CONVOY ESCORT - 1943
By Bernard Lehrer
Reminiscing briefly about a wartime
After Boot Camp I went to Radio Operators School in Atlantic City. We were billeted in a fine hotel with maid service and had weekends free to thumb a ride into New York.
I was assigned to W.S.L. in Southhampton for a few months before being transferred to the U.S.S. Nourmahal as a radio operator. This ship was a converted yacht and was the Escort Commander of a convoy that ran between New York City and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Radio Shack was next to the Captains Quarters. It was both busy and hot all of the time. We had to copy code groups 24 hours a day, 4 hours on and 8 hours off.
I got my sea legs but was plagued with both sea sickness and hay fever**. I kept a bucket between my legs when I was on watch and often couldn't decide whether I had to sneeze or to vomit.
We "Sparks" had the duty of cleaning the Captain's Head as well. Once while in Guantanamo Bay I was given that job and it was double hot!! I was sweating so much cleaning the shower that I turned on the shower just as the Captain came in. He was a big Swede who didn't take kindly to that and I was put on report. My Chief got it squashed and nothing came of it.
I eventually got transferred to Radio Engineering School in Groton, Conn.
From there I was assigned to a construction unit and sent to St. Paul Island in the Pribiloff's to build a radio direction finder station there.
** How the author was subject to hay fever underway is a mystery to me - Jack
Return to the Coast Guard Stories Page