By Wayne Yonce
Special to Village News 

First day of boot camp


Last updated 11/10/2020 at 12:32pm


Village News/Courtesy photo

On June 2, 1944, Recruit Company 1276 was formed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. There were 120 apprehensive young men lined up behind the 120 cardboard boxes that lay on the wooden floor of the large red brick building built before WWI. The boxes contained "ditty bags," small canvas bags with rope drawstrings.

Orders were delivered in the bored monotone developed by persons who have repeated the exact same words many, many times. And they were always prefaced with "Now hear this," "Listen up, you people," or "You hear me, and you hear me good!"

We were told to put our wallets an...

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