gang of four, the only one missing was Paul Silber.  He had just been badly wounded in battle, but we did not know it at the time.

All four of us wound up as commissioned officers in WW II and Paul, Robert and I served overseas. Bill went in at the same time as the rest of us but was assigned as a flight instructor stateside. Paul was the only one of the four who was wounded. He was leading a platoon at Subic Bay on the island of Luzon in the clip_image003Philippines when he was hit by a mortar shell and badly wounded in the chest . Robert was a line officer aboard ship in the Atlantic and later in the Pacific.

In March 1945 I graduated and was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy. Boy was I important. I had written Charlotte to let her know I was headed her way, and as soon as I could, I caught a train for San Antonio and my Charlotte. I cannot describe how wonderful it was to hold her again. The first day back I went down to Hertzberg Jewelry and picked out a ring. That night we went out, of course, and I drove to a quiet place where we could talk and asked her to marry me. We had a secret little tree-covered lane out north of town off Vance Jackson road that we would go to when we were in High School. My heart was so full of joy when she said yes.


Our time together was too short, because on  the first of April, 1945 I had to board the train  for San Francisco. I shipped out to find my new outfit, the 118th Naval Construction Battalion. One officer said he thought they were in Alaska and another said Australia. There were no seats on the train. At first I tried to sleep on all the baggage stacked between the cars, but it was too noisy. I finally rigged up a net that was hung between the seats near the overhead, sort of like a hammock, and this worked okay.

After three days, we arrived in San Francisco and I reported to the Navy office down by the docks where we were to ship out. I was put up in the St Francis Hotel. Three floors of the hotel were set aside for Bachelor Officers Quarters. A couple of my buddies from Harvard, including Jim Hibbard, were already there, and I bunked with them. Each morning, one of us would go down to the Navy office to see who had orders to ship out the next day. Then, that evening we would have a going away party for whoever was leaving next.

clip_image001One night, we decided to go to the top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel. It was a famous nightspot with a beautiful view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Would you believe they would not let me in because I was not 21 years old? Here I was an “important” officer in the United States Navy on my way to war and they would not allow me to go in because liquor was sold there!


Photo of the Mark Hopkins Hotel found here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chapter 30 Mighty Effort to Serve

In September 1944 I received orders to report to the US Naval Supply Base in Scotia, New York. When I arrived it was snowing (in September!) Moving from southern Louisiana in August at 108 degrees to Scotia, New York in the snow, was a shock to the system. I was put in charge of 20 ladies who were data clerks, keeping track of supplies coming in and going out of the supply depot. My quarters were in a long barracks with about 100 Marines just back from the war in the Pacific. I was the only “Swabclip_image001bie” in there, but they accepted me. That was good, because they drank a lot, and several nights each week they would get into a regular brawl. Whenever I would hear several of them arguing and cussing each other, I would take a walk. Our barracks sat right on the bank of the Erie Canal (Mohawk River).

In November of 1944 I was transferred to the Harvard Business School in Boston, Ma. That was where the Navy had their Officer Candidate School for Navy Supply Officers.

It was COLD up there. I wrote to my Grandfather to send me two sets of long handles. As soon as they came I put them on and the only time I took them off was to change. I even slept in them. Eclip_image001[5]ven after all that, I was cold when I got there, cold all the time I was there, and cold when I left! I remember walking back from the subway station across the Charles River and there would be icicles hanging down from the bill of my cap.

I had a great friend, Jim Hibbard from Minneapolis, who was about two inches too short to pass the final physical. He worried about that the whole time we were in OCS. A day and a half before the final physical, we had Jim stay in bed all day and all night. We even took him meals from the mess hall. The morning of the physical, four of us picked Jim out of his bed and carried him over to the medics so he would not be walking. We laid him out on a table and two of us got on his shoulders and two on his feet and we pulled on him as hard as we could. Jim was howling in pain but we kept on. When they called his name, we carried him to the door where he took about two steps to the scale. They measured Jim and would you believe, he just barely made the cut. Boy, was he happy.

I had my own problems because of my near sightedness. Earlier I had slipped over to the dispensary where they gave the eye test and I wrote down the letters from the chart. I memorized them frontwards, backwards and diagonally. When I went in for my eye test the corpsman said, “Read the first line.” No problem. Then he said cover the other eye and “Read the first line again.” In a way I was disappointed because I was loaded for bear and all I had to do was shoot a mouse. I passed without a problem and so did my shipmates.

Photo of Erie Canal found here.

Photo of Charles River at Harvard found here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chapter 29 A Mighty Effort to be Lazy

It was hard to go back and get to work, but I guess it was the best thing for me. Every morning we would have reveille at 5:30 AM. We would fall out by platoons We would either have calisthenics or a long run. The run was for five miles, and at the end of the run we went through an obstacle course. This included swinging across water on ropes, scaling a twelve-foot wall, crawling on our belly under some wire, then through some long tubes and so on.

We had two Chief Petty Officers who were in charge of our fitness, one was named  Belichick and the other was Paycheck. They would run along beside us yelling “faster, faster” and generally clip_image003_thumb5harassing us. After the obstacle course, we entered the track and ran for another quarter mile, then back to the barracks to shower and fall out by platoons and march to breakfast. This continued for a year.

I met a lot of interesting characters while I was at Lafayette in the Navy. One was a fellow named Mojo Maceri. Mojo was from Tupelo, Mississippi and he loved a party. Everyone liked Mojo and he was always the life of any party or get together. One thing about Mojo: I never knew anyone who hated exercise more than he did. Mojo would go to extraordinary lengths to avoid effort.

We had desks for study in each room in the barracks/dormitory that were closed on one side and open for your knees on the other. The closed side was toward the door of the room. There was a foot rail about 12” off the floor in the knee well on the other side. Every morning, we would fall in formation to do our 6 AM run/ calisthenics/obstacle course. Mojo would get someone towards the back in the clip_image002_thumbplatoon formation to holler “here” when they called Mojo's name at roll call.

Meanwhile, back in the barracks, Mojo would cram himself up in that knee well and perch on the foot rail under the desk. Once we were all out of the barracks the “Officer of the Day” would check each of the rooms to be sure no one was left behind. Mojo would balance on that little rail until the inspector had passed and then crawl out and go back to bed and sleep for about a hour until we all came back from our exercise. Mojo finally got caught and they nearly killed him making him run extra for the next week or so.

Mojo, however was not giving up. We had a huge tree at the east end of the barracks with limbs that came close to the window at the end of the hall. We lived on the second floor near that end of the hall. Mojo would again ask someone to call out “here” for him and he would crawl out the window into that tree and then climb up out of sight of the window and sit up there in the tree until he heard us marching off for our morning run. Mojo finally “washed out” and was sent on to some duty station as an enlisted man.

Back at home, Mom had been taking engineering classes at St Mary’s University in San Antonio at night to qualify helping with the war effort. She was accepted by the Navy Department and was ordered to report to the War Department in Washington, D.C. She wound up designing clip_image004CIC’s(Combat Information Centers) for ships. She specifically worked on the layout for the Aircraft Carrier Franklin Roosevelt and was chosen to perform the final inspection. She was the first woman to be sent by the Navy Department to inspect the CIC on a carrier before it was commissioned. I was so proud of her. A little ol’ teacher from San Antonio doing such an important job for her country during the war.

After the war was over she returned to San Antonio with Navy Commendation in hand and resumed teaching in Thomas Jefferson High School the rest of her working days. She retired at 65 to our farm at Leon Springs north of San Antonio. Later she moved to Alamo Heights in San Antonio and lived across the alley from her sister Helen (Cot) where they spent many days together until she passed away in July 1977.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chapter 28 Grief Remembered

I am going to pause here to talk about how best laid plans and dreams do not always turn out as planned. My grandfather had a dear friend who had the International Harvester dealership in Victoria, Texas. He had no family and no heirs. Gin had talked to him about having me join the dealership after I finished college and eventually buying him out. He was very receptive to the idea.

My Dad wanted to have a Caterpillar heavy equipment dealership partnership with me. We could do this in Victoria as well. Charlotte and I could live in a great small town and raise our kids there. Gins’ friend also had a lot of land and cattle that he also was willing to fit into the deal. What more could you ask? It was every thing I had ever dreamed of, but it was not to be. Along came a war; Dad passed away September 3, 1943 and our friend in Victoria passed away during the war years. So that was the end of that dream.

1943 In September, I reported for duty at Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana. This was for a clip_image002year of school and boot camp type training. I already had five years of close order drill experience, where most of the guys there did not even know how to present arms or what the drill orders meant. Because of my experience, I was made platoon officer and trained my platoon drilling almost every day that we marched.

Shortly after getting settled in, I got a call from my Aunt Ada in Houston to come right away because my Dad was deathly ill. I got an emergency leave, caught the train, and arrived in Houston the morning of September 2nd. I saw my Dad and talked to him. He died that night at 42 years of age. I had stopped to visit him on the way over to Lafayette just about two weeks earlier, so I knew he was very weak with ALS.

It was a real shock, and I took it pretty hard. You think those you love will live forever, but clip_image005the finality of death is always so difficult. I was okay in Houston and during the ride to Calvert where Dad was buried. I was pretty strong at the cemetery and did not cry until I got all the way back to Lafayette and the barracks. My roomie began asking me about Dad and to my surprise I just completely lost it. I did cry uncontrollably, I have to admit. My roommate was a lot of comfort to me.  My Dad and I had so many great plans but, they were not to be.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chapter 27 Horsing Around

I grew a lot at A&M both physically and in maturity. I don’t know if it was just my time to grow or maybe the experiences I had that first year as a freshman at A&M. They were hard on freshmen (Fish) for the entire first year. I will never forget the day I arrived and reported into Troop A Cavalry at Hart Hall. I had a trunk with me clip_image002that was loaded with all my worldly goods. The upperclassmen gave us a dressing down for I do not remember what and told us we were to find our rooms up on the fourth floor. Of course there were no elevators only stairs. So I lugged this heavy trunk up for flights to the fourth floor to be met with an irate upperclassmen who said, “What are you doing up here? Don’t you know no fish are allowed up here?”

So, down to the ground floor to be met by an irate upperclassman, “What are you doing down here? I told you to go to the third floor!” “I thought you said fourth floor.” “Fish, are you calling me a liar? Get up to the third floor right now!” So it continued, up and down, up and down carrying that heavy trunk. Finally I found out my room was on the first floor just inside the front door.

We occasionally had what were called “air outs”. This would generally happen about two in the morning and we were hustled out to stand in formation in front of our dorm, Hart Hall, awaiting orders. One time we were double-quick marched down to the stables. Each of us were given a bridle and assigned a horse. The upper classmen said they would give us a five-minute start and then they were going to get after us and if they caught us we would suffer like never before.

We jumped up on our horses and took off at a dead run like the devil was after us. Several of us headed into the woods after running hard down a dirt road for about 15 minutes. We sort of slid down a long slope and then crossed a little stream. The embankment on the other side was real steep and we kicked our horses and made a run at it. My horse got his front feet on the top of the embankment but he was kind of Aggie mounted cavalrystuck there. I was whipping him with the reins but he couldn’t get up.

Along comes my roomie, Red Barry, who had been raised on a horse on a ranch near San Angelo. Red runs his horse right into mine and with that my horse decided he can make it after all. With a lunge we were up on top. Red backed off and made a run at the hill and almost leaped up on top and away he and I went. We circled around and emerged from the woods about a mile south of the stables. We then slipped in the back of the stables and he and I were the first ones back. The upperclassmen that had stayed behind told Red and me to brush our horses down put them in their stalls and head back to the dorm.

When I completed my freshman year at A&M and became a big sophomore; I remember the feeling well. As long as I was a “Fish” I had a white band around my sleeve and as soon as I was no longer in that category the first thing I did was take a razor and cut that darned white stripe off my sleeve. The second thing was to jump in my sack and just enjoy laying there for a little while. You see, all the time you were a Fish you were not allowed to even touch your bed after it was made up at 6 AM until taps and you went to bed for the night. What a great sense of freedom to do as you wished.

Photo of Texas A&M mounted cavalry found here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chapter 26 Winds of War

In 1942 Mom and I were still living at 378 Meredith Dr. in San Antonio. She was teaching school and going to night school, working on her masters. I was working at the grocery store and at Mrs. Guillage’s shop. clip_image002(Charlotte was still getting the choice of the orchids each Saturday). I was made Master Sergeant, Regimental Sergeant Major of the ROTC, and later in the year I was promoted to 2nd Lt. About 80% of the boys were in the ROTC and all knew that it was a matter of time until they were in the regular service. Shorty was a sponsor and marched and drilled as well. When we had Regimental Reviews, the Sponsors marched in the parade with their respective officers. Charlotte was not my Sponsor since I did not make officer until after the senior year started, and that really bugged me pretty bad. Charlotte and I graduated from Thomas Jefferson in San Antonio in June 1942.

That summer Dad and Margaret were in Houston living on North McGregor Way, and I worked all summer as office clip_image004boy for Peden Iron and Steel Co. I had to catch the first bus way out near McGregor Way at 5:00AM, pick up the mail at the main Post Office and take it to the office. I had to have all the mail distributed to each desk by the time the salesmen came in at 8:00 AM. I was able to get some more hours flying off a small field in southwest Houston. It was next to the highway to Victoria and there was a high electrical line along the highway. The runway was rather short and you had to slip the plane as you came in over the wires to get the plane down before you ran out of runway. As you came over the wires you would give the right rudder a shove and at the same time left aileron. This put the left wing down and the plane sideways to the runway. At the right time to execute the opposite control, which would straighten out the plane and you, could gently set the plane down on the runway.

Then in September I enrolled at Texas A&M to major in Agronomy, the study of soils and crops. I was very much interested in agriculture. I was in Hart Hall andclip_image006 Troop A of the horse Cavalry. We rode and drilled in formation and on horseback. I had two roommates. One was Douglas Barron and the other was Red Barry from San Angelo, Texas. There was an epidemic of measles that first semester, and the infirmary was full. Both of my roommates had the measles, and I nursed them for about two weeks. Fortunately, I did not get the measles, and never have. As a matter of fact the only childhood disease I ever had was chicken pox.

It was at the end of my first year at A&M that I joined the Navy, at my Dads’ suggestion. My Uncle Barksdale Stevens also had told me, “Lieutenant, (he called me this ever since I was in military school) if you join the Navy, you will always have something to eat and a clean bed to sleep in every night”. I decided to go Navy and enlisted in a program that allowed you to complete your college, tclip_image002[1]hen go to Officers Candidate School and become an officer in the Navy. It was called the V-1 program. After one year at A&M, in the summer of 1943, the government changed the plan and called all of us up to active duty as enlisted men. (Don’t trust what the government tells you because they will change the rules on you after you have committed. I am a slow learner; I got caught again, big time, in a complete change of the rules in the eighties, more a little later on this.)

Photo of Peden Iron and Steel building found here.

Photo of Hart Hall, Texas A&M found here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chapter 25 Day of Infamy

December of that year changed everyone’s life. Robert, Bill, Paul and I were at Summers Drug store at the corner of Donaldson and Fredericksburg Road, where Robert’s mom was the manager, when the news came over the Radio that Sunday morning. We could not believe that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Where is Pearl Harbor? We did not have a clue, but to a man we started talking about how we could sign up for the military to protect our country. It was thought by everyone that the Japanese would be landing on the California coast momentarily.

clip_image002We went over to Charlotte’s and other friends began to show up. We all huddled around the radio listening for the latest developments. Of course there was no TV or cell phone back then. The radio was all we had. We were speculating when the Japanese forces would land in California, then move into Arizona, New Mexico and then Texas. The Germans would be landing on the East coast or maybe on the Gulf Coast. All the guys were talking about what firearms they had.

We all were hunters and would hunt doves together each September. Any of us could hit a dove moving at sixty miles an hour.We had a favorite place along a ridge, a little north of where TJ High School is now. We could line up across this ridge, look east across a little valley, and see the birds coming towards us as they went to water to the west behind us in the late afternoon.

I had a 20-gauge shotgun, Robert had an old single shot Iver Johnson shotgun, and Bill had his dad’s 16-gauge pump shotgun. My gun was a double barrel with one barrel a full choke barrel, and the other barrel was an open choke. An open choke let the shot scatter soon after it leaves the barrel, and the full choke holds the pattern for a long time to hit a target farther away. I was the only one who had a full choke; so all the hard shots that were too far for the other guns were mine. One day we were hunting on the ridge and someone hollers, “here comes one for George.”

I looked up and that bird was way too high to chance a shot, but since I had been designated, I had to try. I started tracking that bird which was way up there carrying the mail. I led him, I thought, DOVEHUNTER_WEBabout half a block and squeezed off my shot from my full choke barrel. Well, we watched, and I was about to turn around when the shot got there and miracle of miracles, that bird dropped like a rock. I ran off through the mesquite and thorn bushes and found the bird. As I walked back to the rest of the guys, they were exclaiming about what a shot it was and could not believe it, and so forth. I told them in detail how I carefully tracked the bird, checked the windage, and calculated how far to lead him. The truth was, it was nothing but pure dumb luck that I had hit that bird. I did acquire the reputation of the best long-range shot in the group.

Several of us had spent several years in the National Rifle Association program learning to shoot a little straighter. We also had a firing range in the basement of the High School where all the ROTC guys practiced. The night of December 7th we all checked our guns and the next day we were at the hardware store for more ammunition, but they were already sold out. This may sound like overkill to you in today’s world, but at that time everyone-including all adults and the Federal Government-expected an invasion of our west coast by the Japanese, and of our east coast by the Nazi Germans. I tell you one thing, if the invasions had occurred they would have had a real fight on their hands. We were not alone in our attitude, as the same attitude prevailed in every state and every town throughout the entire United States. It was like 9-11 had occurred in every town in our country.

In the next 60 days, we all tried to enlist, but the military would not take 16 year olds. Several of us found out that the Royal Canadian Air Force would take 17 year olds, so we made application. They said since I would be 17 in January, they would accept me if my parents approved. My Mom agreed, but when I flew over to Houston in a Braniff Airways 14 passenger airliner, my Dad said no. He wanted me to finish high school and go to college for as long as possible before I joined the service. This was a lucky decision for me, because several of my classmates who were accepted did not come home. Ed Atkin lost his life when his plane was shot down over Burma, Blair Reeves came back paralyzed from the waist down, and two of the boys from our football team lost their life on the beach at Guadalcanal.

My three close buddies and I all finally joined the service when we were 17. Robert joined the Navy and became a Commissioned Line Officer aboard ship, first in the Atlantic and then in the Pacific. Billy joined the Army Air Corp and flew pursuit planes, mostly P-40’s and then Corsairs. Paul joined the Army, and was terribly wounded with shrapnel in his chest, leading a platoon as a Lt. at Subic Bay on the Philippine island of Luzon. I wanted to fly, of course, because of my flying experience, but I was turned down everywhere because of being so near sighted. I joined the Navy and wound up a Supply officer in a Navy Construction Battalion (Seabees), also in the Philippines.

Photo of dove hunting found here.