United States Navy Man
If the great depression formed Dad, World War II molded his outlook on life. On March 5, 1945, at age 18, he eagerly joined the Navy, hoping to connect with the troops overseas to beat the Nazis and fascists. Finishing high school was trivial next to this greater ambition.
Dad spent his Navy years at the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk Virginia, where he earned the rank of Coxswain. Wikipedia defines coxswain as:
“The coxswain is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering…In rowing, the coxswain sits in either the bow or the stern… while verbally and physically controlling the boat’s steering, speed, timing and fluidity. The primary duty of a coxswain is to ensure the safety of those in the boat. In a race setting, the coxswain is tasked with motivating the crew as well as steering as straight a course as possible to minimize the distance to the finish line.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxswain
Coxswain is a good description of how my Dad lived his life post-Navy.
Much to his disappointment the war ended before Dad had a chance to go overseas. On October 31, 1946, Dad received an honorable discharge and a medal called “Victory World War II, American Area.”
Ever the poet and patriot, Dad wrote about an unknown soldier:
In my next blog you’ll hear about the American Dream dad-style.