(Written prior to expedition)
Before I start my account of the trip which will be in my own very simple language and the day by day details and perhaps thoughts that I experience. I think that I ought to give a slight picture of what has occurred previous to this undertaking. First, a short discussion of my social life. That we’ll say started with my first association with school (kindergarten). The whole idea was simply a large hallucination of a terrible thing that was fashioned to intrude on my sacred privilege of freedom and hence the first day found me running home from school early.
Some how my peanut brain finally got the idea that it was all for my own good so for the next 13 years I endured it. I can say that I never truthfully enjoyed going to school but I did like to show off the knowledge that I grasped (author went on to eventually earn his PhD ). After completing 3 years of schooling at Lansing (name of elementary school in Watertown, NY), I then continued at Thompson school (also in Watertown) it was there that I picked up some acquaintances that I hope are destined to be my lifelong friends (Bill Wiley, Earnest Newmark, Norma Rothschild, and oodles more)
Five years more passed and I perceived our little family moving to our present residence at Broadway Ave. West (also in Watertown). I was then a big gun Jr. High student and I invited more people into my circle of close friends (Val Ohrt, Pete Scholl, Leo Dephtereos, Bill Coty, Phil Phillipson, Art Alpert, Susie Calkins, Allan Kemp, BobTyllessley, Whit Harrington, Charles Maresella, Milt Scofield, etc). We used to have great fun with our bicycles (hikes, night riding) and tennis matches etc.
In Jr. High Mr. Staley (later an army lieutenant) used to be my favorite teacher.
Yep, it was a great day when I made the Paul Bunyan step into the next temple of knowledge. My first day there (for the records, it appeared old and gloomy and so very strange) was truly enough to deflate my ego. I had just graduated from a school where as a senior one was looked up to and considered and example. Now what did I find but that I was just another freshie who had to fight and run to protect himself from being plastered (literally) by lipstick, etc. Most of my good friends were there with me which made things much easier.
I studied a good deal in this institution of higher learning and came out in the upper 7th of my class. Don’t get the idea that I let school interfere with my social life. I built up new friendships in the way of Bob Adams, Don Morgan, Bob Dibble, Joyce Calkins, Mary Alice Burke and many others. We did so many things that were most pleasant that I just have to keep them as terrific memories to save space.
June 27th 1945 was the day I graduated and could officially wear my graduation ring that Grandma Miller gave me. During that summer I met a lot of kids on Boyd Street that I had seen before but never took the trouble of meeting. Bob Adams and I went on our second canoe trip which provided endless pleasures along with hard work. (I have the pictures we took with me now and I look at them often)
I had been working for the Watertown Times since February 1944 and in the fall went into their advertising department.
My birthday, on November 15, 1945, found me 18 and also registering with my draft board. I decided that I would wait and be drafted with my buddy Bob Adam, January 16th, 1946. We both passed our army physicals. He went then but I decided to return home and get called the next month. After inquiring at the draft board I found that I would have to wait two months before being called. I volunteered to leave early and it was accepted. A few days before I was to leave, I sprained my ankle and was deferred. Well, that gave me time do some thinking (about time, too). After talking with Phil Phillipson and Bob Dibble, we decided to join the Navy. They passed their physical but I returned home because I have a cold at that time. I had to get the draft board to postpone sending the induction notice so I would have a chance to go to Albany again for my test. I left home March 3rd and was sworn in March 4th. March 5th we arrived at Bainbridge to start boot (camp). Bob and Phil were a couple of companies ahead of me, but their barracks were right next to mine.
Due to my shots, I went to the hospital during my second week and stayed there for over three weeks. Bob did a couple of stretches in the hospital also so we both lost our companies and hence we too were separated. Phil got his leave and shipped out on the carrier Randolph. After its being delayed by a coal strike, Bob and I also got ours. We all had a pretty tough time in boots (especially getting up at 4AM, but I guess that everybody does). Bob and I had a good time in H2Otown (Watertown) on our leave, but all god things had to end so in June we went back to Bainbridge again. Bob went to corps school and came out HA 1 /C from there he went to Sampson (Naval Base) (125 miles from home).
I was sent to aerographer mates school (which I had never heard of) for a 16 wk course on weather. We had loads of fun there besides learning a lot (I managed to come out in the upper 5th because I guess I had some pretty good gyp sheets) (he joked). Mel Pollack, Don DeLonge, Dick Phister and I palled around together . Mel and Don went to Washington and Dick to Pensacola. I wish I could paint a vivid picture of some of the things that I did there at Lakerhurst, NJ (where the weather school was).
We had Waves quarters (no Waves, naturally). There were three of us in a room that had dressers, tables, closets and a sinks. Tweren’t bad. That was class 78 of weather school.
I got a six day leave out of school and also made seaman 1/C. From home I went down to Norfolk for temporary duty on the Pine Island AV-12. That was Oct 18, 1946. October 30th I got another leave (10 days)and everyone was surprised to see me home again. I had lots of fun as usual but the time came for me to don my blues again and it was Portsmouth, VA, here I come.
Out of the 75 of us that volunteered for the mission to the Antarctic, 16 of us were picked. Those that came to Norfolk with me were Donald and Ronald Lopp (twins) , Lewis Burke, Bill Keyser, Allan Caldwell, Ralph Simpson, and Roland Pipenbrink. Caldwell was transferred to the DD Brownson , Keyser and Burke to the icebreaker Northwind, and the Lopps to our flagship, Olympus.