- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I noted your information concerning U.S. Naval Service during WWII, and the fact that the Navy drafted men into that branch of the service starting in 1943. I was one of the individuals who was inducted into the Navy at the Induction Center at Camden, N.J., on June 21, 1944. I was 18 years of age and just graduated from high school.

Previously, I had been ordered by my draft board to appear for a physicals upon reaching the age of 18. However, any action to induct waited until the individual actually “graduated” from high school. Therefore, when I appeared at the induction center in Camden, N.J., I was one of about 450 men again given brief physicals, completed paper work and then went through a “board of military officers” seated at a long table. At this table were officers from all branches of the armed forces. The officer at the head of the table asked the inductee which branch of the service he wanted, and after the inductee replied, the officers “consulted” up and down the table, and then a decision was reached and the draftee’s papers were “stamped” with the branch of service.

I received my choice, “Navy,” and joined about 15 others to the side. I remember that about 15 went into the Marine Corps, and the rest, about 350 plus into the Army. My record and dog-tags were listed as “USN-I (SA). The “SA” was for “special assignment,” because I wore glasses, and would not be assigned to areas demanding “look-out.” on ships.

I served until August 1946, and saw service in the United States and in the South Pacific. I was honorably discharged from the Navy with the non-commissioned rate of Storekeeper Aviation 2nd Class (parallel to a Staff Sergeant in the Army).

Joseph C.,
Via the Internet

Dear Joseph:

Thanks for sharing your personal info.

Shaft notes

• Congrats, high five and semper fi to Gen. Joseph Dunford who was promoted to general and assumed the duties of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on Oct. 23, 2010. Gen. Dunford graduated from St. Michael’s College and was commissioned in 1977. His assignments in the operating forces include Platoon and Company Commander, Co. K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines; Company Commander, Co. A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines; and Company Commander, Co. L, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.

He served as the Operations, Plans and Training Officer in 2nd ANGLICO and the Regimental Executive Officer, 6th Marines. He commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines and the 5th Marine Regiment. He served as the Chief of Staff, 1st Marine Division. Other assignments include Aide to the Commanding General, III MEF and a tour in the Officer Assignment Branch, HQMC. He has also served as the Marine Officer Instructor, College of the Holy Cross; as a member of the Commandant’s Staff Group; and as the Senior Aide to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Joint assignments include service as the Executive Assistant to the Vice Chairman, JCS; Chief, Global and Multilateral Affairs Division (J5); and Vice Director for Operations (J3). As a general officer, he has served as the Assistant Division Commander, 1st Marine Division; the Director, Operations Division, Plans, Policies and Operations, HQMC; and the Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations; and most recently as Commanding General, I MEF and Commander, Marine Forces Central Command.

Gen. Dunford is a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School, Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, and the U.S. Army War College. He holds a master’s degree in Government from Georgetown University and an master’s in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

• Kudos to Blue Star Families (BSF) and BAE Systems Inc who joined forces to bring the joy of reading to military children by donating new books to Arthur W. Edwards Elementary School in Havelock, N.C., serving the children of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

The event included a reading by Linda Parker Hudson, president and CEO of BAE Systems Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Blue Star Families, of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” by Judith Viorst, to more than 120 kindergarten students. The book helps children to understand the importance of coping with adversity and the benefits of resiliency.

Books on Base is a nationwide program presented by BSF with the goal of having a positive impact on children from military families through access to books and book donation. BSF will present books provided by BAE Systems Inc. and Kids in Distressed Situations Inc. (K.I.D.S.) to students at Arthur W. Edwards Elementary School, MCAS Cherry Point Library and the Havelock-Craven County Public Library.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.