U.S. Navy 1943–1945

 

Kenneth Smith was one of a dozen classmates enlisting in the Navy directly after graduation from high school in 1943. He relates his training as auxiliary crew on a submarine in Perth, Australia, and Honolulu, Hawaii, where, as a 19-year-old Fireman First Class he enjoyed Australian hospitality, did a brief stint in the stockade in Hawaii, and patrolled the Pacific in the USS Bergall. On his first patrol, the Bergall fired on two Japanese cruisers and was hit by a shell. The Bergall couldn’t dive as a result, and the captain was ordered to scuttle the submarine. He went against orders and saved the sub and the crew. Smith also talks about other matters: the recovery to two burn victims from a B25, hitting a mine, the camaraderie of the crew and the kindness of the officers, and the role his years of service and the GI Bill played in his life.

 

Kenneth Smith coming up through the door of the sub.

 

Kenneth Smith in uniform

 

The USS Bergall

 

Kenneth Smith’s separation paper

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