Adventures of a Seabee
As I stated in the first of this series, my dad was a Seabee and was stationed for a time at the training base in Davisville, Rhode Island. Dad's rank was a Seaman 1st. His job at the time was serve as an SP (Shore Patrol) as he awaited his shipping out orders. SP duty was a duty everyone had to do. Dad had drawn the 12:00 am to 8:00 am shift.
Now, the transport trains came right onto the base. The various passenger cars came from all over to bring the service men to Davisville for Military Training. On this particular duty shift, there where 3 Sp's on duty and each was given one of the 3 passenger cars to check in. Dad's assigned car was from the Great Lakes Training Center near Chicago. Each SP had a Muster List which had the Name, Rank & Serial Number of each in coming sailor. The SP's would go aboard the Passenger Car and give directions. "OK, let's line up and go out this door. As you come off the train, I'll check you off against the list." So, dad got off the train first and checked each name against his list. After they where off the train, they lined up in formation and where re-verified against the list.
Dad noticed that they where all wearing their combat boots as they where just out of military training. In those days, the training was only 3 weeks long, where as today it's about 10 weeks.
Also, in those days you where given your rank according to your trade and experience. Where as today, it's given through training and tests. So, most of these guys out ranked my dad, but his rank was not displayed on his pea coat, just his SP band.
As dad went back through his list, he asked each individual his name, rank and serial number. When he got to one individual, the response was "Anthony Krall".
My dad asked "Where do I know you from?" "Don't know sir".
"Where's your home?" "Michigan".
"Where?" "North of Detroit".
"Roseville or Mount Clemens?" "Why did you ask Mount Clemens?"
"Cause I'm from Mount Clemens."
Dad gave him his name, but it didn't mean anything.
So Krall asked "Who's your dad?" "George Pointer" Still didn't recognize.
My dad gave him his mother's maiden name "Charbeneau". Krall happened to live on Rathbone near the Charbeneau's. My dad asked "Do you remember High Speed Gas Station ? Rene Denewith is the owner?" Krall said that he took all his business there. "That's where I know you from. I worked there after school." (You see, dad was 17 and Anthony Krall was about 31.)
Krall said to dad "No one knew this wouldn't be easy." "No it's not, you're here for Military Training."
"OK, let's move down to the Mess Hall." With only 3 weeks training at Great Lakes, some still didn't know their left from their right, so it was not a tight formation. Some complained that it was to early for breakfast. I forgot to mention that the train pulled in at 4:15 am. Dad said they had to eat now because the next meal wasn't until noon.
(The Providence Biltmore Hotel)
They went in and up to the Desk. The Lobby was full of Military people, mostly officers and all different branches of the service.