On the first Monday of December 1942, Chauncey Penfold commenced his twelve weeks of U.S. Navy’s Electrician School at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis. That morning the commander called a meeting for the 120 (divided into groups of 10) of our company to inform us of what we needed to do. Each group was given their schedule of classes. So while one group of ten attended math, another group went to blueprint reading class. We had math, wiring lab, blueprint reading, electrical theory, and motor/generator testing lab.
The whole company had breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Our laundry was sent out. We had dress inspection on Saturday mornings. For the first two months, the co-eds (ladies) served the food. After that, the Navy cooks and cook strikers took over and the lines moved a lot faster.
In the wiring lab, they assigned us our lab partner and gave us a list of what we needed for the wiring project. My lab partner was smart. He instructed me to get two of the first half of the list and he got two of each of the last half of the list. With this time management technique, we finished first and received another lab project which we usually completed. My lab partner did house wiring before he joined the U.S. Navy. In one of the labs, they gave us the mechanical parts to a small motor. We had to wire it up and make it run.
We got liberty on Saturday afternoons and Sunday. I enjoyed going to the USO in St. Paul by streetcar on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the laundry came back which I rolled my clothing and placed it in my seabag. I studied my homework and also the U.S. Navy’s basic handbook, The Bluejacket’s Manual.
On liberty. I went with Richard Heater to his friends’ house for Christmas Dinner. Classes were not held on New Year’s Day. Because of World War II, training/education continued between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
We finished our twelve weeks of Electrical School at the end of February 1943. I graduated and earned a rating of Third Class Electrician’s Mate. I was particularly good at labwork and reading blueprints.
The following Monday morning in a meeting of the 120 of us, the commander announced that all of us got delayed orders, except a few. I was standing with Richard Heater and Clifford Trezise, whom had come with me from Farragut NTS, Idaho. I said to them, “I am one of the few”. They asked me how I knew. I said, “Just wait and see”. Right after the meeting ended, I received the paperwork to go to the Pudget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington along with four others who were cooks and cook strikers. I was assigned to the U.S.S. Halford DD-480. The five of us packed our seabags and were put on the train to Bremerton Washington.
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