Sailorboy:  Growing Up At War PDF download by Varrel Smith

Sailorboy: Growing Up At War

Publication date: September 2005
ISBN: 9781420876932
Digital Book format: PDF (DRM-Free)


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Just turned seventeen in the summer of 1942, Varrel Smith who had two older brothers already in the service drops out of his first real salaried job and his upcoming senior year of high school to join the Navy. After just four weeks of basic training he was soon on his way to sea duty. His ship was a highly unglamorous Navy tanker launched in 1917. Fortunately, they built them well then, and it survived two plus winters in the vicious weather of the Aleutian Island chain. There, he was almost washed overboard when reporting for night duty topside. And once the ship barely avoided sinking when a load of ice brought on by a flash freeze brought its main deck dangerously near the water level. There were brief visits to Seattle where the author combined visits home with his earliest experiences at drinking and girl chasing. A night of carousing that led to a complete blackout gave his shipmates good material for teasing him thereafter. Even near home there was a close call when he fell asleep at the wheel driving up into the hills for a visit with his parents. Fortunately the car went off the safe side of the road instead of over the cliff. Released from the rigors of the northern seas, the ship crossed the Central Pacific and took part in the Battle of Okinawa where Japanese suicide pilots inflicted the greatest damage the Navy has ever suffered. His battle station atop the bridge gave him a close look at the carnage around him, and in addition to close calls from the enemy he nearly had his head blown off by friendly fire because some baffles were not properly mounted on the guns below him. After the immense relief of war''s end, the ship took part in occupation duty in Korea. Here the author and his buddies ran across hungry children and handed over all the food they had brought for their lunch. When they left for home at last, these young sailors carried with them an even greater realization of what a misery is war.
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