My dad was in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. His time in the Navy is what he tends to remember the most and he never tires talking about the places he saw while on his tours of duty.
Things I remember him telling me include:
- Buying a pair of binoculars to spy on the women at the topless beach
- Driving to and from Philadelphia in a car with a rumble seat.
- Eating chipped beef (and liking it!)
- Seeing the Rock of Gibraltar
- Being offered a job and the option to inherit the family business if he’d marry someone’s daughter (someone he was not in love with)
- The time he shook hands with Gary Cooper and gave him a cup of coffee. Cooper was on board my dad’s ship because it was being used in the film, You’re In the Navy Now.
Things I didn’t know, but learned today while going through a packet of his papers and photographs, were:
- he was an associate member of the Thorland Club — a club in Haiti, if the few sources I found on the Internet can be believed
- He crossed the Arctic Circle on November 12, 1949 and thus became a member of the Royal Order of Blue Noses.
- That my dad was among the first crew on the ship when it was commissioned, making him eligible to be a Plank Owner.
Looking at the post cards my dad bought while on his various tours of duty makes it look like his time in the Navy was akin to being on a cruise ship, but I’m sure he just told me the good parts. He probably had to work hard at his job and I’m willing to bet he was pretty good at it.