In April 1944 I joined the US Naval Reserve. I wanted to fly, but both the Navy and the Air Force pilot training pipelines were full and I wanted to get in the big war now. Three days after graduating from HS in May 1944 I was on my way to boot camp. Thus started my military career. It was a big jump for a farm kid from Iowa.





Submarine Service 1945-46

Since the war dominated everything in those days I couldn't wait to graduate and join the service. My older brother had joined in 1941 and made landings in Africa, Sicily, and Normandy so things were very personal. I Joined the Navy in April 1944 and volunteered for submarines.




Albuquerque Plaque

Veterans of World War II Submarine Service


World War II

While in boot camp I volunteered for the Submarine Service (if I couldn't fly I'd go the other way). Apparently my scores on the IQ test and the aptitude tests were quite good and the powers that be insisted I should go to a technical school so I chose torpedo school, advanced torpedo school, electric torpedo school and finally submarine schoool. I graduated from sub schoool just about on VJ day. I then made a few short training cruises in the Atlantic on the USS Tigrone and then was assigned to help decommission the USS Tench. I was discharged in July 1946 and returned to Iowa where I entered college in September.

There were several things that happened that I wasn't aware of because they didn't publish many things due to security. I did not realize how many ships were sunk just off our coasts. I did not know a tanker had been sunk by a sub in NY harbor. When you hear of all the screw ups and poor decisions you wonder how we won the war. The fact is wars are not executed in a smooth manner. The plans made are often excellent, but as soon as the shooting starts the enemy doesn't always react as you expect. It is amazing we accomplish anything anymore with continuous political posturing,second guessing or deliberately criticizing every thing that does not go as desired. We were so ill prepared when the war began it is amazing that we did as well as we did. Unfortunately it cost many lives, but in the end we overcame. We can be very thankful we had such an industrial capability as to bury the enemy in WWII.



Love at First Sight


In May 1947 I met a student nurse and it was instant love. Darlene and I were married in November and I decided to stay at Coe and major in chemistry. I also was taking advanced USAF ROTC because they paid me $31 a month. I was commissioned in the AF reserve in June 1948.

In July 1949 our daughter, Gayle, was born. In August 1950 with 40 semester hours of chemistry and a fellowship to Iowa U we had completed all arrangements to move to Iowa City and I fully intended to proceed to a PhD in chemistry.