Voices from the Pacific War Voices from the Pacific War

Oral Histories

B.L. Pettit: The Thirteen Year Old Sailor

Mr. Pettit was born in Houston, Texas, in 1928. In 1942, he falsified his age to get into the U.S. Navy, something that was not uncommon at that time. Mr. Pettit went from seaman apprentice at the age of thirteen to electrician’s mate first class by the time he was unceremoniously kicked out of the navy after the war was over in 1945, at the ripe old age of sixteen. During World War II, Mr. Pettit served aboard two ships, the USS Tallulah, AO-50, and LCI(L)-750. After he left the navy at the end of World War II, Mr. Pettit went to high school, then college and earned a degree in electrical engineering. He is now retired and lives in Leesburg, Virginia.

I was born on 31 December 1928. However, my navy I.D. card reads 31 December 1924. My pre-war days in Houston were much like those of many other people, I suppose. Houston was a small city at the time. The main businesses were oil, cotton, and cattle. In the late 1930s and early 1940s we were still in the Depression and things were kind of tight. My dad was a Methodist Minister, but he died when I was ten months old. He left me and two older sisters, along with my mother. My older sister had to drop out of school and take a job to help support the family, but she got married after a few years, then the burden fell on my second oldest sister. In the meantime, I was doing all sorts of menial jobs in order to help out. I mowed grass, shined shoes, sacked groceries, and had an early morning paper route.
I was twelve years old when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, but at that age I didn?t pay much attention to world affairs. Unlike most people, I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing when I heard the news. However, I do know that I didn’t know where Pearl Harbor was, but it didn’t take me long to find out. Almost immediately the climate changed in Houston. The Depression suddenly came to a halt. Businesses started hiring everybody and anybody they could, and all along the Gulf Coast ship building firms were hiring.
I was in junior high school at the time and more interested in basketball, football, and girls than studying, but the war had an immediate effect on our school. All the sports between schools came to a halt because of the shortage of rubber and gasoline, and so forth. We could no longer be transported between schools for the games. And because of the war we were let out of school on certain days for “scrap drives.” We would scour the neighborhoods for scrap metal, and other materials for the war effort.

Once we got into the war, Houston became void of civilian men who were old enough to be in the service. Houston was gung-ho for the war; just about everybody who was old enough to serve was doing so. This feeling become even more so when on 1 March 1942, the Japanese sank the cruiser, USS Houston. This resulted in a flood of new recruits for the navy from the Houston area, and one large swearing in ceremony was held on Main Street.
In1942, I was still in junior high school, but me and a friend of mine, Richard Jenke, who was fifteen years old, got the idea that we would like to enlist. Richard, being a little bit older and a little bit bolder than me, went down to the Post Office in downtown Houston and enlisted and was shipped off to San Diego. I started thinking that if Richard could do it, I could do it, because I was bigger than Richard by a long shot. At thirteen, I was 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weighed 143 lbs. So on 22 December 1942, I went down to the navy recruiter, the same one Richard Jenke went to, and the same one that Calvin Graham went to, and he was twelve when he enlisted. Calvin’s story inspired the television movie, Too Young The Hero. Somebody gave away Calvin’s age, and he was put out of the navy without any benefits after having served on the battleship South Dakota, where he was severely wounded during the Guadalcanal campaign. After he recovered from his wounds, Calvin was sent back to the States and thrown in the brig for lying about his age. His family didn’t even know where he was until one of his prison mates got out and informed his sister where he was. His sister then took efforts to get him out of the brig, then out of the navy.

Anyway, I went down to sign up. The navy didn’t ask me for a birth certificate, or anything else. They just had me fill out some papers and told me to have my parents sign them. Of course, with my father being dead the only person who could sign was my mother, and when I told her what I had done she was reluctant to sign; first of all because she was a very religious person and didn’t want to sign something that was a lie. I figured I would win her over, so I quit school and was really doing nothing, mostly to encourage her to sign the papers. She consulted with one of my uncles, Dock Pettit, who was a navy veteran, and her brother, my Uncle Tom Simmons, and between the three of them they decided to go ahead and let her sign the papers, which she did. They probably thought the navy would quickly become aware of my age and send me home.
I received my orders in January 1943, and was sworn into the navy with a large contingent of other boys from Houston, most of whom were quite a bit older than me. We filed out of the Post Office into the middle of the street and marched to the train station, and all along the way the street was lined with people clapping and waving. We boarded the train, and hung out of the windows talking, laughing, and joking until we finally got underway. I think back now and wonder just how many of those boys never returned.
Our train arrived in San Diego on 8 January 1943. Busses took us to the naval training station where we would do our boot camp. Recruits who were already there greeted us with, “You’ll be sorry! You’ll be sorry!” That first night we were put in a large barracks and throughout the night, you could here the sniffles of boys who were a long way from home and probably had never been away from home before. I wasn’t bothered by that; I was too excited and was looking forward to the next day. I wasn’t homesick then, but did experience it later when I went home on leave, then had to go overseas.
While I was in boot camp, I took an aptitude test, but with only an eighth grade education, I didn’t do very well. So instead of going to a school after boot camp, I was sent off to a ship. But in the long run it didn’t matter, because once I got aboard ship I got the necessary books, studied them, and was able to move up to petty officer first class electrician’s mate, without the school.

After boot camp, and five days leave, plus travel time, I returned to San Diego. Me and some of the boys who were in my company in boot camp were sent to San Pedro, California, and transferred on 9 April to the USS Tallulah, AO-50--a fleet oiler. Within thirty minutes of reporting aboard, we were underway, headed for the South Pacific. My first assignment on the ship was to take the hawser lines that had tied the ship to the dock and coil them down in the forward hold. I was down there with some other seaman coiling these lines when we passed the breakwater in San Pedro. I felt the ship serge up, then down, up, then down, and I started getting seasick almost immediately. Of course, I didn’t know you were supposed to go to the lee side of the ship to throw-up. I went to the windward side, and it all blew back in my face. I was so sick I wanted to die. I was laying on the cargo deck with water breaking over me, hoping I would die. But after about the third day I started feeling better.
Our 20-mm guns were our best defense against enemy aircraft, but even they had shortcomings. Most of the gunners used the trajectory of the tracer bullets to aim in on a target, and I think it was only every forth or fifth round that was a tracer. I don’t think we knew it at the time, but the trajectory of a tracer round was different than the trajectory of other types of 20-mm rounds, so if you were on target with tracers you would be missing the target with all the other rounds. I don?t think the Navy found that out until much later. Anyway, we didn’t need to use our guns as we zigzagged all by ourselves on the way to the South Pacific.
The men who reported on board Tallulah with me on 9 April were, John Lawrence Henry, Lawrence Najera, and Filbert Jerome Pena--all seaman second class. Unbeknownst to me, we also had a stowaway aboard--Joseph Pardins, a Marine Corps Private. I don’t know what he had in mind, whether he was trying to get to the battlefront, or away from it. Whatever his reason, we got rid of him at the first port we pulled into.

On 11 April 1943, we had our first Captain’s Mast. Looking through the ship’s log, it is amazing the number of Captain’s Mast we had. Every time we pulled into a port, then pulled out, it seemed we had a Captain’s Mast. Whenever we pulled out of a port we would have a number of men who were AOL--absent over leave. On one occasion a sailor named Delbert came aboard drunk and stood on an upper deck and pronounced that he was Douglas Daughtless Dive Bomber, as he dove and hit the deck below with a thud. Somehow he survived, but from then on we called him “Daughtless Delbert.”
On 22 April 1943, we entered the harbor of Pago Pago on Tutuila, America Samoa. The harbor was extremely beautiful. When I walked up on deck and looked out, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I could look up and see green mountains all around, and look down at the clear, blue water and see tropical fish swimming around the ship. Unfortunately, our ship was quarantined by the medical officer for some reason, so we never got ashore while we were there. However, we did put ashore our Marine Corps stowaway for transport back to the States and a General Court-Martial.
Our next port-of-call was New Caledonia. We anchored in Saint Vincent’s Bay and transferred some aircraft that we had carried over on our cargo deck, and transferred the oil we had on board to our sister ship, the USS Cimarron. We had liberty in Noumea, and every time we had liberty in these island ports, the sailors would come back to the ship drunk as skunks.
On 3 May 1943, we were at sea again and headed for the Fiji Islands. We pulled liberty on Fiji and took aboard a sailor being sent back to the States for a Bad Conduct Discharge, but I never found out why. On 19 May, after we left Fiji, we had another Captain’s Mast and two ensigns were charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, and were restricted to quarters for a period of ten days for playing cards with an enlisted man.

We entered San Pedro harbor on 22 May 1943, and one of our crewmembers who had been AWOL since 3 April 1942, came aboard under armed guard. We started taking on provisions and loading on more planes, and left for the South Pacific again on the 25th. This deployment was pretty much routine--not all that different than the first one. We arrived back in San Pedro on 16 July, and were underway again the same day for San Francisco, where the ship was to undergo alterations. We installed radar and replaced the old 5-inch/51 gun with a more modern 5-inch/38, capable of firing at both surface targets and airborne targets.
On 29 July, I received a ten-day leave. I eagerly headed home to Houston. It was a three-day ride to get there and three days to return, so I didn’t have much time at home. On the train I met a lovely young Greek-American girl named Kathryn Nakotas, who got on the train in Stockton, California, and chose to sit next to me. She made the trip very enjoyable until she had to transfer off in El Paso. We corresponded for some time after that but I eventually lost track of her.
Being home again was wonderful. But it ended all too soon and I had to board the train for the long, lonesome ride back to San Francisco. It was most difficult saying goodbye to my friends, and family, and especially my girl friend. I could have said, “Enough!” and stayed at home, but the thought of doing that never entered my mind. Duty and adventure called. I returned to the ship in San Francisco on 9 August 1943.
From San Francisco, we went back to San Pedro to get more fuel and put some more planes aboard. We left San Pedro on 30 August, for my third deployment. This trip was by now routine. We again visited Pago Pago, Fiji, and New Caledonia. By 10 October, we were back in San Pedro. And on 18 October 1943, we were underway again, and this time in support of the fleet for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands in the Central Pacific.

We were part of a huge fleet, and I had never seen so many ship. They were stretched from horizon to horizon. The actual landings on Tarawa were 20 November 1943--Operation Galvanic. We continued to refuel ships after the landings, then returned to California via Pearl Harbor, and entered Pearl on 16 December. We were back in San Pedro on Christmas day.
The next trip was to by my last one on the USS Tallulah. We left San Pedro on 13 January 1944, in the company of Task Force 53. A large number of our crew were missing from the ship when we pulled out and were declared deserters. They were never returned to the ship, and I don’t know what happened to them after that.
We were on our way to the invasion of the Marshall Islands via the Hawaiian Islands. When we arrived in the Marshalls, following days of refueling ships at sea, the fighting was pretty much over. We anchored in the lagoon at Majoro Atoll, and the place was pretty well blasted; there was hardly a tree standing. As usual, we were there to refuel ships and did that day after day, and on 7 February, left the Marshalls in convoy with a bunch of other AOs and arrived in the New Hebrides on 11 February.
I had always been unhappy with duty aboard Tallulah, and wanted to be aboard a destroyer. I complained and complained. The desire to get off Tallulah was so intense that I volunteered for the submarine service, but was told that I didn’t qualify. While we were at Pearl, the skipper, Cmdr. Jesse B. Good, was relieved of command of Tallulah by Lt. Cmdr. William F. Huckaby, and on 16 March 1944, I was transferred to new construction. I boarded a carrier at Pearl and was transported to San Diego. By this time I was an electrician’s mate third class.

My discontent with being aboard USS Tallulah was due to the same problem Henry Fonda had with his ship in the movie Mr. Roberts. Both of us wanted to be aboard a destroyer. I had no problems with the captain, the other officers, or the crew. Tallulah, although it sailed with the fleet during the Marshalls and the Gilberts invasions, was a support ship, not a fighting ship. I desperately wanted to be on a fighting ship in the middle of the action. Service aboard Tallulah was much more hazardous in the sense that it was a prime target for Japanese submarines, but that had nothing to do with my discontent. After I left Tallulah she was subject to a kaiten (manned suicide torpedo) attack at Ulithi lagoon on 20 November 1944, in which three of the manned torpedoes were sunk, but not before one of them had sunk USS Mississinewa, AO-59, anchored off Tallulah’s starboard bow.
While at a receiving station in San Diego, I received orders to report aboard USS LCI (L) 750, and I reported on board on 1 June 1944. By war’s end, she had won two battle stars for participating in operations in Western New Guinea, Moritai Island, and the landings in the Philippines. But because she wasn’t a destroyer I wasn’t too happy about my new assignment.
We had four officers and twenty-four enlisted men on the LCI, and after I went aboard, we took on supplies, made various repairs, and made practice landings on beaches around San Diego. My beaching station was on the stern, where I was responsible for dropping the stern anchor needed to pull the ship off the beach after the troops were ashore, then winding in the anchor cable to pull the ship off the beach. On 12 June 1944, we took on ammo and some navy personnel for transport to a receiving station at Pearl Harbor. We spent a few days at Pearl, then left on 7 July for the South Pacific.
While at Pearl I was able to visit my old fiend and schoolmate, Richard Jenke, whom I hadn’t seen since boot camp. Richard was serving on submarines, and like me was an electrician’s mate. We pulled liberty together in Honolulu and would not meet again until after the war when we both returned to Houston to go to high school.

We went to Funafuti Atoll, then Esperitu Santo in the New Hebrides before going on to New Guinea, where we took on army troops and made practice landings, and a for real landing at Wakde. We then went on to make a landing at Morotai, the last step for Gen. MacArthur before the invasion of the Philippines. We then moved to Leyte in the Philippines and landed troops at Ormac Bay. We spent much of our time at general quarters because of the many enemy air attacks. My battle station was as loader on a 20-mm gun. Much of the time we were at general quarters, firing at attacking aircraft and laying smoke. One time we were close to a floating dry dock when a kamikaze hit it and killed several navy personnel. By that time in the war I think the Japanese had pilots who weren’t very well trained, because that pilot chose to give up his life in hitting a floating dry dock when he had carriers and battleships he could have hit.
On 27 January 1945, we took on board 179 troops and six officers of the Eleventh Airborne, U.S. Army, under Capt. Malcomb Stafford. On 31 January, we arrived off Nasugbu on Luzon. After the bombardment of the beach, we put the troops ashore, then retracted from the beach and headed for Mindoro Island. Nasugbu is just outside of Manila Bay, and I’m not sure of this, but I think those troops participated in the liberation of Manila.
We arrived at Mangrin Bay, Mindoro on 1 February. The Fifth Air Force--the Jolly Rogers--was flying out of Mindoro. We were beached there for a period of time between operations. I went over to the airstrip and got acquainted with some of the Air Force personnel and was able to get a ride on a B-24, which was exciting because I had never been in a plane before. Somebody handed me a parachute and said, “You better put this on; you never know what we might run into.” I stood behind the bomb bay where I could see the bombs as they were released, and that was a sight to behold. I watched the bombs as they left the bomb bay and fall until they were out of sight, then explode.

On 9 March, we got underway independently for Marinduque Island, and beached at Laylay. Henry Stewart, a black Steward’s Mate who had been in and out of trouble the whole time he had been aboard, went ashore and got into trouble with some army troops. They sent a message back to the ship that if we wanted this fellow back alive, we had better come and get him, otherwise they were going to kill him.
Lt.(j.g.) Bradley was dispatched to bring him back to the ship. Bradley came back with Stewart, but Stewart did not want to come aboard. Bradley had a sidearm and told Henry Stewart he had to the count of “three" to get aboard, otherwise, “I’m going to kill you right here.” Stewart had previously threatened to throw a hand grenade into the crews quarters but was stopped when someone told him his friend, James McBurnie, was down there. On another occasion, Stewart had picked up a Japanese rifle somewhere and I recall seeing him with the rifle walking on the beach as though he was squirrel hunting.
All the crew was topside looking down at this stand-off between Lt. Bailey and Stewart and wondering what would happen when Lt. Bradley got to “three.” Lt. Bradley got to “three,” and pulled out his sidearm. Stewart turned white and headed up the ramp. He was charged with resisting arrest, attempting to strike a superior officer, and the use of abusive and threatening language to a superior officer. He was then put in solitary confinement for the safety of the ship. When we arrived back at Mindoro Island on 13 March, Henry Stewart was taken ashore under guard. I tried to locate him for a reunion in the1980s, but was unsuccessful.
On 1 March we landed troops on Lubang Island, and on 16 March, we returned to recover eight dead soldiers for transport to Mindoro Island for burial. The odor was intense. During the rest of March, April and May, we did a lot of beaching and transporting of troops, both American and Filipino. We had a Filipino civilian who traveled with us and served as a translator. At Romblon, we took on board three Japanese prisoners for transport to Mindoro under Filipino Army guards. This civilian translator jumped on them and started beating them. We had to pull him off.

We continued to move troops and supplies around the Philippines throughout June, and in July we departed the Philippines for Pearl Harbor with LCI Flotilla-8, Division-45. We arrived at Pearl Harbor on 5 August 1945, and tied up at West Lock. Our captain, Lt. White, was detached from the ship, and Lt. (j.g.) L.M. Collins assumed command. He was formerly the executive officer. On 8 August, we were underway for San Diego. On 14 August, our ship’s log read, “Official: V.J. Day! War with Japan is over.” On 19 August, we entered San Pedro Bay, California. I was given twenty-seven days of leave, and returned home to Houston. I was a sixteen-year-old electrician’s mate first class by then.
Most of the crew was transferred to receiving stations in September, and we took on a new commanding officer, Lt. (j.g.) C.A Simmons. On 7 October, the remaining crew, including myself, was on the way to San Francisco. I started thinking about getting back home and going to school, but I didn’t have enough points for discharge. I didn’t want to sit around San Francisco Bay doing nothing, so I started thinking of ways I could get out. I wrote to my mother and asked her to send me my birth certificate. When it arrived, I took it to my commanding officer and presented it to him, telling him I was only sixteen years old. Even though I was an electrician’s mate first class and had served almost three years in the navy, I was not yet old enough--officially old enough--to be a member of the United States Navy.

The skipper was taken aback, but said he would consult with the powers that be on Treasure Island. I told him I wanted this kept confidential--I didn’t want any of the crew to know about my age. Lt.(j.g.) Simmons consulted with the navy personnel ashore, and it resulted, on 29 October 1945, with my being transferred to the receiving barracks on Treasure Island. From Treasure Island I received orders to report to Camp Wallace, Texas, which was a separation center. I didn’t know what my orders said. I was just hoping that I would be discharged and nothing would be said about my age.
Upon arrival at Camp Wallace, everything seemed to be going fine for a day or so, then I was in line with a bunch of other guys waiting for the mustering out physical when an enlisted man came down through the ranks looking for Bob Pettit. I said, “I’m he.”
He said, “Follow me. The lieutenant wants to talk to you.” I went up to the lieutenant’s office, and he had my orders in front of him. He was very nasty--very irate that I lied about my age to get into the service. He cussed me up one side and down the other, and said he couldn’t give me a discharge. He said all he could give me was a letter that said I had served for two year, ten months, and some odd days, and had achieved the rank of electrician’s mate first class, and that my enlistment was null and void. That was a disaster, because I knew I would not get the G.I. Bill, mustering out pay, or anything. He just wanted to dump me out, and that would be the end of it.
He wanted to take my uniform away from me, but I said, “Then I’ll have to go home naked.”
He said, “Okay, wear it home, but send it back to us when you get home. Everything else in your sea bag you’ll have to turn over to the Shore Patrol”
The Shore Patrol drove me out to the gate and I started hitch hiking to Houston.
I arrived home with no discharge papers, but determined to go to college some way. Within a day or so of leaving the navy, and while I was still in uniform, I answered a Western Electric Company employment add in the paper. I had an interview, and mind you I was still in uniform. I told the interviewer my story and what my experience was, and he said, “We would really like to hire you but the problem is we can’t prove you are in the service, and we can’t prove you are not in the service. So, our hands are tied.”

I went home with my problem and discussed it with my Uncle Dock Pettit, who had been in the navy in World War I. He said, “Why don’t you go to the County Servicemens Center and talk to Jesse Caveness.” He was the service officer and a friend of the family by virtue of having gone to the same church as my family. I went to see Mr. Caveness and told him what had happened to me. He was irate that the navy would do this, and got busy on the problem. He wrote a letter to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, citing my story. In addition, he notified all the newspapers and our congressman, who at the time was Albert Thomas. The newspapers flocked to this story and spread it nationwide. As a result, I was getting phone calls from everywhere, mostly from young girls. I even got money from groups who said, “If the Navy won’t send you to college, maybe we can help.”
I couldn’t walk down the street without people recognizing me.
It took a little while, and there were ongoing stories in the newspapers as to what the status of my situation was. Then I got a call from a couple of oilmen in Houston and they asked me to come and see them. They told me that they were very proud of what I had done, and if I didn’t get the G.I. Bill, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll see that you go to college.”
I thought it was great that they would take an interest in my situation. Then I received a telegram from Congressman Albert Thomas. He said he had taken my case up with the Navy Department, and promised to do something about it. Later, I received another telegram from Congressman Thomas, saying he was sending me an honorable discharge, signed by Vice Admiral Lewis Denfield, Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel. So with the help of Jesse Caveness and Congressman Thomas, I got my honorable discharge and was able to go to college on the G.I. Bill. And due to the precedent set by my case, Calvin Graham was able to receive an Honorable Discharge in 1978, and medical benefits, which he was in need of.

I started to high school even though I had never graduated from junior high school. And even though there were other veterans there, the girls singled me out and I got a lot of attention while trying to be a student. Then I realized that I was using up too much of my G.I. Bill going to high school during the day, so I enrolled in evening classes, which I paid for out of my own pocket, and got a job during the day working for the Houston Lighting and Power Company. I continued that for about three years. I graduated from high school in 1948. I was accepted to Texas A&M University and started classes in the Fall of 1948. At the time, Texas A&M was all male and military. I chose not to be in the cadet corps, having already been in the military. I was studying electrical engineering and needed all the study time I could get. I graduated with a BS. Degree in electrical engineering in May 1952. After graduation, I received a number of employment offers, and selected Western Electric, the company that couldn’t hire me when I got out of the navy because I didn’t have a discharge. I worked for them as a field engineer, helping the navy install, and maintain radar gun fire control systems aboard navy vessels. I also taught radar and wrote training manuals for navy instructors. I was sent to the U.S. Six Fleet in the Mediterranean for six months, going from ship to ship, making sure the equipment was functioning properly. I joined a couple of other companies after that and went to Texas Instruments in 1959, left them in 1972, and returned in 1982. I retired from Texas Instruments for good in 1991.
Regarding the crew of LCI(L)-750--the captain was Lt.(jg) Sherman Allen Richard White from Sacramento, California. He was a graduate of the University of San Francisco, as I recall, and was a Navy Reserve officer. He was a nice guy, but a little out of his element as captain. He gave the impression of being from a well to do family. I recall the troops laughing at him as he peered over the conning tower with white sunscreen on his nose
The executive officer, Ens. L. Merel Collins, was a more rugged individual and the toughest of the officers. Before the war, he was a football hero of sorts at the University of Oklahoma, and became captain of LCI(L)-750 on 8 August 1945, when then Lt. White was detached while we were at Pearl Harbor en route to the U.S.
The engineering officer, Lt. (j.g.) Charles E. Bradley was an engineering graduate of the University of Chicago. He was a nice guy. He helped me with the math required to pass my tests for electrician’s mate second class and electrician’s mate first class, my math studies having stopped in the eighth grade. We remain in contact to this day. The communications officer, Ens. Merle E. Driver was our Mr. Roberts. He was every ones favorite officer due to his sense of humor and friendly ways. We also remain in contact. I was especially close to Joseph Lowy, radioman, Charles Barton, signalman and George N. Wade, quartermaster. I remained in contact with many of the crew until they died.
I organized a reunion of the LCI crew in 1979, in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was a wonderful experience. The officers are still living with the exception of Lt. White. The only crewmember of Tallulah I remain in contact with is B.J. Hogg, who resides near Houston, my hometown. He is currently in ill health.

My time in the navy was the most rewarding of my life, with the possible exception of the four years I spent at Texas A&M University. I learned so much so fast. Having risen to the rating of first class petty officer by the age of sixteen gave me a real sense of accomplishment and a very high degree of self-confidence that has helped me greatly throughout life. I am honored to have served in the U.S. Navy, and am proud to consider myself a member of the navy family. I have continued to work with the navy throughout my career, which included sailing for six months with the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean as a Western Electric Electronics Field Engineer on radar gun fire control systems. I adjusted very easily to navy life during the war because of my age. And I now understand how much more difficult it must have been for the older sailors who had wives and children.