I had a week to decide what I could do to Keep my record in tack, and avoid Navy justice. At first it looked like I had no other option. I report to the M.P.’s at the Great Lakes gate. However, I was not resigned to that fate. Paper work in the Navy always took considerable time. I thought that I could be out before anyone knew I was there. What I did was not a serious crime. Thousands did it. That was the plan, How was I going to accomplish it?
I would have to get into Great Lakes without an I.D. If I waited until seven thirty A.M., there would be a large rush for the gate. Eight A.M. you had to be at your work detail. I would wait until the crowd formed, then I would position my self as close to the center of the crowd as I could get. Everyone would be holding an I.D. card raised above their head as the walked through the gate. This was the same on all bases. I would be holding a plastic I.D. card I received when I bought my wallet. I would stay on base until I was discharged. DEAR GOD, make this work.
It was a Monday morning. My leave would be up at eight. I was waiting for the rush to the gate. I was not wrong the North Shore train would produce all of the sailors I would need. As we made it to the gate, I positioned myself right in the middle of that mass of humanity. Raised my hand, not too high, and walked right through. (Heart pounding all the time.)
I knew that I would have to sign in at main sides, so I headed for the main building, and the bulletin board. The board had a notice to new personnel who were scheduled for discharge. It indicates that with so many people being processed, they would do them in groups. I would watch for my name to come up. It would take a little time. Being a store keeper, I would report to the supply department. There were more people then jobs to do. I gave them my name, and was told to inventory the shoe department, with the help of two other storekeepers.
There were large boxes of shoes. We would have to bring them out, check the sizes and get a count of what was there. Some of the boxes were so old, and so dusty that we were sure that they were there from the first world war. We found that most of those old shoes were of a large size. Nobody could fill them. There was one pair that was a size fourteen. There were several comments on the fellow who cold fill them. He must have been one big dude. We speculated that when he was in boot camp they did not have his size. He probably was allowed to use the shoes he came with, and ordered shoes that would fit him. He either shipped out before he got his new shoes, or washed out. In either way the navy had two gun boats that they did not know about.
Time dragged. I wanted to see June again. It went so easy that I would risk it to be with her. She was right for me that I knew. Anyone who was waiting discharge could have leave so I waited for the big crowd to hit the gate, and away I went. I don’t know how many times I did this, but I wanted to see June. It wasn’t that we did that much, but we enjoyed talking and being with each other. I hate to say it but I was spending more time with June than my family.
And then the day came. My name came up on the board. With about fifty other men we were given a speech, and released. The last act, was to put our I.D. cards in a box. We filed in line and when it was my turn I put my empty hand in the box, and drew it out. We were given our pins, (the ruptured duck) three hundred dollars, and sent on our way. I was out of the Navy. With my duck on my uniform, no campaign bars, as they were stolen off of my uniform while I was working. I walked out of that base for the last time.
Thank you for spending this time with "MY MEMORIES." I hope that you have enjoyed reading them as much as we have presenting them to you. We would love to hear from you.