by George Lincoln Rockwell
For the first time I found some order and dignity in life! The rough going as an enlisted man was something hard to take, of course, but my soul rejoiced in the pride and strength, of the military. Civilian life seemed soft, weak and feminine, and I got a deep satisfaction in my growing ability to stand up under the discipline and punishment. When we stood at parade and watched the flag go by to the military band and the drums, for the first time I experienced the goose-pimple emotions for which there is no other name than 'glory'. How unspeakably proud I was to be an American and a sailor! How I scorned the featherbedded life I had just left and how worthy the United States Navy was of my pride, in those days!
Officers were dignified, rough and demanding – not afraid to insist on salutes and privileges. How I worshiped them! There were no Negroes except in the galley and the chiefs and petty officers over me may not have been paragons of culture, but Lord, they were tough! They used to break us out of the barracks on bitter, snapping cold mornings sometimes at two and three a.m. in the howling wind and snow to wash airplanes with our bare hands in buckets of boiling water. It was torture, but there was manly pride in just surviving it. What camaraderie the suffering produced among us! The mamas' boys, lady-officers and Negro brass of today's service will not understand what that Navy was like, but the old hands will know whereof I speak. And perhaps, if they reflect on how right I am about what's happened to our services today, they will be a little less harsh on me for discovering who it is who has made such a mockery of our once proud fighting forces, and fighting the evil with every fiber of my being, no matter what I am called or how I am hated. The Communist-Zionist Jew conspiracy cannot afford to have a proud, fighting Navy or any other tough service, for real fighting men would never tolerate the takeover they are now maneuvering. So they have consciously and viciously filled our services with 'democracy' and fatal softness which will one day destroy us as the French services were destroyed, if we do not drive the seducers out first.
I was sent to 'elimination' flight training at Squantum, Massachusetts, to see if they could make a Navy pilot of me. I washed out urinals with a rubber glove; I marched endlessly and suffered all the usual military discomforts, but I was to be a pilot! That word has lost a lot of its glamour today, but in 1940, a pilot and a Navy pilot at that, was just a few notches under a god to a hot-blooded young man.
A tough young Irish lieutenant junior grade named McCollough instructed us for a few weeks in 'ground school' and I distinguished myself in his class on flying by scoffing when he said we would all bounce when we landed the first few times. I had been over the procedure many times in the book and was sure I would not bounce. McCollough said, with a happy twinkle in his eye, that he would personally take me for my first flight in an airplane and see how I did!
He took me up on a wintry day in the little open N2S yellow Navy biplane, and in the hard, bright sunshine over Boston Bay, did everything within his power to tear the wings off of that government property. He failed, but he did succeed in taking all the impudence and arrogance out of me. When I was completely unsure of up and down and felt that my eyes were hanging two inches out of their sockets, he gave me the stick and held his hands in the air.
I will ask the gentle reader to spare me the description of the denouement of this little episode. But I am sure McCollough had a ball recounting the tale that night in the officers' club. I did not find my fellow students overly-reverent in my presence, either. I later met 'Mac' when I was aboard the Wasp in the Pacific and we had a lot of laughs over that first flight, but it was not humorous at the time. Irishmen, as I have learned, are charming, but a bit mad in the air.
Marching, washing airplanes, freezing, ogling women in Boston, standing seemingly interminable cold watches in empty hangars, getting chewed out by petty officers, fighting in the barracks, turning each other out of beds and short-sheeting others, flying a little bit each day – I got in my eight hours of dual – and then the great day: I passed! I was given an airplane all by myself and the idea was to get it up, around the field and down again. This is an unforgettable feeling as you sit there in the cockpit and the safe, dependable instructor climbs down and leaves you all alone in this roaring monster. You get off the ground safely and then worry about getting in to land. I, of course, to be cocky, had boasted to my mates that I would make a perfect 'circle shot' by landing in a hundred-foot whitewashed circle used by Navy pilots for carrier precision landings. I undershot at first and had to put on more power to get there, almost giving the entire squadron heart-failure as I wobbled and skidded and stalled and struggled to the circle – and then I missed! But never mind, I had survived and soloed, and that was all that was required. Those of us who had passed were too happy to pay much attention to the jibing about my missing the circle or even to mind the dunking we got in the icy water for soloing.
During this elimination training, I had been seeing Judy, the girl at Pembroke and, while my new glamour helped some, I was still bounced around very painfully between thinking the game was in the bag and discovering that another hunter had been poaching.
We were sent down as one of the first few classes at the new Navy training base at Jacksonville, Florida, and found nothing much but sand and sun and an eternal hot wind which drifted the sand everywhere. There was a dearth of facilities, so, although we were supposed to begin training, we had to serve in the lowest servile capacities as janitors and airplane-pushers, watch-standers, etc., for some weeks. But finally we started flying and I quickly learned that it was not as glamorous as we had imagined. The dread of getting 'busted' out was a terrific pressure, to say nothing of the struggle to stay alive. Crashes and deaths were regular.
My first experience with death was when a guy across the hall crashed and we had to get his things together. I busted two checks in a row on my 'stunt' and had to get 'squadron time', then up again to spin, stall, loop, Immelmann, do wings-overs to perfection and finally the ultimate: inverted spins. After getting the extra 'squadron time', you have to get two ups out of three. My first check was an 'up' and I prayed for one more as I waited for my check pilot to appear, only to discover it was "Downcheck" Graham, a stone-faced terrorist who sent more cadets home than any other pilot. Quaking and sweating, I took him up and fell all over the sky, finally almost ground-looping on the landing. Now my career as a hero of the air hung on what the next man said. I had to wait several days for this final check, but at last I sat on the line waiting for my luck as a check pilot. I drew a Jew – Blenman! I gave him an excellent ride, somehow or other, and he gave me that desperately important 'up'.
It was during those days, just before we got into the War, that I discovered what a slouch I was in the eternal 'liberty' hunt for women. The other lads were set into motion the moment anything in skirts appeared and were full of brass and loaded with 'line' to catch these fillies. In the first place, I was repulsed by most of these women. They were cheap and often brassier than my companions.
When they would use earthy terms in the inevitable banter of the encounter, it turned my stomach and I would drop out of the contest. Many an evening in these times I sat in libraries or movies while my buddies enjoyed what, to hear them later, were the most voluptuous orgies.
But this is not to say I was a hidden violet entirely. At the Roosevelt Hotel in Jacksonville, at a dance one night, I saw an entrancing, feminine little creature whirling around with a host of beaux and was immediately captivated by the dainty girl. When I was interested, I could 'operate' as devastatingly as the boldest of my companions, only in a more subtle way. I cut out a whole mob of would-be captors of this little lady, whose name I learned was Elsie; I also got rid of the poor sap who had brought her to the dance. I bowled her off her feet and swept her out of the place, feeling enormously masculine and possessive.
She had rich folks in Georgia, I discovered and learned that my catch was far, far beyond my wildest dreams: she had a Cadillac convertible and, when I got to know her better, she had me often to her place in Georgia, where I luxuriated like an oriental potentate. Elsie herself was adorable and cuddly and willing to cuddle, too. I soon had all those who had scoffed at my backwardness in the streets squirming in jealousy as Elsie would sweep up to our barracks in the Caddy and she and I would float off to transports of joy which needed little exaggeration. But I discovered all this wonder was not unalloyed. Elsie was spoiled. She demanded the uttermost in service, with flourishes, even homage. Homage I was anxious to give, but not on command. There were many minor and even a few large skirmishes, but by and large the affair with Elsie was what most men dream of. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. But then there was a quarrel and she broke the engagement. I stayed away, but she sent emissaries and eventually we were going together again, although there was no formal understanding.
Meanwhile, I had passed one check after another and reached the stage of final fleet training. Here I got a serious disappointment. There were three possibilities: carrier fighters, scout-planes which were ' catapulted off a battle-wagon or cruiser and patrol flying-boats or 'P-boats', as they were called. You were invited to list choices in order and I listed "1. Fighters, 2. Fighters and 3. Fighters." But I did not get fighters. I got what was considered the lowest of the low: Catapult pilot. How I groaned. But it did no good. I was sent to the seaplane squadron and learned to fly first Steermans on floats and then OS 2U's – the lousiest plane in the fleet, we all felt. The underpowered and clumsy float planes were designed to observe only and their top speed was only 110 knots, with nothing but a couple of thirty caliber machine-guns. What a tub! What a miserable vehicle in which to fly to glory! But I completed training in them, including a catapult shot off the dock at Jacksonville; was commissioned ensign and was assigned to an old World War I cruiser, the U.S.S. Omaha.
I drove north in the little flivver I had in college, which my Aunt had shipped to me and stopped in Newark, New Jersey, to see my first girl, Jean, from Atlantic City. My dashing Navy uniform and wings, etc., captivated her and she in turn captivated me. She was as sweet as I had remembered her, only now I had the courage and know-how to kiss her, which I did. In one evening, she was convinced we were engaged, although I said nothing about it. But I had to resume my travel north to Providence to see my folks.
Arriving in Providence, I of course went to see Judy at Pembroke. My uniform and wings (very rare yet, since not many were in uniform) were as efficacious with Miss Aultman as with the others and I became engaged, this time with me asking the question. I closed out my remaining affairs and took the train to Norfolk where I was to catch a ship which would transport me to the secret port where I would get aboard the Omaha for permanent duty. Judy saw me off, none too tearfully I thought, as the other less 'fortunate' girls had been.
In Norfolk, I got my first taste of the real old salty sea-going Navy on the U.S.S. Pastores, a supply ship. They had a little bos'n's mate, whose name I forgot, but whose character I will never forget. He went about barefoot all the time and could and did boot a man just as effectively with those calloused toes as with a boot. He was tattooed all over and obviously tough as a tiger shark. The officers loved him, although they pretended publicly to disapprove of his ways and tactics.
Finally, the Pastores was ready to sail and we moved out into Hampton Roads to swing on the hook for the last day. As an officer, I had the run of the ship and I hung around the bridge to learn what I could of the affairs of managing a great naval vessel.
About an hour before we were to stand out of the harbor, we got a light message by blinker from the flag headquarters on shore: "Send boat for officers" – and the whaleboat was dispatched. When it returned, the cox'n was grinning from ear to ear and the captain, who had come out to meet the important officers who had held up the ship, discovered that the "officers" consisted of the bos'n, full of beer and immense satisfaction with having avoided missing ship, a serious charge. The business about using the flag's signal light, etc., was relatively 'minor' and "Boats" had done it again. The officers laughed for days about this 'crime' in the wardroom.
On the Pastores, I had my first experience with 'race prejudice'. it must be remembered that I had gone to school with Negroes and never even noticed them. As a passenger officer, the exec. had put me in charge of one of the holds where there were berthed two or three hundred men who were also passengers. When I got to the hold, as ordered, I found a riot in the making. Half of the passengers were Black, the other half White, and those were not just ordinary White men, but men from Georgia! This was before Eleanor and Anna Rosenberg had integrated the armed services. Blacks were always mess-boys and never, never were berthed with White men. Now here I was, a brand-new, fishy-green ensign in charge of an explosive race situation!
I marched the Blacks out of there immediately, mustered them on deck and had them hold ranks, while I found out what to do. But the exec. was busy getting underway and I was told to figure it out myself I checked the other hold and found another passenger officer having the same trouble. He had half White and half Blacks, so we traded. Both of us wanted the Whites, but we flipped and he won, so I got two hundred Africans and he took all the Whites.
I boarded the Omaha in Trinidad and my Navy life really began. It was so different from the Navy of today that the present outfit seems like that of another country, a much less manly country.
From the glorious foundations of the United States Navy until 1944 or 1945, when the influx of 'quicky' officers got too huge to train properly, we had 'iron men in wooden ships', to use the old Navy phrase. In 1946, after the Communist 'bring the boys home' debacle, all hell broke loose in the salty ranks of the great fighting men and officers who led the Nation in unbroken victories for two hundred years. Civilian meddlers and Communist fellow-travellers got the power to wreck our armed forces as part of the conscious plan to weaken us, now that the only possible enemy was the Soviet Union. They 'democratized' our fighting men, integrated units, 'luxury-ized' them and they have almost destroyed them. Every top officer in the service knows the despair of trying to do anything constructive today, and I speak with authority when I say that the morale in the Armed Forces has disintegrated to the point where no matter what weapons we have, we no longer have sufficient men and the masters to make a real fighting team. To go back to the old Navy term, we now have 'paper men in steel ships'. The officers and men who have the guts and gumption and can't stand the phony atmosphere get out and 'make it' on the outside. The pitifully few old-line officers and career enlisted men who are still trying to keep a backbone in our armed forces are usually 'retired' prematurely, like the immortal "Chesty" Puller, the greatest leader the Marine Corps ever had, while slick operators and 'brown-nosers' are moved into top commands, where they fight with cocktail glasses and barrages of paper.
The millions of men who are inducted and then jammed in with Negroes and never shown an officer or sergeant with the guts to "make them salute and show respect or kick them firmly in the tail, get out as soon as they can, in highly proper disgust. A uniform used to be the mark of a fighting man. Now they have got old and sacred fighting uniforms for hookworms with horn-rimmed glasses, ladies and even Africans.
Most of this was accomplished by the first pro-Communist Secretary of Defense, George Catlett Marshall, who boasted how he destroyed Nationalist China with a stroke of his pen and gave China to our mortal enemies; and by Anna M. Rosenberg, the Hungarian Jewess he put in as his first assistant and in charge of man-power. Anna M. was identified under oath before the U.S. Senate as a member of the Communist John Reed Club of New York City and as a writer of articles for the Communist New Masses magazine. I myself have the photostats of these Red articles I made in the Library of Congress, along with her picture, so there can be no howls of 'mistaken identity'. It was this communistic Hungarian Jewess who promoted the Communist Jew, Peress, when Joe McCarthy got on his track and it was this communistic Jewess who 'niggerized' our once tough fighting forces.
In order to proceed undisturbed at the wrecking of our armed forces, these unspeakable traitors have calculatingly and brutally brainwashed our men with 'orientation' courses in 'democracy' (meaning Communism – see any Soviet propaganda) until any attempt to help them now is met as an attack on them. I am sickened and heart-broken today when officers who should be able to see what has happened tell me what a filthy dog McCarthy was and explain to me what 'progress' is being made in 'democratizing' our once elite fighting forces.
The Army has had it the worst, for it is the Army alone that the Reds fear in the moment of their takeover. If the Army is led by patriotic Americans, not afraid of personal reprisals and faithful to the Constitution, as they have sworn to be, no Red putsch can succeed. But if they can fill up the high posts with toadies and Jews and pinkos and boobs, the helpless and inarticulate masses of men will have to go along and be used, as they were in Little Rock, to destroy their own great American Republic. NOTE: Since this was written, the "General Walker Case" has fully substantiated these charges.
But in 1941, boot ensigns such as I still jumped at J.G.'s orders; niggers were just niggers; chiefs were tough and could settle matters which now go before courts martial with the toe of a well-placed boot and officers dressed in full formal uniform for dinner every night, no matter what the conditions.
I would like to write an entire book on what I learned and learned to love on that old O-Boat, but cannot spare the pages in this, my first book. Perhaps later I will write a book on the armed forces, but for now, all I can say is that I found out what a fighting force should be like on the Omaha and Americans should tremble in fear and terror every minute we deny our officers the right, the privilege and the duty of acting like officers and making our men as tough as the steel and electronic monsters they guide as they were on the old Omaha. There is no 'democratic' nonsense in the Soviet armed forces and, should we ever have to face these tough, old-fashioned fighting forces, no matter what our technical superiority – like the French hiding behind their Maginot Line – we will be sliced up like butter before the hot knife of the undemocratic Soviet enemy.
I had my first taste of war on the Omaha, but in odd circumstances. Martinique was French and France had fallen to Hitler. We patrolled off this island and one night when I was catapulted out to search for a reported contact, I found traces of a sub. I got radio orders to stay with it and was concentrating on this when the radioman called on the intercom and asked me what the "sparks" were. I looked back, saw tracers going by and discovered I was being pursued by what I thought was a Navy SNJ – but which was probably one of our earlier gifts to the French. I was flying an old SOC, open-cockpit biplane at ninety knots and the SNJ, compared to me, was 'red-hot'. It flashed past me below and disappeared without hitting us. I got a lot of kidding back aboard later and there were a good many remarks about my 'imagination', etc., but the radioman confirmed this odd-ball attack.
Later, I depth-charged several subs, receiving return fire, but I did not get credit for any 'kills' because we discovered our depth-charges would not go off. We tested five or six of them and learned they had been sabotaged or poorly made. Still later, off the coast of Africa on the invasion convoy, I am sorry to say I helped sink two Axis subs in my work with carrier killer groups.
But the day-in-day-out flight operations were much more taxing than the relatively rare combat incidents. We were working the South Atlantic, searching for raiders and subs and going in and out of Trinidad there were always torpedoings and sinkings. The entrance, Chaca Chacari, was dubbed "Torpedo junction" by all hands. The subs used to sit fanned out on the bottom and pop off the convoy ships as they came out of the harbor, like ducks. Once I remember them blowing up a Brazilian vessel loaded with coffee and the ocean was turned into black coffee for miles. I wondered if it kept the fish awake. We often saw pieces of ships (once, an entire half) floating aimlessly and had to sink them.
Every morning before dawn, 'general quarters' would sound, immediately followed by 'flight quarters' and we pilots would stagger and stumble out of our bunks to the catapults, climb into the old SOC biplanes, be whacked in the back by our old steam-rammed catapults and find ourselves out over the Atlantic at two or three feet 'altitude' over the swells, in the dark, and only minutes out of bed. This was a hair-raising minute or two, but the belt in the back of the head served to clear the sleep and cobwebs from our brains and we were soon roaring up into the dawn – an emotional experience which never failed to move me deeply.
The immense majesty and indescribable vastness of the sea is multiplied a thousand-fold by the terrific contrast afforded by the insignificant little ship you leave behind as you rise into the grey and pink panorama of the sky. As the tropical sunrise begins and you are suspended between endless, rolling grey ocean and towering mountains of multicolored clouds, the almost invisible, little black 'tooth-pick' – the ship you have just left – far below gives you a sense of the staggering vastness of it all. Only a pig or a stone could fail to be moved deeply.
But then I would have the immediate problem of dead-reckoning that ancient Curtis biplane 500 miles over that empty ocean and back to the ship – not where it was when I left it, but someplace new – where it had zigzagged in those five hours. We had no radar in those days and were required to maintain tight radio silence. There were no homing devices or other aids, just our chartboards, pencils, calculators, compass and instruments. We usually flew all alone, one plane out on each side, to scout as much territory as possible for the day. The pattern was a huge 'U' out from the ship and back, so as to cover everything to the limit of sight. During this time, the wind, which had to be estimated solely from the appearance of the sea far below, was drifting the plane sometimes as much as thirty miles one side or the other in an hour – a hundred and fifty miles in the five-hour flight – and the ship was also moving. We had no automatic pilot or mechanical aid whatsoever. You figured out everything by vectors, compass course, speed, distance, time and gas, and then prayed fervently that you and the ship would wind up somewhere in the near vicinity at the end of the flight. If you made a mistake of adding the magnetic variation instead of subtracting it or forgot a single wind figure or made any other ordinarily slight mathematical error, it was curtains. We lost several pilots just this way. One panic-stricken pilot broke radio silence against orders when he missed the ship, ran out of gas and sat down in the middle of the ocean someplace. We tried to find him, but never did.
I recommend this system for those, like myself, who tend to make careless errors in mathematics. I discovered I could be perfect – on those hops.
While you were doing all this pencil-pushing, you were also burning up the surface of the sea for the tell-tale feather of a periscope or anything else, holding your precision compass course by stick and rudders and watching out for the switching of gas tanks, mixture control and everything else about the bit of machinery which alone kept you out of a watery grave below. It was an exacting, exhausting job, but I loved it.
At the end of the five hours, you began to sweat out the 'sighting' and it is not hard to imagine the joy of seeing that little speck you know is home – and more living. But sometimes you don't see it. Your gas is almost gone; there are no 'aids' and you have only minutes to see it or compose yourself for a better world. The trick often was to dive down low and sweep the horizon. What you couldn't see against the dark sea could sometimes be seen as an unrecognizable little jiggle on the horizon against the sky. There it would be! You would bore in for it with everything wide open.
When you finally arrived over the familiar, rolling shape, you circled around low while they rigged for 'cast-recovery'. Having been on both carriers and cruisers, I can assure my fellow pilots that a carrier landing is a pale imitation of the real 'hairy' thing of landing alongside a rolling cruiser in twenty or thirty-foot swells and taxiing up in clouds of blinding spray onto the 'mat', with your wing tips only inches from the steel sides of the heaving ship which was bowling along underway!
We never landed far back in the slick, which the ship made by turning ninety degrees, because it tore up the prop too much, beating against the salt water, when you then tried to taxi the hundred yards or so to the ship. My senior aviator, "Moe" Lenny, taught us masterfully and exactingly to land about twenty feet outboard and abreast of the fantail (stern) so that, on the last wild and wooly bounce, after you had hit two or three swells with frantic jiggling of stick and rudders to avoid crashing, you would stop neatly with the float resting in the mesh of rope called the 'mat' and your hook engaged to hold you in tow.
Then came the business of catching the swinging iron ball from the crane and boom arrangement which picked you up. Many a man was knocked senseless and overboard playing this little game, as he sat up on the cockpit hood. And then, when you did catch it, you had to slip the big steel hook in the wire sling you pulled out from behind your head in the cockpit without letting your hands get under the hook, because when the swells yanked that hook taut, it was easy to lose a hand as the cable lifted the plane clear of the water. Finally, you would find yourself hanging in the air, swinging on the boom and totally free of responsibility for the first moment in five long hours. You slumped in the sweaty parachute harness, just luxuriating in the gratefulness of it all.
A few minutes later, you would be sipping coffee and being served a fine breakfast in the wardroom, while you lorded it over the 'black-shoe' Navy, the poor slobs who were confined to the rolling decks and who had to ask you humbly for the story of the hop – what you'd seen, any action, etc. It was hugely satisfying and we pilots were not sparing of the opportunity to be as obnoxious as possible to the 'less heroic deck-apes'. A catapulting or a recovery were often the only excitement aboard for days on end and we pilots were thus the center of all eyes with our performances. Especially we vied on the recoveries and the crew divided up behind its favorites. I ached for a carrier and a hotter plane with more combat, but there was much to enjoy in the life on the Omaha and I enjoyed it. We went to Africa and all over South America.
I was often detailed to the shore patrol, however and this was no fun, although I learned a lot. It was a kill-joy job. You had to go around with a stern expression and watch the men blowing off steam in the bars and see them look hatefully at you out of the corner of their bleary eyes. The first time I got this unpleasant assignment was a pretty brutal introduction to the problems of leading rough, tough men.
I think it is wrong to give such a task to a totally green ensign, but I was assigned to take a shore party over the side in Rio, men with heavy beards who had been cooped up at sea for months. I was ordered to line them up on the dock and give them a lecture on the dangers of V.D. – me, a downy-cheeked squirt who knew nothing at all of such matters. I did my best and the men tried not to laugh, but it was extremely painful and I felt a complete ass – which I was! The lecture was apparently a huge failure, because we had dozens of men on the V.D. list within a few days in that highly-touted, but dirty port.
When I was free, I donned ny crisp whites, wings and ribbons and did enjoy liberty in these exotic lands, but usually it was spoiled somewhat for me by the filth and coarseness of it all and the crude activities of even my companions. In Rio there was the usual British Club and we officers were invited. There we met some really charming English young ladies and invited them to dinner aboard ship, but this was a mistake, it turned out, because even in the immaculate wardroom with its white napery, good food and excellent service by the as yet unrooseveltized mess boys, we could not escape the effects of the crudity and filthiness.
The old Omaha had no public address system. 'The Word' was passed in the old-fashioned way of the Navy, by leather-lunged bos'n's mates who would roar down each of the three hatches in the main deck in turn. The evening we had the young ladies aboard for dinner was hot. The wardroom was directly below the number one hatch and as they were helped into their seats by the mess boys, the bos'n arrived at the hatch with his pipe and let go with an announcement: "EEEEEE-eeeeee-EEEEEEE! (The whistle.) NOW, ALL MEN WITH VENEREAL DISEASES, LAY DOWN TO SICK BAY FOR TREATMENT!"
There was a great sound of running and pounding feet up and down ladders and the young ladies blanched. So did we.
After almost a year in the South Atlantic, the Omaha put into New York for repairs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This was like a trip to heaven for us, but I went chasing once again after the elusive and faithless Judy in Providence.
She gave me all kinds of trouble on the phone, but when I appeared in my sparkling dress whites in her dormitory dining room at Pembroke, and she saw the other girls ohh-ing and ahh-ing, she was won over and agreed to come to New York for a week while the ship was in port, but she insisted on finishing college before we were married. I chafed miserably at that, but once again bowed to what I later learned were orders from the 'high command', her old lady, who sensed in me a male who was not so easy to push around as Judy's charming, cultured, lovable, but easily-dominated old man. However, I did manage to get her to agree to share a room with me at the luxurious Pennsylvania Hotel, now the Statler, and I imagined I had things made.
I did spend the week in the hotel room with her, but learned that I did not have it made. All my powers of persuasion, coercion, brute force, sneakiness and other techniques were to no avail and I spent one of the most unbelievable weeks of my life, a week I have a hard time convincing anybody could happen in one room with one double bed. Horribly frustrating as it was, it was also idyllic and very wonderful. I went back out to sea in a pink cloud of romance and began to scheme to get back as soon as possible.
But the Navy is not interested in private plans for romance and cruelly put the war ahead of my schemes, which came to naught. We went back to the old routine of cruising the South Atlantic and I began to chafe miserably as the war proceeded more hotly elsewhere, especially in the Pacific, while I was still lumbering around in the empty vastness of the South Atlantic, in a plane which was not too far removed in appearance from that of the Wright Brothers. I longed to fly the brand new F4U Corsairs, at that time the hottest and deadliest thing in the air.
I heard rumors that 'suicide' photo-pilots were being asked to volunteer to fly stripped-down P-38's over enemy beaches, so I wrote an official request for training as a photo-pilot and got a favorable endorsement from my C.O., with whom I was on the best of terms for good performance of duty. Even so, it seemed too much to hope for, so I almost collapsed with joy when the ship got a priority dispatch on the matter. I was ordered to Flight Photo School at Pensacola, with thirty days' leave!
I imagined once again that I could marry Miss Aultman as soon as I arrived and would spend a whole month even better than the week in New York, but once again, I reckoned without my strong-willed, future mother-in-law. It was decreed that I could not marry Judy until two days before the END of my leave, which gave me one day for a honeymoon and then one day to get to Pensacola! There was no appeal, as I had discovered, from these imperial commands, so I had to fritter away the days – and nights – until April 24th, when the event was scheduled.
A few days before the scheduled wedding, I was detailed to help Judy address invitations and we were working together on this task when I got my first real look at how her mother operated. My pen ran out of ink and Judy jumped up and said, "I'll go upstairs and get some ink."
Her mother burst out of the sunroom and shouted, "Hold it! just a minute! HE goes upstairs and gets the ink. You don't run errands for him!"
On April 24, 1943, I was married in the Barrington Episcopal Church, with all the trimmings, which I disliked enormously. But these amenities are the price one must pay to the ladies, who appear to revel in such painful, public formalities at a time which should be so holy and private and reserved to the young people whose lives are so hugely affected.
Finally, we got clear of all the hand-shaking, giggling, cake-cutting, sly jokes and general silly fussing and were off in a cab to the railroad station. I was ecstatic and swimming in the romance of it all, but not my brand new wife. When we had got settled on the train, she turned to me briskly and, with what I learned were her final orders from 'headquarters', announced: "Now, there's to be no boss in this marriage, and no babies, at least not now!"
This almost froze me inside, even though the part about the babies made sense. But making 'sense' is not always the way to make a good marriage and such stern announcements at such a time do not help make a honeymoon what it should be. When we got to the Statler Hotel in Boston, I got a worse shock. Her suitcase was opened and she put her clothes away. Then she laid out on the bed what I later called "the drug store", a complete assortment of equipment which left nothing to chance or the imagination! Mother had thought of everything! The inevitable result of such cold-chilling of what must be spontaneous and as warm as possible was that she wound up crying and so did I. I struggled out and spent hours loading up on beer in the Silver Dollar Bar, trying to understand what was wrong with the world. With the last-minute wedding, we had no chance to straighten things out before I had to leave. Mother had really thought of everything!
On the train down to Pensacola, I had my first personal brush with one of the obnoxious types even the Jews call "kikes". I had my reservations for a sleeper for over a month and as I staggered to the station with all my heavy service baggage and uniforms, and my even heavier thoughts of my 'marriage', I was grateful at least that I could rest on the long trip. But when I got to the train and looked up my berth, I found a 300 pound, yellow-skinned, fat Hebrew getting ready to move in. I showed him my ticket and reservation of a month's standing and he brushed them aside, telling me he had paid the agent a good deal for these accommodations and had no intention of giving them up.
I called the colored porter and asked to have my reservations confirmed. The porter called the conductor, who sadly shook his head, said there was some mistake, asked me to step outside, and then told me that my accommodations had unfortunately been sold twice and the other man had an "earlier" reservation. I was too young and innocent to know how to deal with such villainy, as I would now, but like most people, I simply bowed to this monstrous injustice because I knew nothing else to do, outside of punching this vile Jew merchant a good belt in the teeth, which would not have helped. So I sat up all night on my bags in a passageway, while this 'chosen' fighter of Hitler (who was probably giving his all to buy war bonds at huge, personal sacrifice) rode in style in my berth. This is the first time in my life I can remember hating a Jew as a Jew, but I submit that so would anybody hate him – even my pious fellow Gentiles who now counsel me to tolerance and love.
I plunged into photo-school and flying in Pensacola with happy enthusiasm, overjoyed to be at last on my way to the kind of work and flying I really wanted. We flew half the day and studied theory or worked in the darkroom the other half. I studied hard and did well.