My Father The Sea Faring Sailor.


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My father served as a Sailor in the United States Navy from late 1948 to late 1954. Being the youngest of 8 children, 6 of them boys born to immigrant Irish parents in the coal mining region of Pennsylvania it was expected you either go to work in the mines or serve your country when you finished your education.

My father had lost 2 brothers during the WWII, one at Guadalcanal and one as a member of a B17 crew in the ETO. His other brothers had served variously in the Air Corps, Army , Marines and Navy. So he went in with a tad bit of knowledge and figured the Navy with beds and clean sheets best fit his idea of military life.

Upon Graduation of Navy Boot camp he was sent to the Yoemans course.Where he was trained to be a sea going secretary. Because he could type. However his first vessel was a destroyer commanded by a veteran of the Pacific war who believed that all his sailors should be seamen first and whatever candyassed other rate second.

Upon reporting aboard my father was assigned to the Chief Boatswains mate to learn to become a proper sailor. He learned all about making lines fast, chipping paint, painting, and lashing it up proper.
From there he went to the Gunnery Division where he learned to feed the 5 inch guns, and fire the 30mm bofors still present on the tin cans of the time.
He had but one thing left to do. Quartermaster. In the naval service the Quarter Master steers the vessel. In concept not an overly hard duty. The Captain or whatever officer has Con of the vessel gives the instructions, and the quarter master repeats and makes it so. As in .

Three Five Degrees Port.

Three Five Degrees Port Aye Sir.

And Steer the Vessel.

My father learned all his lessons and was finally at the helm with an LPO at his elbow. When suddenly the Claxon went off. It was a Man Overboard Drill.

The Captain gave his commands as the vessel was steered by my father.

The Captain shouted . "Right Full Rudder."

My Father Responded " Right Full Rudder .Aye Sir."

Then promptly steered the Ship Left Full Rudder running over the drill dummy.

The Captain stared at my father with a piercing gaze and said.

"Sailor. As a Yeoman . I hope you type a :cen: of alot better than you drive a destroyer.
He didn't get a nick name from that incident but. A couple of years later he was stationed at The Navy Yard in Charleston SC as part of yard operations. During Hurricane season his section was assigned to stand watches helping the weather weenies track Storms and Hurricanes.

During one particular alert my father was plotting the course of a hurricane on the charts as a Lt. (JG) read off coordinates. My father has always been a math whiz so with protractor in hand and smoking grease pencil he plotted the most probable land fall for the hurricane as it threatened the coast of the Carolinas.

After plotting the coordinates given to him my father was asked by the Lt (jg) if he had a good plot. "Yes Sir." My Father answered, handing the chart to the Lt..
The officer got a befuddled look and Croaked "Long Island? New York?"

My father had used the wrong Chart.

Forever after his nickname was "Charts". To this day some old friends of his will call and ask to speak with Charts.