- Seaman First Class
- WW II
- Ribbons awarded: Asiatic-Pacific Theater, Philipine Liberation, European Theater
- Gunner on a Merchant Ship
The Armed Guard is a branch of the US Navy. It’s a volunteer service like the submarines because there is more risk involved. Instead of 8 weeks in Boot Camp, I had only 4 weeks. I was then sent to Gulfport, Mississippi for gun training for an additional 4 weeks. After training I was sent to the New York City Armed Guard Center. Then, I was assigned to a ship in Philadelphia, the SS Walker Taylor. It had just returned from North Africa. It was all loaded with ammunition and tanks when we boarded and was ready to go to sea and join a Convoy.
While in New York City I picked up a large 5’ X 5’ world map. The ship that led the Convoy put up the latitude and longitude every day that showed our location so, I marked it on my map and was able to keep track of where I was on the ocean. From all appearances we were headed to the Straits of Gibraltar so I marked that on the map too.
We entered the Mediterranean Sea and followed the African Coast because the Americans were invading Sicily. As we left the Mediterranean we entered the Suez Canal. By then we knew that we were going to the Persian Gulf. There was a lot of phosphorus in the water and it caused streaks of light in the wake of the ship. We saw hundreds of porpoises and they left streaks of light all around as they swam.
The people were very poor and starving. Every night the garbage cans were raided and fought over by the natives for whatever food they could find. We could see them sitting by the roadsides picking the lice and fleas from their hair. It was quite an experience and we were glad when it was time to leave. Our ship was heading to South Africa and we crossed the equator on Christmas.
Dan was the first veteran to be enshrined on the granite Honor Wall of the Wilderness Veterans Memorial Flame, Presque Isle, WI.