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Today's Features

  • My last column constituted a diversion from the series based on my Marine Corps Journals. It described the harrowing experiences endured by a young marine who was crammed with other prisoners of war in the hold of a Japanese freighter. Despite this unimaginable stress, he survived and possessed the strength of character to live a full and productive life.

    Now I return to the routine barracks life in the Marine Corps in 1939, on the cusp of World War II.

  • Prison Interlude

    Alton Halbrook, a Marine enlisted man from Texas, reported to the Marine Barracks to serve in Artillery at about the about the same time in 1939 that I arrived to serve in the Infantry. In 1940, he was sent to Shanghai where he joined the 4th Marine Regiment, and later to the Philippines, where, in May 1942 he was one of thousands of prisoners interned by the Japanese.

  • March 4, 1939

  • As Louisiana fights through the worst floods it’s seen since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, those providing supplies and help to dry the state out are lining up.

    But one group in Shelby County is still helping from the last catastrophic flooding through that region.

    Displaced by Hurricane Katrina when the storm devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, Taffy is still waiting patiently at the Shelby County Humane Society for a new family – her eyes a warm brown, her tail wagging hopefully every time a family walks by her kennel.

  • As Louisiana fights through the worst floods it’s seen since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, those providing supplies and help to dry the state out are lining up.

    But one group in Shelby County is still helping from the last catastrophic flooding through that region.

    Displaced by Hurricane Katrina when the storm devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, Taffy is still waiting patiently at the Shelby County Humane Society for a new family – her eyes a warm brown, her tail wagging hopefully every time a family walks by her kennel.

  • September 26, 1938

    War Seems Inevitable

    And now for a little timely news. Hitler’s attempts to take over Sudeten German part of Czechoslovakia have resulted in European unrest, unequaled since the war. If Hitler is appeased now, he will no doubt want more later. I am sure only memories of the last war have saved Europe from another war at the present time.1938

  • Aug 24, 1938

    Since this has been a typical example of a long but not strenuous day, I shall give a résumé of it.

    0340 Awakened

    0350 Relieved watch as JOOD [Junior Officer of the Deck]

    0750 Relieved from watch after having paced some miles on the quarterdeck.

  • Personal Note: When my first column appeared in The Sentinel-News on April 27, 2007, I had no expectation that nearly ten years later, at the age of 100, I would be writing my 183rd column.

    June 27, 1938

    [At Secondary Battery Gunnery School on board USS Nevada (a 2-month course) and having spent only a weekend aboard USS Tennessee, I took a boat on June 20, 1938 to the USS Nevada another battleship, to attend the two-month Secondary Battery Gunnery School. Here I joined a number of ensigns and 2nd lieutenants, new to the Fleet.

  • Tribute to the U. S. Navy

    Eternal Father, strong to save,


    Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

    Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep

    Its own appointed limits keep;

    Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,


    For those in peril on the sea!

    --The “Navy Hymn” sung at the U.S. Naval Academy

    As I reach the date in my Journal that records my reporting aboard the Battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43), it seems appropriate to pay Tribute to the U.S. Navy.

  • [On May 24,1938, immediately after graduation from Basic School, a short ceremony lasting only a few minutes, I departed for my next duty station, USS Tennessee (BB43), a battleship based off San Pedro, California. I travelled with a classmate by auto as far as St. Louis. There I took the train to Portland, Oregon where my parents met me for the drive to their home, about 50 miles to the north, in Longview Washington,. In order to save travel expenses I had taken a coach rather than a Pullman sleeping car.