Vintage Photo Friday: In The Navy


This is my Grandpa, Robert Arthur Lee, on Guam during the second World War. He was stationed there as a Sea Bee. I recently asked him about it and he sent me a written account of his service. I’ll share a little of it here.

In 1944, as soon as I turned 18 I immediately joined the US Navy. The second world war was on and as soon as you reached 18 years old you were up for draft. Having been born and raised by the Ocean I certainly did not want to be drafted into the Army. So I immediately joined the Navy.

And a wonderful (scary!) story:

One night while at Sea I went to the Ship’s Mess Hall for some Coffee. The Ship’s radio was on and Tokyo Rose (propaganda announcer used by Japan) announced that tonight’s program is for the benefit of the Boys on the U.S.S. Wakefield. The Ship that I was on. I dropped my cup of Coffee.

She announced the Names of the Officers in charge (I didn’t even know their names). She said that we were headed for Guam and that the Ship would be sunk by a Japanese Sub before we get there.

Obviously they were not.

On Guam itself:

Our troops had no contact with the natives. Guam is a beautiful Island but VERY VERY HOT and uncomfortable. Pitching Horse Shoes in the shade we were dripping wet with perspiration.

The Ocean around Guam is very deep. All around Guam just off shore is the most beautiful Coral Reef teaming with all kinds of Marine life. Including Barracuda, Sharks and Moray eels etc. I’ve had them swim right up to me I foolishly had no fear and was very lucky. The Coral Reefs and Marine life was even better than any I’ve seen in Hawaii.

There’s more but I don’t feel I can share it all as I did not get permission to do so. I’ve corrected some typos but left his capitalization and soforth as-is.

More Vintage Photo Friday at Paper Dolls for Boys, as always.

14 thoughts on “Vintage Photo Friday: In The Navy

  1. Jason Burns

    June 5, 2009 at 9:22am

    I love this! Thanks for sharing a little history with us.

  2. oslowe

    June 5, 2009 at 9:33am

    That is such a great photo. And thanks for the story!

  3. uccellina

    June 5, 2009 at 10:04am

    I’m glad you got his story. My grandfather was at D-Day, but my grandmother would never let him talk about it. She would storm into the room, yelling “No war talk!” He died several years ago, and his story went with him.

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  4. Natalie

    June 5, 2009 at 10:35am

    Thank you for sharing your grandfather and some of his memories. The Tokyo Rose story is chilling. It is really special to have his first hand account of his experiences.

    Natalie’s last blog post..Vintage Photo Friday

  5. Katherine

    June 5, 2009 at 10:38am

    My brother-in-law was in a construction battalion as well – of course, this was 30-40 years after your grandpa, so he wasn’t quickly building/repairing runways on Pacific Islands.

    Katherine’s last blog post..Reading a Book (That I Don’t Like).

  6. Raine

    June 6, 2009 at 1:05pm

    What a cool photo – thanks for sharing – and the stories from your grandpa. My aunt and uncle lived in Guam (he was in the Navy) for awhile and attest to the heat – not a fun environment – but beautiful.

  7. Amanda

    June 8, 2009 at 7:33am

    Thank you for sharing, and thank your grandpa for us.

    Amanda’s last blog post..

  8. will betheboy

    November 11, 2009 at 9:19am

    I read this the first time but I could read it every day. Thank you.

  9. bad mummy

    November 11, 2010 at 10:10am

    My last name is Lee, as well. It’s not a name I come across very often, at least not belonging to someone who isn’t Asian.

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