Monthly Archives: October 2011
On a beautiful August day, a month shy of Georges 18th Birthday, he made the decision to enlist in the service. George was residing in Kensington at the time and had to commute via the “L” train in order to make it to 12th and Market to sign up. George was just about a block away from the recruiter when he heard someone running behind him – George looked back and noticed his mother visibly upset, pleading for him not to go. George’s mother wanted him to hold off until he was 18 in which she would not hold him back. George held off.
Once George turned 18, he enlisted in the Navy. He was told to head home and they would advise when it would be time to be sworn in. George received the call to meet at the 5th Naval District, located at 12th and Market, which was on top of the Earle Theater in Philadelphia. When George arrived, he walked upstairs into a crowded room where numerous men were being sworn in. Through the crowded room, George recognized a gentlemen he went to Elementary school with. George liked the idea of serving with a familiar guy and a buddy too. After being sworn in, George was happy to hear he would be sent to Sampson NY Naval Base along with his buddy to complete boot camp. October 2nd, 1944 George arrived at boot camp.
George was assigned to the “G” Unit otherwise known as “Gestapo Unit”. This Unit particularly was perceived to be extremely tough. George was happy to be assigned to such a strict Unit in order to become better prepared for war. With this Unit, mornings meant the need to have their knitted watch caps up off their ears all while standing at attention – you weren’t even able to be outside with your collar up. After ten weeks of training came Graduation; unfortunately, they weren’t allowed to have any leave time. Luckily, George and his buddy were assigned to the same ship, a Destroyer Escort where they went to Mare Island. Upon their arrival on the ship, the ship was sent to have an upgrade to its weapon system and also obtain a new radar.
George completed his mission at Mare Island and was sent on a 30 day leave. George headed home. After the 30 days, he reported to the Philadelphia Navy Yard not too far from his home. Soon after, George was ordered to catch a train to California, he then hopped on a troop ship to Guam and was quickly put on another troop ship to Chan High China. George was missioned to a house boat on the Yangtze River where they housed sailors with whom did not yet have a ship to report to. One day, George and his fellow sailors were shooting the breeze and noticed a ship headed towards them. George had hoped this would be the ship he would ride home. As the ship grew closer, he noticed it was a Destroyer Escort Moore #240. Later that afternoon, George was notified he would be onboard the Moore #240 on his trip back to the states. The ship sailed through the Panama Canal to the East Coast and docked at the Charleston SC Navy Yard. George was sent to the Bainbridge MD Naval Base, received his discharge papers and headed home.
It has been a privilege getting to know George’s story and I am very grateful for his service in keeping our country safe.