Autobiography/Show & Tell Incident Report
By Craig Wilson
WW2RT Show and Tell - July 2005 Meeting
For this Show and Tell, I really DO have something to show.
Here is the “company 1096” signboard from my boot camp barracks at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. (I held up a wooden sign, about 4x30 inches, white with black lettering.)
I don’t remember which barracks this was. Many identical barracks were strung out to the southwest of the main part of the center. A couple of the barracks names were Decatur and Downs, two historical Navy admirals. This might have been one of those buildings.
I stole it when my chaotic seven-week training period ended in October, 1945. During that time, we had six company commanders.
I spent so much time in a chair in the dental clinic. I missed the obstacle course, the rifle range, tear gas training and V-J Day. My teeth were not really that bad, but as soon as I sat in the chair, the dentist would sneak next door and start making long distance telephone calls to set up his civilian dental practice. When he would get done with that for the day, he’d come back, wake me up and begin drilling. .
The company numbering system at Great Lakes began at zero each year. Each company consisted of a couple of hundred recruits. But now the war was over. The Navy wouldn’t need many more “boots” in 1946. This sign would surely have become kindling wood.
All boot camp companies were inspected once a week. We had to make up our bunks so neatly that if you dropped a dime on it, the coin would bounce! While I was there, another company across the grinder always passed inspection with a Four-Point-Oh. No matter how hard all of us tried, the rest of the boot companies were characterized as just hopeless F.O.’s.
On a quiet Sunday morning after our training ended, I dropped this sign in my sea bag. I have kept it almost 55 years. Now, unless one of you wants it, I’m going to donate it to the Massillon Military Museum.
Post script: After the meeting July 28, 2005:
A visitor to the World War II and Korean War Round Table held in the Fairlawn Community Center, expressed an interest in the sign board so I gave it to him instead of saving to take to the Massillon Museum next fall. The recipient is William Peterseim, chairman and C.E.O., Big Apple Holdings Inc., 280 Wekiva Springs Road, #201, Longwood, Fla. 32779. Mr. Peterseim recently purchased a Curtiss P.-40M that I saw a few years ago at a warbirds museum at Kissimmee, Fla. When I saw it, the plane was an unrestored hulk squeezed into a very crowded hangar with no space to allow work to be done on it. I didn’t see where the wings were being kept. Mr. Peterseim has moved it elsewhere and intends to have it fully restored. As I remember it, this was a late-war two-seat trainer version.
-- Craig Wilson, 791 N. Azalea blvd., Barberton, Ohio 44203.
Bio #6 9-25-05