During the early war years I served as a merchant seaman. (Left home in the summer of my 16th. yr.) Job opportunities for teenagers at the time were scarce, however, I was able to secure work on Norwegian and American merchant  marine ships. One of the Norwegian ships the M.S. Reinholt was later shelled by a German raider, I also served in tankers carrying high octane fuel. During the time I spent at sea, one particular incident convinced me to change my line of work. I served on the S.S.  Dorchester which was a merchant ship that had been converted to troop transport. The ship was staffed by four chaplains, very decent and honorable people, two protestant, one catholic, and one jewish. During my last voyage on the Dorchester we came under German torpedo attack in the Davies Straight off the Newfoundland coast. Canadian Corvettes went on the attack dropping depth charge salvos driving off the U-boat. Actually I had been in the galley getting some ice cream and they had small holes in the metal fronting of the serving counter, and I put a finger in the hole in the metal and could not extract it when the alarm went off . There was general confusion and I had no life jacket. The seas are extremely rough in this body of water. Upon reaching port I decided to seek an alternate means of of adventure by joining the U.S. Army. On the very next voyage the Dorchester was sunk by German torpedo. Due to the lack of life jackets, which I had witnessed on my prior voyage, there was great loss of life. The four Chaplains on board heroically gave their life jackets to our soldiers, held hands prayed, and went down with the ship. There is a memorial to them in Philadelphia. They were also recognized by the U.S. Congress for their heroism.

The Dorchester was sunk by U-223 commanded by Kptit. Karl Wachter. 673 lives were lost. While I escaped the fate of those on the Dorchester I had no idea what severe challenges lay ahead of me. Whenever the chaplain visited our combat unit I knew we would have a hard time in upcoming action, but always thought of those brave chaplains. Incidentally what a great film it would make to depict their lives up until the moment of their departure from this earthly body.

"G.I. Joe"