World War II -- 1942 to 1946
Ruth and I managed to get aboard the last Grace Line freighter
returning to New York from Chile and got to New York City
two weeks later. The trip was exciting since we steamed
at night with no lights showing and no navigation lights.
Apparently, there were German submarines on the East Coast
sinking American ships off the New Jersey coast.
We were glad that the ship reached New York City
without any problems. We took the fi rst train we could to
Washington and checked into a hotel. I then took a taxi to
the War Department Building on Constitution Avenue and
checked in with Major K.B. Lawton, my ROTC professor at
MIT who was now a Lieutenant Colonel in the Offi ce of the
Chief Signal Offi cer. I had cabled him from Peru that I was
coming back to the States to report in for active duty. I took the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor very personally. My father
was a Coast Artillery soldier, stationed at Fort Kamehameha
at the mouth of Pearl Harbor. We had lived there from 1929 to
1933 while I was going to McKinley High School in Honolulu.
LtCol Lawton had already prepared a draft of orders putting
me on active duty. I took a taxi to Raleigh Haberdashers where
I bought a uniform, shirts, shoes, socks, etc. They hemmed the
pants while I waited.
The next morning I reported in to the Offi cer of the Chief
Signal Offi cer -- the headquarters of the Signal Corps wearing
my new uniform. They told me that I must go to Walter Reed
Army Hospital out on Georgia Avenue for a physical exam.
I took an Army bus out to the hospital and reported in to the
reception offi ce. They gave me directions and some forms to
fi ll out and I walked down miles of halls to fi nd the physical
exam rooms. There were about 100 of us. We took our uniforms
off, and were told to line up in a formation of two lines. The
doctors looked at our forms and then looked at us and then