The Seagoing Boot Camp

by Jim Donahue


No matter what the era, the thriftiness of the Coast Guard is always present..........

Prior to 1939, in an effort to reduce spending due to the Depression, the Coast Guard assigned recruits directly to ships. Inasmuch as this presented many hardships, probably nothing prevailed as much as not being able to get ashore until issued a uniform. A three-hashmark Machinist Mate aboard the DUANE realized this fact and offered a young recruit the use of his uniform, with emphasis to keep the peacoat on to cover up the rating and hash marks.

On his way to the main gate, the young recruit passed a Rear Admiral, and incidentally, Commandant of the First Naval District, without saluting. The Admiral stopped him, asking if the recruit knew who he was. The kid said, "Ya, you're a Chief off one of the ships."

After inquiring what ship the young recruit was attached to, both proceeded to the DUANE where the Admiral asked the OOD where the recruit got the uniform, and when the peacoat was removed, all was revealed.

If the Admiral had a sense of humor, he must have got quite a laugh out of this incident.


From Coast Guard Stories by Don Gardner - reprinted by permission.

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