|As told by:|
CT WAVES AND LOVE!
I enlisted in January 1953 and spent Boot Camp at Bainbridge, MD. I went to Radio school at NTC San Diego and CTR school at Imperial Beach, CA. I reported to NavSecSta, Nebraska Ave. in D.C. and was assigned to Arlington Hall Station for some months, returned to NSS and worked in Com. Center until I received my orders to Bremerhaven, Germany.
I was one of ten original WAVES to receive orders to Bremerhaven. I was assigned to Baker and Dog sections while there. I arrived in Bremerhaven in May-June time frame of 1956, followed by the "first" Marines in that same year! Jim (my future husband) entered the Navy in 1949 and became a CTA around 1951 or so. He was stationed in D.C. and then to Port Lyautey, Morocco and came up to Bremerhaven in 1955, I believe.
Bremerhaven is where we met and were married in February 1957. Jim received orders in May 1957 to CINCLANTFLT. We were expecting our first child by that time. As you know, things were different then and I had to be discharged.
The rest is history! Jim retired after 23 years in the Navy in 1972. We have had a very good Navy life and I would not trade my brief Navy career for anything!
YOUR BUG IS READY!
I was at Bremerhaven several times, the first being in early 1958 on the way to Todendorf. I had just finished a tour at Nebraska Avenue.
The Master-at-Arms let me bunk behind his shack while waiting for transport. This took about two weeks. Think I was a 3rd class then. Not much to do during day but try to find some of my shipmates from Adak and Nebraska Avenue. The only one I remember was Don Jensen but I'm sure there were others; I just don't remember their names. Don and I kept in contact for several years after I was discharged in 1959.
The only bar I remember was something called the Atlantic. That's where the girls were. The EM Club was very nice and I spent several evenings there. When we would come down from Todendorf on a courier run we would usually hang out there or in town.
One morning I was advised by the MA that my "transport" had arrived. I remember looking out the window expecting to see a sedan or at least a truck but there was only a yellow VW! Seems someone was passing through on leave and I was expected to ride with him. Unfortunately, he had his girlfriend with him and I had to ride in the back with my seabag. Man was it cramped. We got to Todendorf fairly late but everyone turned out to welcome us. The barracks and operations area were in the same building and I would describe it as "ratty", compared to Bremerhaven. About the same as the "J" at Adak.
I spent the better part of a year at Todendorf. There wasn't much to do unless you went to Kiel or Copenhagen, which we did often. We stood our watches and had the next two days off which made it nice for traveling. One thing I do remember was on the adjacent German navy base, which we had full access, they had a canteen that served beer all day. Periodically, the OIC or his henchman, raided the place during the day watch. Also, we were supposed to eat at the Army chow hall but the food was awful so we usually had food brought in to us from one of the gasthauses just outside the base.
The German sailors looked after us and came by often to take us to the equivalent of a barn dance in the country side. Very interesting. They also had a very nice recreational facility in Kiel where we played volleyball.
Another place we used to go was a bowling alley in Kiel-Elmschenhagen. They had a couple of 10-pin alleys down in the basement.
I came back through Bremerhaven in March of 1959 on the way to the Brooklyn Navy yard to be discharged. Drank a lot of beer, said our farewells and boarded the Alexander Patch for a 13 day trip.
Before joining Alfa Section and moving to the luxurious accommodations of Building 9, I led a pretty grim existence on the third deck of Building 8. One cool autumn night I was nearly washed out to sea by my neighbor. Apparently feeling no pain after two bottles of Moselle, he forgot that the radiator in his room was under repair. So, before passing out on his rack, he opened a valve and sent a surge of hot, steamy water through an open pipe into my room. I woke from a sound sleep thinking I was in a steambath. Was this a dream? I can still picture that unconscious sailor laying there while I closed the valve.
This is my famous story from Bremerhaven. While standing 24 hour watch, we were allowed to sleep after 10 PM on a fold out metal bunk, the guys in my section found out I was a solid sleeper and carried the bed and me outside and set me in a snow bank. They said it took me over an hour to get cold enough to wake up!
The Field Problem
My first field problem was just like being a kid again and playing war, which was just exactly what we were doing. After three years of war experience, I was the squad leader on my last field problem and did we have a great time. We started off by capturing an old German farmer and his wife who just happened to be driving their tractor through our area. It was a good laugh but we had to let them go about their business. We had our machine gun set up beneath a rather large bush with a comfortable foxhole dug beneath the branches. When the Marines sneaked up on us that night they had no idea we were even there. Surprise, surprise, surprise! One of them fell in our hole and of course we immediately made him a casualty of war. Being a good Marine he did not enjoy being killed by a bunch of sailors so he dropped a grenade simulator in our hole on his way back to his area and the surprise was on us.
The greatest thing to happen that night was when CT2's Montgomery and Lindsey attempted to fire a flare for light. The flare stayed in their foxhole and just bounced around with those two guys dancing around and trying to vacate the foxhole. I seem to recall one of them complaining that their socks had been melted and they didn't have anymore.
The Man Who Wasn't There or just another Navy SNAFU
"I was a CTSN right out of A-school when I arrived Bremerhaven in 1961. I was assigned to R&D down in the basement. I made CTT3 while there and left in 1963 to go aboard the USS Georgetown. I've looked into several NAVSECGRU sites and you'd find it very hard to track me. I was in one of the first CTR classes at Corry Station but was pulled out of R-school and sent to T-school at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, thus, I'm not shown as having ever been to Corry because class pictures are taken at the end of your schooling. When I got to the Georgetown after leaving Bremerhaven the ship was still in the shipyard being converted from a liberty ship to a communications ship, so to fill the gap between then and the time it would be ready, I was sent to the SA-100 school at NSA-Fort Meade, MD. When I returned for the shakedown cruise they didn't have a job for me with my new schooling so I spent the rest of my time on active duty at Cheltenham, MD. You guessed it -- no record of me being on the Georgetown either."
"After I was discharged in August 1964, I got a letter from the DOD in the spring of 1965 asking me to report to the Reserve Center in Rockford, Ill. I went down there and they asked if I wanted to re-enlist because they were short of people with my training. I told them no. They then told me they were assigning me a reserve center in Janesville, WI. I laughed and said I had 4 years of active duty and didn't need to go into the reserves. They then reminded me that I had a 6 year time frame, as all enlistees have, and they could make me serve it any way they deemed necessary. Janesville wasn't a SECGRU center and the Chief there told me I could request a transfer to the inactive reserves after my fifth year. I sent in my request and it was denied. I was going to be getting married and the reserves weren't too bad, so I decided to stay in for a while. Only one problem, when it came to what I thought was time to go up for CTT1, they said I didn't have enough time in grade. Since I had been out for more the 6 months, I lost my time in grade. Well, I put my 2 years in and when I was to take the test they said they couldn't give it to me because they couldn't handle top secret tests! I got mad and got out again. About 8 months later they called and said that they found out that I could have gone to the SECGRU unit in Madison, WI and taken the test there. Well, I decided to join in Madison, but guess what? I was out for over 6 months so I had to wait 2 years again to get my time in grade. Well, I finally got to take the 1st class test ---- got PNA'd three times because money in the reserves was tight. Then, in December of 1978, I had the first of my three corneal transplants in my left eye. As a result of that surgery, I had triple vision in that eye with glasses. Uncle Sam said that I needed 20/20 vision with glasses and since I couldn't get that I was dropped. I have normal vision with contacts though. So to recap: 4 yrs. Active + 12 yrs. Reserves = Nothing for Retirement! So, as you can see, I had a very interesting military non-career, but I loved every minute of it."