“I RECEIVED ’GREETINGS’ FROM THE PRESIDENT”
After graduating from Kelvyn Park High School in Chicago in June 1945, I waited for the Draft Board to call me. Getting impatient, I called the Board and asked when I would be drafted. The lady said that the names are drawn at random and not known ahead of time, but if I wanted to join the service I should go down to the Navy Recruiting Office; they were looking for candidates for the V-5 Aviation Program and I could go to college. That sounded good to me so I went.
This led to the first unexpected and "unusual" event because out of 8 of us applying, none of us were accepted. Four didn't pass the mental exams, 2 couldn't pass the eye test and the seventh failed because his gums bled when they were touched.
I was rejected because of a deviated septum (not enough breathing capacity in my "pug" nose). My mother was a nurse and she knew a doctor who had done many of these operations for the Air Force. He took a hammer and a chisel and pounded off a few bone slivers inside my nose. He then shoved 2 boards up my nose … in the middle of the night I sneezed and my heart pounded in my nose the rest of the night.
After 2 weeks I was declared OK and went back to the Navy. They looked up my nose and said, "Fine, let's sign the papers". I said, "OK, but just today (true) I received 'Greetings' from the President". When I showed the letter they called the Draft Board and then told me to go and talk to the Board. When I met with the Board they said, "Where are your papers from the Navy?" When I came back again, the head of the Board said, "You go ahead, the Navy can get you for more than we can," As I was signing the papers, after all this delay, the lady at the recruiting office said, "incidentally, the class has been .filled and you will have to wait until the next semester."
Two weeks later the Navy called me and asked if I could be ready to go after all. I then had to say good-by all over again. In November of 1945 I was sent to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York as a V-5, Apprentice Seaman for the first year.
The Program was then shut down and I was given the choice of going to summer school or flying. I said that was no choice. I went to NAAS Livermore, California for "E Base" training in the summer, flying the N2S Stearman "Yellow Peril"
I was discharged at the Naval Station in Long Beach. When we went down there we said, "We have to be discharged right away because we have to go to college". They said, "Oh yeah, we have 3 to 5 year veterans here waiting to go home ... you get back in line!". Someone finally called Washington and explained the situation. I went back home and to Illinois University at the Navy Pier in Chicago. After the second year of college I went to Pensacola and joined Class 15-47 ... after 22 years I retired.