After two days in Pearl we left for San Francisco and what a thrill it was to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge again. It is hard to describe the feeling I had. On the way out I was ready to finally get into the fight for the freedom of America and the continued freedom of all of my loved ones. I was especially thinking of Charlotte, and wondering if I would see her again. I had been in the Philippines for just about two years but it seemed to me I had been gone from Charlotte for more like ten years.
On the other hand, coming back under the bridge I was relaxed, jubilant, and looking forward to seeing Charlotte and starting our life together. The war had robbed five years out of our lives. The years of seventeen until twenty-one were basically erased from our lives; they just didn’t happen. We all matured fast. Maturity was forced on us in a few months and we never looked back.
My life path was similar to that of my three best friends as well as many young men during the 1940 to 1947 period. I was a happy go lucky teen in 1940 with nothing to think about but school, girls and having a good time. Then December 7, 1941 came and it all changed. In 1943 I was Platoon commander of a 25 man platoon in Louisiana. In 1944 I was in charge of 20 record clerks at the Naval Supply Base in Scotia, New York. In March 1945 I was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy. In 1946 I was the Disbursing Officer responsible for several hundred thousand dollars and payroll for 150 Navy men and 400 civilian workers.
By 1947 I was home, married and back in college then, in 1948, employed by Bell Telephone as Management trainee. When I was 25 years old in1950 I was promoted to District Superintendent with about 800 people in my District and so it went. That was the way it was. When the Empire of Japan attacked our country all of our young people had to set aside our lives to get the job done for all the people of America, and we did not regret it one bit. No one said “great job”, or “thanks for your service”, but we did not particularly expect it.
The whole country had joined together in the war effort. The military, of course, but the folks back home had sacrificed also; they were air wardens, “Rosie the Riveters” and victory garden planters. Even the little kids gathered scrap metal for the war effort. They had done without gasoline for their cars, coffee, sugar, and other necessities which were rationed. Each person back home could buy no gasoline, tires, sugar or other rationed items without these stamps. No stamp, no purchase, and if you used up all your stamps before next books were distributed, it was just tough. You did without. The whole country came together in one giant, united effort without complaint but with a lot of determination. There was not one negative word spoken about the military, the government or sacrifices that were required. I think it was really an amazing time in the history of our country.