By Loyde W. McIllwain & Jon YimOn Dec, 19, 1972, an OV-10 Bronco observation plane flew through the scattered clouds over South Vietnamâs northern region west of the South China Sea. At the controls was Air Force pilot Capt. Frank Egan. His aerial observe (AO), a Marine officer known by the call sign, “Wolfman 44”, carefully searched for enemy activity in the rain soaked jungle and mountains below.
One of Fuller’s posts caught the attention of members on the US Marines heritage community website, TogetherWeServed.com (Marines TWS). After reading the information posted by Fuller, several members took-on his quest as their personal mission. Within days of the post, there were many leads to the possible identity of Wolfman 44 but none panned-out.
On New Year’s Day 2010, a TogetherWeServed.com administrator received a phone call from former Army Specialist Mark Stovall, a member of the Marines’ sister site, Army TWS. Stovall saidhe had first-hand knowledge of the events of Dec 19, 1972: He was the one who pulled Capt. Frank Egan from his downed aircraft.
Captain Egan didn’t eject, recalls Stoval. “I found him still strapped in his seat. I can’t remember if he (Wolfman 44) was in the bird when I got there or was running like hell with me to get there himself.”
Stovall added that it’s hard for him to recall exactly what happened with all the activity that was going on at the time, as combat adrenaline tends to lend itself to distorted sensory perception.
“I don’t remember much about Wolfman getting to Da Nang with us,” said Stovall. “But I have to assume Wolfman got there as well and was likely taken to the Gunfighter Compound at Da Nang Air Base because I didn’t see him at (our) compound and it was just across the road.”
As to Wolfman 44’s name, Stovall said it must be in Air Force records of the event, since the Army had nothing in their documents mentioning any names of those flying with Egan that day. “It says the pilot died from ‘injuries incurred during ejection,” Stoval recounts. “That was wrong, of course, because I found him still strapped-in.”
The search for Wolfman 44 went on as Fuller and Stovall, along with Marines TWS members, pressed-on by keeping track of every lead. Then on Jan. 5, 2011, a big break came from a Marines TWS member, retired Marine Sergeant Major James Butler.
“There was an aerial observer in our unit, a 1st Lt. J.F. Patterson,” said Butler. “He was recommended for the Purple Heart in Dec. 1972.”
With that vital piece of information, Marines TWS members called upon their vast resources to locate information on 1st Lt. Patterson. As it was a common name, there were several leads. TWS members narrowed and focused the search on those that fell within the age range to have served in Vietnam; narrowing a list to seven possibilities scattered throughout the United States.
The search for the enigmatic “Wolfman 44” was officially ended with a post on the Marines TWS site by member George Reilly of the TWS Personal Locator service: “Warren is on the phone with Wolfman 44 right now!”
After some 38 years of searching, former Capt. Jonathan F. Patterson, aka “Wolfman 44,”was located and reunited with Capt. Warren Fuller.
In a letter to all the Army and Marine TWS members involved in the successful search of Wolfman 44, Fuller wrote, “Today, my wife Janie and I hosted a luncheon with Jon and his wife Gail in Winston-Salem, NC at a very nice restaurant called Paulâs Fine Italian Dining. We talked about many things over lunch, but the topic of the OV-10 shot down on December 19, 1972 always seemed to surface. I also learned this was Jonâs 3rd ejection out of an OV-10. Jon and I will continue to stay in touch.”
Jon Patterson is now a member of Marines TWS, the website whose members worked every lead and put a name to the call sign “Wolfman 44.”
IF YOU HAVE A STORY ABOUT FINDING AND REUNITING WITH AN OLD FRIEND AS A RESULT OF TOGETHERWESERVED, PLEASE CONTACT ADMIN HERE. WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR STORY.
View the service history of reporter:
1stLt Hughes Rudd US Army Air Corps (Served 1941-1945)
View his Service Profile on TogetherWeServed.com
Short Bio: Hughes Rudd, was a puckish, curmudgeonly newscaster who once incurred the wrath of thousands of Midwesterners by describing Detroit as “Cleveland without the glitter,” served in WWII as a “Liason Spotter” during WWII.
The 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division (known as “The Cottonbalers” from their use of a cotton bale breastworks during the Battle of New Orleans under Andrew Jackson), has served in more campaigns than any other infantry unit in the United States Army. In World War II, the regiment fought German forces on three fronts, North Africa, Italy, and Northwest Europe, quite probably serving more time in combat than any other regiment in the U.S. Army during the war.
The regiment’s numerous WWII actions include four separate amphibious landings against enemy beach defenses, earning the coveted spearhead device on the campaign streamers awarded for each of these operations: Morocco in November, 1942 as part of Operation Torch (the Allied campaign to clear the Axis powers from North Africa); Sicily in July, 1943 as part of Operation Husky, and Anzio in January, 1944 as part of Operation Shingle – where the regiment conducted a breakout and drove towards Rome (both landings in the Allied campaign to clear the Axis powers from Italy); and Southern France in August, 1944 as part of Operation Dragoon, advancing up the Rhone River Valley and driving the German forces back to the German frontier.
After fighting the retreating Germans in the Vosges Mountains near the German border in eastern France, and pushing them back to Colmar, central Alsace, France, where the 7th helped clear the bitterly-defended Colmar Pocket in January, 1945, the regiment finally crossed the Rhine River into Germany in March, 1945. They took part in the seizure of Munich in April, 1945, and then headed for Austria, reaching the Salzburg area where elements of the 7th helped capture Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden as the war ended.
One of the Soldiers fighting in those battles was Garlin Murl Conner. Conner was born June 2, 1919 on a several-hundred-acre family farm in Clinton County, Kentucky, where his family raised livestock and grew hemp, cotton, tobacco, and corn. Drafted into the Army like so many other young men, he was sent to Fort Lewis for basic training in March, 1941. Following basic training, he was then assigned to K Company, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and deployed overseas to fight the Germans in North Africa, and ended up serving in French Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sicily, Italy, and France.
Not surprisingly, the farm boy was also a good soldier, easily rising through the ranks from private to sergeant, earning a battlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant, and then a promotion to 1st Lieutenant. And by the time the war was over, he was the “second most decorated soldier” of World War II. Audie Murphy, also a member of the 3rd Infantry Division, was recognized as America’s most decorated hero of World War II.
By the spring of 1945, Conner had earned four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the second highest military award for extreme gallantry, the Distinguished Service Cross. He also received the French Croix de Guerre or “Cross of War.”
Conner earned his Distinguished Service Cross in action against enemy forces on January 24, 1945, in the vicinity of Houssen, France where the division Soldiers battled two enemies: German forces and icy, bone-chilling weather where daily temperatures averaged 10 degrees below zero. The night was equally cold with no moonlight.
Earlier that day, Conner, who had been badly wounded in the hip, sneaked away from a field hospital and made his way back to his unit’s camp. Around 8 am, his commanding officer was seeking a volunteer for a suicide mission: Run 400 yards directly toward the enemy while unreeling telephone wire all the way to the front-line trenches, in order to establish an observation post and call in targeting coordinates for mortar and artillery fire.
Disregarding his injured hip, Conner volunteered and ran the 400 yards through intense enemy fire and established a forward artillery observation post and began calling in artillery strikes against attacking Germans. During his dash, he crossed the impact zone of a heavy concentration of enemy artillery fire, with shells exploding a mere 25 yards away. For three hours, he held his position against wave after wave of German attackers who came at times within 15 feet, holding off 600 enemy Soldiers and 6 German Mark VI tanks.Ordered to vacate his position, he instead ordered artillery to concentrate their fire on his location. During the battle, Conner was responsible for 150 German casualties, including 50 killed, with a combination of his machine gun fire and artillery fire, and was credited with saving the 3rd Battalion from being overrun.
After his unit was sent to occupy Austria, Conner was sent back to the United States a well-deserved rest after 800 days of fighting in a war zone prior to being sent to fight in the Pacific theater. The war ended before he could be sent overseas a second time.
Conner returned home to Kentucky as a genuine war hero. Awaiting him was public eager to see a real war hero. According to a news article, on a beautiful spring day in May 1945, residents of Clinton and surrounding counties traveled from the hills of south-central Kentucky by foot, wagon, and automobile to see and honor the hometown soldier from Aaron, Kentucky, who had just returned from the war with numerous military decorations. A parade featuring prominent locals and the guest of honor, Garlin Murl Conner, wound through Albany to the town square and then to a ceremony in a large second-floor room in the courthouse.
With the room filled to capacity, several dignitaries, including Alvin York, the renowned World War I Medal of Honor recipient, addressed the audience. Fifteen-year-old Pauline Wells, standing on a bench in the back of the crowded room and frustrated by the long wait, asked her mother repeatedly, “Where is he?” Each time her mother admonished Pauline to be patient. When the guest of honor finally rose to speak, Pauline exclaimed, rather matter-of-factly, “That little wharf rat? Why, he couldn’t have done all those things!” She later characterized Conner as a “cocky little fellow, but humble and yet proud of what he had accomplished.”
Only two months after this homecoming celebration, twenty-six-year-old Conner enjoyed a brief courtship with the much-younger Pauline, married her, and immediately returned to his familiar rural community. Eager to put the war behind him and focus on his future, Conner and his young bride leased from his father a mule, some farming tools, and thirty-six acres along Indian Creek in Clinton County. There he embarked on life as a farmer. As the years passed, his close friends and associates indicated that Conner seldom talked about his war service, and each time someone suggested that he pursue efforts to add the deserved Medal of Honor to his list of decorations, he emphatically dismissed the idea. His usual reply was, “I’d done what I had to do and come home, and that’s all there is to it,” or “It is in the past and in the past let it remain,” refusing to consider it further. Pauline said her husband “thought people would say he was bragging, and he didn’t want that.” His response was typical of many returning veterans, who believed they had done nothing extraordinary.
Conner farmed all his life and for seventeen years served as president of the local Kentucky Farm Bureau. In addition, he and his wife worked tirelessly helping disabled veterans receive their pension benefits, a service his wife continued. He died in 1998 at the age of seventy-nine after battling kidney failure and diabetes, which in his last years left him bedridden and unable to speak.
Approximately two years before Conner’s death, Richard Chilton of Genoa City, Wisconson, learned of Conner while corresponding with veterans who may have known his uncle Gordon Roberts who died during the Anzio campaign. Chilton was a decorated Green Beret veteran of Korea who later trained Israeli fighters.
Unfortunately, out of nearly three hundred veterans of the Third Infantry Division, only two or three remembered his uncle, but several mentioned Conner. With what seemed his last option, Chilton wrote to Conner, who replied that he had been, in fact, Gordon Robert’s Platoon Sergeant at the time he was killed. However, the promised follow-up letter with more details never arrived.
Among those who pushed for the Medal of Honor was his former commander in World War II, retired Maj. Gen. Lloyd B. Ramsey, who filed an affidavit in which he wrote, “There is no doubt that Lt. Conner should have been awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions. One of the most disappointing regrets of my career is not having the Medal of Honor awarded to the most outstanding Soldier I’ve ever had the privilege of commanding.”
Before he died, the late Maj. Gen. Ramsey signed the necessary documents for awarding the Medal of Honor to Conner.
Conner’s death only strengthened the resolve of his friends and advocates, for they now no longer needed to be concerned with Conner’s sensitivity to the subject of the Medal of Honor. Pauline fully supported the effort and believed that her husband, so quiet and unassuming, would have been less averse to a posthumous award.
Paperwork was sent to U.S. Army Board of Correction of Military Records which first rejected Conner’s application in 1997 on its merits and turned away an appeal in June 2000, saying at the time that no new evidence warranted a hearing or a new decoration despite more than a dozen letters of support from Soldiers who served with 1st Lt. Conner that were included in the retroactive petition.
In the years that followed, lawmakers in Kentucky, Tennessee and three other states passed resolutions backing the effort to see Conner receive the Medal of Honor.Conner’s fellow Soldiers also filed affidavits crediting Conner not only with helping save the lives of fellow Soldiers, but also with being key to defeating the Germans in the battle.
A bipartisan group of current and former members of Congress has backed Conner’s application in the past, including retired Sen. Bob Dole, a Kansas Republican and World War II veteran; retired Sen. Wendell Ford, a Democrat from Kentucky; current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky; and Whitfield, who represents Conner’s home town near the Tennessee line. Noted World War II historian Steven Ambrose, who died in 2002, wrote in November 2000 to support Conner’s application, saying his actions were “far above the call of duty.”
The Rhode Island Senate offered a resolution on June 1, 2005 that called on Congress to award the Medal of Honor to Conner. The resolution states, in part, that Conner served over 800 days on the front lines. In the same resolution, seven former generals voiced support for Conner to receive the Medal of Honor.
After Chilton found three eyewitness accounts to Conner’s deeds in 2006, Pauline Conner resubmitted the case to the board in 2008 – two years after the statute of limitations expired.
The review board remained unmoved by Conner’s submission. “The most recent information received December 22, 2008 is not new evidence and does not warrant granting an exception to the above cited regulation and a formal hearing,” wrote Conrad V. Meyer, the director of the Army Board for Correction of Military Records on Feb. 9, 2009.
While the military board has upgraded other recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross to a Medal of Honor, the action is rare. As of 2012, the last year available, 178 Distinguished Service Crosses had been elevated to Medal of Honor status out of 13,000 issued since 1917. Military policy dictates that the first decoration must be re-examined, re-justified, and then re-evaluated with new evidence before any action can be taken. Photo is Bernie Atkins whose DSC was upgraded to a Medal of Honor in 2015.
Although an effort was made to secure a Medal of Honor for Conner, the award of the medal was denied in 2014 by a U.S. District Judge on a technicality. U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell, in an 11-page opinion said a technicality will prevent Pauline Conner of Albany, Ky., from continuing her campaign on behalf of her husband, who died in 1998. Russell concluded that Pauline Conner waited too long to present new evidence to the U.S. Army Board of Correction of Military Records, which rejected her bid to alter her husband’s service record.
Russell praised Conner’s “extraordinary courage and patriotic service,” but said there was nothing he could do for the family. “Dismissing this claim as required by technical limitations in no way diminishes Lt. Conner’s exemplary service and sacrifice,” Russell wrote.
The Conner family history, buried in military service, does not begin with 1st Lt. Conner; but dates back to the early beginnings of America with Lawrence Conner, according to their family’s historical records. Lawrence Conner arrived in America as an indentured servant emigrating from Dublin, Ireland. Family historical documents state that he served with the 8th and 12th Virginia Regiments during the Revolutionary War.
Murl was never awarded the Medal of Honor due to an oversight and failure to process the paperwork. However, there is still a glimmer of hope for Conner to receive the Medal of Honor. In 2015, the issue was ordered into mediation by a circuit court and the award is now under consideration. Also, keep in mind that the military can also conduct a further review at the behest of Congress.
View the service history of Actor, Singer, Songwriter
AC2 Hoyt Axton
Short Bio: In the late-fifties, Hoyt left college to join the Navy, where he served a hitch as a carrier sailor. Although he already had thoughts at that point of pursuing a musical career, he kept athletically active in the service by boxing. He vividly recalls scoring a TKO in the ring, in less than a minute during a grudge match arranged by his Division Officer, over another sailor who had broken his nose with a sucker punch one day while they were standing in the chow line. “I didn’t even spill my applesauce,” Hoyt recalls. Professing to this day that he doesn’t have a ‘flight’ mechanism, Hoyt went after the other man on the spot. They were quickly broken up, however, and the boxing match arranged.
“I knocked him down three times in 56 seconds of the first round,” Hoyt remembers with relish. “He finally took off his gloves, climbed out of the ring, picked up a folding chair and struck a threatening pose. I motioned for him to come on back in the ring with it, but he didn’t.” Hoyt went on to become the Heavyweight Champion of a task force of 35 ships.
In 1917 the U.S. Navy built a full-size battleship in New York City’s Union Square Park near the entrance to the subway and faced south. It would stay there for the next three years. The ship – USS Recruit – was commissioned as a normal seagoing ship, under the command of Acting Captain C. F. Pierce and with a complement of thirty-nine bluejackets from the Newport Training Station. It functioned as a recruiting office and training center with sailors training on the ship to demonstrate a small part of navy life to potential civilian recruits. The Navy also offered public access and tours of the ship, allowing civilians to familiarize themselves with how a Navy warship was operated.
The accommodations aboard USS Recruit included fore and aft full officer’s quarters, a wireless station, doctor’s quarters and examination rooms to assess the health of potential candidates, a heating and ventilation system that was capable of changing the temperature of the air inside the ship ten times within the span of an hour, and cabins for the accommodation of the sailors of its crew.
Constructed from wood, two high cage masts, a conning tower, and a single dummy smokestack matched Recruit’s silhouette to the layout of seagoing U.S. battleships of the time. Three twin turrets contained a total of six wooden versions of 14-inch (360 mm) guns, providing the ship’s ‘main battery’. Ten wooden 5-inch (130 mm) guns in casemates represented the secondary anti-torpedo-boat weaponry of a battleship, while two replicas of one-pounder saluting guns completed the ship’s ‘armament’.
According to the August 1917 edition of Popular Science, the USS Recruit followed the normal navy routine. Sailors rose at 6 a.m., scrubbed the decks, did their laundry, and attended instructional classes. They then stood guard over the ship and were available to answer questions from visitors. By night, all the ship’s lights were turned on, including a series of searchlights.
Following its completion and commissioning, the Landship USS Recruit hosted a variety of different events and receptions intended to bring civilians aboard the ship, the first of which took place on the afternoon of September 8, 1917. Some events were of a patriotic nature in keeping with the wartime spirit, including the presentation and unfurling of a recreated Betsy Ross American flag, while others featured famous opera singer Mabel Garrison to Chief Bald Eagle who can be seen posing with a Colt-Browning M1895. There were also social dances for New York’s socialites.
The New York Times reported at the time that the “Landship” as a recruiting tool had helped the U.S. Navy recruit 25,000 men into joining the Navy and Marine Corps – 625 times the size of her own crew, and enough to crew twenty-eight Nevada-class battleships.
After spending over two years in Union Square, the Landship USS Recruit was decommissioned and dismantled for moving to Coney Island’s Luna Park, where the Navy intended to maintain it as a recruiting depot following its success at its Union Square location. Recruit remained in Union Square for the duration of the war until she was decommissioned and lowered her colors in March 16, 1920, she was disassembled over several days and according to the New York Times was destined to be moved to Luna Park on Coney Island as an attraction however, she was never reassembled and little is known of New York’s own ‘Landship’.
Read the service memories of US Navy Veteran:
LTJG Jack Curlee
Shadow Box: http://navy.togetherweserved.com/bio/jdcnavy
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE NAVY?
During World War II, almost everyone that could serve, did serve, and wanted to serve. You could decide to enlist, or if not, the government could decide for you by drafting you. I enlisted in the Navy’s V-12 program which then took me to the USNR Midshipmen’s School in New York City for commissioning.
My brother, George Brooks Curlee, served as a Sergeant in the Army’s 70th Infantry Division (Trailblazers), in Germany during World War II. He was wounded and MIA but made it safely home after the war.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK.
While attending the V-12 program at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, I received the remaining hours I needed to graduate from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) with a degree in mechanical engineering. While I was at API, I played varsity baseball for three years.
When I went to the USNR Midshipmen’s School in New York City, I focused on becoming an engineering officer. I was then sent to the diesel engineering school in Flint, MI. After that, I was assigned as the engineering officer aboard USS LST-78 for the entire time I was in the South Pacific and assisted in its decommissioning upon return to the United States. I was then sent to NAS Green Cove Springs, FL, where I assisted in decommissioning the USS Stern (DE 187).
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE ACTIONS WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
As the engineering officer aboard USS LST-78, I participated in the Okinawa Gunto operation, which was the amphibious landing, assault and occupation of Okinawa, during May and June 1945. It was also called Operation Iceberg. Photo is of our ship on a beach after offloading troops and equipment.
We saw the USS Birmingham (CL-62) get hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane on May 4, 1945 off Okinawa. The plane hit her starboard deck forward, carrying a 500 lb. bomb which penetrated to the sick bay three levels below deck before exploding. About fifty crew members were killed in the attack. The plane’s pilot was found dead in the water, having been ejected from the aircraft. She was able to steam to Pearl Harbor for repairs. It was terrible to witness such an event.
Historian’s Notes: Following the Japanese attacking on Pearl Harbor and the loss of many American held Pacific outposts, the United States launched a counter-offensive strike known as “island-hopping.” The idea was to capture certain key islands, one after another, until Japan came within range of American bombers. The final island in this strategy was Okinawa and capturing the four airfields on the island that America needed to launch bombing raids on Japan’s industrial heartland and to use the island itself as a base of operations for the planned invasion of Japanese mainland.
The invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945, the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II began and ended with the heaviest concentration of naval gunfire ever used to support an amphibious landing. Positioned off the beaches were ten American battleships, nine cruisers, 23 destroyers and destroyer escorts, and 117 rocket gunboats. Together they fired 3,800 tons of shells at Okinawa during the first 24 hours.
The landing force consisted of 60,000 American troops (two Marine divisions and two Army divisions). Initially they landed unopposed but as the force moved inland they found 130,000 Japanese dug into caves and tunnels on the high ground away from the beaches. They had been told by their commanding general to fight to the death.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
My only shipboard assignment was the USS LST-78. One of our anti-aircraft gunners misidentified a PBY as an enemy aircraft and then shot it down. The pilot was fortunately able to crash land the aircraft with no loss of life. Sometime later, the pilot tried to board our ship with a drawn .45 cal. automatic pistol. He wanted to kill the gunner who shot him down! He was restrained and taken away. It is hard to understand how the gunner could make such a mistake, though, because a PBY was one of the most recognizable aircraft ever manufactured!
I have great memories of the officers and men aboard ship. Chief Motor Machinist’s Mate, later Chief Petty Officer James Leach and I were close, and we reconnected many years later via the Ohio LST/Amphibs Association and reminisced about our times together in the Navy during WWII.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE CAREER WHAT PARTICULAR MEMORY STANDS OUT?
My brother, Brooks Curlee (at left in photo) and me in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 1, 1946, just before we went to the Rose Bowl.
I had just returned from the South Pacific, and was in San Francisco, preparing to assist in the decommissioning of USS LST-78. My brother, who had been wounded and MIA with the 70th Infantry Division (Trailblazers), U.S. Army in Europe, was stationed in southern California. What are the chances that brothers stationed in opposite parts of the world could end up so near each other and go to a football game together! The University of Alabama beat the University of Southern California 34-10. More irony? We both graduated from Auburn!
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, QUALIFICATION BADGES OR DEVICE YOU RECEIVED, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE ONE(S) MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with a battle star for the Okinawa Gunto Operation. I was proud to have participated.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
Chief Motor Machinist’s Mate James Leach had the greatest impact on me while I served aboard USS-LST 78. Although I had a mechanical engineering degree and had completed the diesel engineering school, being immediately assigned as the engineering officer of a ship was daunting to say the least. He was an experienced NCO and knew the engine room inside and out. I took care of him (I helped him make Chief Petty Officer) and he took care of me!
In the photograph that is me on the left and James Leach on the far right.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
One time the ship’s captain asked to inspect the engine room. He came down and took one look at the auxiliary engines, which apparently was sufficient for him and he left. He never even went into the main engine room! He never came down to the engine room again and we believe he never realized that he had not seen the main engines!
The captain also ordered release of the stern anchor much too early during a beaching process. Naturally, all the chain was run out and the anchor was lost. He had to request a replacement anchor much to his embarrassment!
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
I worked my entire civilian career as a sales engineer and a sales manager for two large equipment manufacturing firms. I’ve been retired for many years.
In this photo I am surrounding with my wonderful family on the occasion of my 90th Birthday, March 22, 2012.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?
I learned mostly to be organized and prepared. Preparation and training are the keys for almost any event you may face.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE NAVY?
Learn everything you can and learn to accept constructive criticism without taking it too personally.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
I’ve enjoyed reliving my time in the Navy on TWS. It allowed me to put things in perspective chronologically. I’ve also remembered many things I had forgotten until I started writing them down for TWS.
Photo is of the Engineering Division aboard USS LST-78, DEC44. I am shown at the far right of the first row.
In the spring of 1861, decades of simmering tensions between the northern and southern United States, over issues including states’ rights versus federal authority, westward expansion, and slavery, exploded into the American Civil War. Since neither the Union nor the Confederacy relied on conscription to fill the ranks, both sides believed volunteers would be enough to do the fighting – which was expected to be over by the end of summer 1861. However, as the one-year mark neared, it became obvious to the Confederacy and the Union that the war would last much longer and its armies would need many more soldiers in the increasingly violent and protracted conflict.
But it wasn’t until the Battle of Shiloh on April 6 & 7, 1862 that the need became critical enough to address. The battle began when the Confederates launched a surprise attack on General Ulysses S. Grant’s Union forces in southwestern Tennessee. After initial successes, the Confederates were unable to hold their positions against fresh union reinforcements and were forced back, resulting in a Union victory. Both sides suffered nearly 25,000 casualties killed, wounded, or missing it was the bloodiest single day of the Civil War so far. The glaring deficiency in troop numbers prompted Confederate President Jefferson Davis to quickly authorize the first Conscription Act on April 16, 1862.
This legislation required all white males aged eighteen to thirty-five to serve three years of Confederate service if called. Soldiers already in the military would now be obligated to serve an additional twenty-four months. Five days later, the Confederate government passed the Exemption Act, which excused from military service select government employees, workers deemed necessary to maintain society (such as teachers, railroad workers, skilled tradesmen, ministers and owners of twenty or more slaves.) Substitution was an additional way to avoid the draft, though the Confederate Congress abolished the unpopular practice in December 1863. However, even before the 1862 Conscription Act, a group of Unionists in Arkansas known as The Peace Society were essentially drafted after their arrest, being given the choice between enlisting or face a trial.
Exemption and substitution were just two of the many reasons conscription was controversial. Governors considered that a draft assigning soldiers to Confederate national service was an usurpation of their state authority. Those who had volunteered in April 1861 and whose enlistments were expiring resented the additional two years of obligatory service. Draftees, who had not volunteered in the initial excitement of 1861 and were less enthusiastic about the Confederate cause, were not eager to leave their homes and families.
The first conscription act was only moderately successful, and a second was passed in September 1862. This legislation raised the draft age to forty-five. A third conscription act in February 1864 stipulated that boys of seventeen and men up to fifty would be eligible for reserve duty.
The draft was especially problematic and difficult to enforce in Arkansas, and figures for Union and Confederate conscription are difficult to quantify. The Union victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge fought March 6 & 8, 1862, one month prior to the enactment of Confederate conscription, meant that the pro-Confederate administration of Arkansas Governor Henry Rector no longer had full autonomy statewide. Resistance to Confederate conscription was also noteworthy in the highlands of Arkansas, where there was little investment in slavery. In the Ouachita Mountains, men who had avoided conscription efforts fought with Confederate forces in the February 15, 1863 Skirmish at McGraw’s Mill, resulting in a Confederate victory.
The Union government instituted its own draft a year later in March 1863. The Enrollment Act required all able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five to serve in the local units of their state militias. In the decades prior to the Civil War, these laws were rarely enforced; state militias, such as they were, served more as social clubs than military units, with parading and picnicking more common than artillery and musketry drill. In the first year of the war, the militia system was the template to organize volunteer recruits into local regiments. Now, states would be legally required to fill quotas apportioned by the War Department. These troops were to serve for up to nine months. The Union government allowed some exceptions for certain occupations and physical disabilities, and for religious conscientious objectors.
Like the Confederate conscription act, the Union’s state militia draft of 1862 achieved only moderate results. A more permanent procedure would be needed to provide necessary troops. To this end, President Lincoln signed the Enrollment Act on March 3, 1863, which called for a Federal draft that summer. Exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300 or by finding a substitute draftee. Protesters, outraged that exemptions were effectively granted only to the wealthiest U.S. citizens, led to bloody draft riots in New York City where eleven African Americans were killed by angry mobs in July 1863. Immigrants and the poor were especially resentful of the methods used by wealthier citizens to avoid service.
In both the North and the South, compulsory service embittered the public, who considered it an infringement on individual free will and personal liberty and feared it would concentrate arbitrary power in the military. Believing with some justification that unwilling soldiers made poor fighting men, volunteer soldiers despised conscripts. Conscription also undercut morale, as soldiers complained that it compromised voluntary enlistments and appeared as an act of desperation in the face of repeated military defeats.
Conscription nurtured substitutes, bounty-jumping, and desertion. Charges of class discrimination were leveled against both Confederate and Union draft laws since exemption and commutation clauses allowed propertied men to avoid service, thus laying the burden on immigrants and men with few resources. Occupational, only-son, and medical exemptions created many loopholes in the laws. Doctors certified healthy men unfit for duty, while some physically or mentally deficient conscripts went to the front after sham examinations. Enforcement presented obstacles of its own; many conscripts simply failed to report for duty. Several states challenged the draft’s legality, trying to block it and arguing over the quota system. Unpopular, unwieldy, and unfair, conscription raised more discontent than it raised soldiers.
In the Union and Confederacy, conscription was partially meant to encourage voluntary enlistment, as those who joined as volunteers were eligible to receive bounty money (enlistment bonuses) from states, counties, cities, and the federal government – in some cases totaling a sum upwards of $1,000. However, these bounties created the problem of bounty jumping, wherein men would volunteer, collect the money, then desert and re-enlist elsewhere and collect that money as well.
Neither the North nor South exercised full control within the state through the remainder of the war. Regardless, the primary purpose of conscription was never to raise substantial numbers of troops but to spur enlistment. In this aspect, at least, Union and Confederate conscription achieved some success.
Although the Civil War saw the first compulsory conscription of U.S. citizens for wartime service, a 1792 act by Congress required that all able-bodied male citizens purchase a gun and join their local state militia. There was no penalty for noncompliance with this act. Congress also passed a Conscription Act during the War of 1812, but the war ended before it was enacted. During the Civil War, the government of the Confederate States of America also enacted a compulsory military draft. The U.S. enacted a military draft again during World War I, in 1940 to make the U.S. ready for its involvement in World War II, and during the Korean War. The last U.S. military draft occurred during the Vietnam War.
View the service history of Game Show Host:
SP5 Pat Sajak
View his service profile on http://army.togetherweserved.com/profile/371601
Short Bio: Sajak became an Army disc jockey, a job he held for 18 months. Sajak didn’t love a lot of the military’s radio rules, so he circumvented them. He later told the New York Times, “If you said your name, you were supposed to say your rank – specialist fifth class, which kind of ruins your patter. So on the radio I would just not say my name at all. I went for a year on radio without ever identifying myself.”