by Dave in Texas
Dad enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Albany High School, on June 27, 1950. Two baseball friends, twin brothers, Walt and Wynn Strickland, enlisted with him.
Dad’s service number was 3282474 (he can recite it still, but you have to give him a moment).
Wynn’s was 3282475.
Wynn passed away in 2004.
Dad went to San Diego, and was enrolled in sonar school. He looked like this.
Big eared goober on the left.
While in SD, an officer heard about his high school baseball ability. He asked dad if he’d like to go to Hawaii to play football (go along with this boy, I’ll get you on a ball team).
My dad, exhibiting what generations of men in my family have demonstrated as judgement, said “oh hell yeah”.
And off he went. Two stripes on his sleeve.
The previous post, the 331 boat, was the 3rd sub he shipped out on. This was the first, the 524 boat, the USS Pickerel. Made famous by this picture.
An emergency surface test. Surfacing is important to a submarine, dad said with a straight face. Dad said this photo was a publicity shot, they were surrounded by ships and photographers who were not barfing or holding onto something.
Boats that served in Korea have kind of hidden service records. Kind of meaning a lot.
The USS Perch has an interesting story, early war. Pickerel’s is not known, but they received the same Submarine Combat Insignia as the Perch SSP 313.
The other boat dad shipped on was the 415 boat, the Stickleback.
But the last one he served on, the Bugara, was the one he was wounded on.
Dad joined the Navy because he didn’t want to be drafted into the Army. He was given a chance to do something he loved doing, playing baseball. In Hawaii. How cool is that?
As it turned out, not as cool as you’d think.
Dave has quite a few Memorial Day posts up at his blog. Go read them.