Manhattan Beach to Atlantic City The Hard Way - 1942
By Bernard Lehrer
I repeatedly asked my platoon leader to get me on a list they were compiling for radio school. The brass sent notices around saying this was the last call for volunteers but I never got notified. I guessed that my platoon leader either intentionally or negligently failed to submit my name. Even though I was then only 18 I summoned the courage to act boldly under the circumstances.
At sick call in the morning I fell out and instead reported to the Personnel Office. While waiting to be seen by the officer there was another Coastie who chatted with me asking me what I was doing there. Unbeknown to me, under the pea jacket were three stripes. Of course I told him of my misdemeanor. When called in to the officer I was quickly placed on the list and assured I was selected.
Later that day, while practicing `knots`, my platoon leader was approached by another P.O. and after a short discussion announced, "I`ve got good news for the guy who requested school today....... Who was it?" Being 18 and desperate I raised my hand.
I was put on report and given 24 hours of extra duty. That included cleaning the head with a toothbrush, garbage detail, and, after a full day drilling in the snow and surf, standing sea wall watch at night complete with leggings.
Several days days later, being totally exhausted during boat drill, I slipped into the icy brink. After that, shivering and feverish, while standing at attention in the snow, I decided that nothing was worse than this and was ready to just walk away and face the brig.
At that moment a courier approached the drill instructor with the list for Radio School at Atlantic City. It was a message from the Almighty and my name was on it.
After we arrived at the Morton Hotel our living accomodations were two to a room with maid service and hotel meals.
But thats another
Bernard Lehrer is an attorney in Ventura California
Return To Coast Guard Stories