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  • It was spring of 1944 in Los Angeles and I was gung-ho to join the Navy, but they wouldn't take me until my 18th birthday. So I pre-registered for a new program called "The Air Crewmen" and was told they would call me up when I turned 18.

    Sure enough in June I was told to report on my birthday, so I and about two dozen others were sworn in and given orders to report for Boot Camp immediately. They took us to Union Station where a dozen of us got on this "cattle car" for our trip to Jacksonville FL, no less, while the others went to San Diego.

    What wild trip that was across the country that summer with only open windows for air and soot from the engine everywhere. What a wild bunch we were when we got to New Orleans where they took us to the YMCA to clean up and have a swim. Being from the West Coast, we were not used to the high humidity and were completely soaked by the time we got to the Navy Base in Jacksonville.

    We had extensive boot training for several weeks and then were sent to Memphis for radio school where my best buddies all had names that started with M or N.

    That Christmas one of the guys parents were planning on driving down and taking him back up to St. Louis for a 3 day pass and would he like to bring some friends. I was one he picked and we went to St. Louis where he got us all blind dates for Christmas Eve.

    That was where I met the love of my life, the girl I was to spend 65 years with, but that's a future story.

    Picture is me, Vera, Jon, Renee and Gary taken on our deck of the new house on the river.
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