U.S. Navy 1943–1945
Kenneth Smith, a native New Yorker now living in Ashland, Mass., 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 nineteen-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.