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The Captains

The Captains

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The Captains

445 pagine
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Oct 23, 2010


The book begins with Jerry Rogerson becoming interested in the U.S. Navy, obtaining an appointment to the Naval Academy. He was a Midshipman at the Academy for four years, graduates and becomes a Commisioned officer. He serves at sea in two battleships: a U.S. Navy Oil Tanker and a Heavy Cruiser, by now as a Commander. Right after serving on the Navy Oil Tanker, he marries Phyllis Larkin. He's at sea again in a Heavy Cruiser, which is damaged in a kamikaze attack. The Cruiser is sent home for repairs and the War ends. For the next few years, Jerry's assignements include the Pentagon and the Philadelphia Shipyard, where is is promoted to Captain. He is sent to Pearl Harbor and while he's there, his wife is killed in an automoble accident, leaving him to raise two children alone. There, the family becomes fluent in Spanish and Jerry is involvedin Intelligence work.

On a trip to Washinton, D.C., Jerry, by chance, meets Captain Mary Ann Graybill again after a number of years. He is single now and she has never married. Their romance begins. On a visit to Spain, she is persuaded to marry Jerry and theirs is a transatlantic marriage. At the age of 47, Mary Ann must learn to be a stepmother and wife, but they become a happy family. Jerry is transferred to Washington, D.C. to work in Intelligence. He and the children teach Mary Ann to speak Spanish and she becomes fluent also. Jerry is promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. His rank, together with their language skills cause Jerry and Mary Ann to be assigned to the Presidential party when the President of the U.S. pays a State Visit to Argentina. That was a trip of a lifetime for the Rogersons, to travel on Air Force One and to be lavishly entertained as members of the Presidential party. They decide they should both retired and begin traveling in a motor home throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Oct 23, 2010

Informazioni sull'autore

Author born and raised in Idaho. Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for 23 years, retiring as a CAptain. He went back to school, studied accounting, became a C.P.A. and was employed in this field for some 15 years, culminating in serving as a Deputy Commisioner for the Idaho State Tax Commision. In that service, he met his second wife and they married in 1978. They moved to Arizona, lived in a retirement community where she died in 2006. The one regret of his life is that he did not begin writing when he was in his 60's. He has written three books, two of which are in the process of being published and the manuscript of the third has been completed. In process are Lorena and The Captains.

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The Captains - Dennison Ambrose


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© Copyright 2008 Dennison Ambrose.

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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67



Summer of 1928

The Portland Oregonian and the local paper, The Daily Astorian, had carried several articles about Fleet Week in Portland, an annual event and the highlight being visits to Portland by ships of the U.S. Pacific fleet.

On the day of the scheduled arrival of the ships off the mouth of the Columbia River, Jerry Rogerson, carrying his father’s binoculars, set out to walk to the top of Coxcomb Hill. The Astoria Tower, completed two years earlier as a monument to the Lewis and Clark Expedition and other pioneer explorers, crowned the hill and the view from the base of the Tower was spectacular. On this warm summer day, the sky was free of clouds and a gentle breeze was blowing. Jerry was overtaken by four of his friends in a new Model A Ford sedan and he was happy to accept the offer of a ride for the road up Coxcomb Hill was long and steep.

The boys had all been up to the Tower several times and they were always thrilled and inspired by the view. On this clear day the city of Astoria lay at their feet. The town of Warrenton was across Young’s Bay. Fort Stevens, the Coast Artillery Post, was just beyond. Across the mouth of the Columbia River the Washington shore could be seen all the way to Fort Canby, sister post to Oregon’s Fort Stevens.

Jerry passed his binoculars around and soon one of his friends exclaimed, I think I see the tip of a mast coming over the horizon. And sure enough, before long, nine gray ships could be seen.

The lead ship, a destroyer, followed by three other destroyers, came steadily on, entering the ship channel and heading upstream. Following the destroyers were a repair ship, a destroyer tender and best of all, three cruisers. Jerry and his friends were awed and thrilled. It was a glorious day and the gray ships, bristling with guns, steaming in single file, maintaining their assigned distance from each other, made an imposing sight.

The Stars and Stripes were flying from the main trucks, crewmen in white uniforms were on deck, yard-arm signal lights were sending messages in code, signal flags were flying on the halyards. The U.S. Navy was at its best.

When the third cruiser had passed, his friends left, but Jerry watched until the last ship was out of sight upstream. He went slowly home, still thrilled by the great gray ships, the flags, the white uniforms. Many times he had seen the ferry which ran across the river to Megler, Washington, and back to Astoria, and he had seen many ships coming in from sea and many others coming down the river and heading out to sea, enroute to their destinations all over the world. But they were commercial ships, freighters, passenger steamers, fishing boats, oil tankers, ocean-going tugs and some towing rafts of logs. Now he had seen the Navy.


At home that evening sixteen-year-old Jerry said to his father, Dad , I want to be in the Navy.

His father looked at him thoughtfully. His boy was growing up. He was nearly six feet tall, solidly built, and had a head of shaggy brown hair. He was a handsome lad, looking eagerly at his father, awaiting a reply.

Well, son, his father began, I admire your patriotism but we had agreed that after college you would go to law school and join me in our firm.

Yes, Dad, that is what I thought too, but now I want to be in the Navy.

As time went on Jerry did not lose his enthusiasm as his parents had expected. He read books about John Paul Jones, Admiral Lord Nelson of the British Navy, the voyages of exploration by Captain Cook, Naval actions involving the British and German Navies in the World War. He searched the local Library for articles and books about maritime adventures. Using the money he had earned mowing lawns and doing other chores for neighbors, he took the train to Portland to visit the Navy Recruiting Office. Here he obtained pictures of uniforms, insignias and best of all, a pamphlet that described the US. Naval Academy and how to obtain an appointment.

Trying not to dictate to his son, but trying to turn his attention back to law school, Mr. Rogerson talked to Jerry about cases with which he was working, describing the legal principles involved. He took Jerry to sessions of the District Court, had him run office errands, and referred newspaper and magazine articles about trials and decisions.

At last Mrs. Rogerson entered the fray. Lewis, you might as well give up on the boy. He has his heart set on the Naval Academy. He is not interested in law school or becoming an attorney. You didn’t want to be a carpenter. Jerry doesn’t want to be a lawyer. He knows you are opposed to his going into the Navy and doesn’t talk to you about it. But he can talk of nothing else when he and I are together.

I suppose you are right, Madge. But I am disappointed. I had such high hopes.

I know you did, dear. But Jerry has to decide.

So with great reluctance Mr. Rogerson gave up the hope he had had ever since his first child was a son who grew to be bright and personable, but now would not join him in a new law firm. It was hard to give up his dream and accept his son’s decision to pursue a career in the Navy.

Mr. Rogerson had long been a loyal supporter of the Congressman in his District and a letter to that gentleman elicited a prompt reply: I have an appointment at Annapolis for each of the years 1930, 1931 and 1932. When does your son wish to go?

Jerry would graduate from High School in 1930 and he would then be eighteen. He was an A student and he was eager to go. The official appointment by his Congressman brought several letters from schools which offered correspondence courses designed to prepare candidates for the entrance examinations in English and Mathematics. Jerry and his mother selected the course which Mrs. Rogerson thought was the best and Jerry was enrolled. Aided by letters from the Naval Academy, arrangements were made for him to take the examinations at the Post Office in Astoria. He reported to his parents that he had been well prepared and he felt that he had done well on the Examinations.

The family physician and dentist pronounced him fit and the anxious wait began. In due time he received a letter from the Naval Academy directing him to report for a physical examination and if successful, be inducted into the Navy as a Midshipman.


On a June afternoon, at the railroad station in Astoria, Jerry embraced and kissed his mother, kissed his eight-year-old sister on the forehead, shook hands with and embraced his father for this was a most important day in his life.

They walked together down the platform and Mr. Rogerson said, Well, son, you are starting out on a great adventure. I remember when I left home to go to the University, all the way to Eugene, two hundred miles away, and you are going across the country. My father wanted me to join him in his business, but I didn’t want to be a carpenter. Your grandfather was a successful master craftsman. He made a good living and he wanted me to succeed him in the building business. I have wanted you to join me in the law business, but you don’t want to be a lawyer. Your mother and I will miss you, son. You will be three thousand miles away, but the telephones work and the mail system does too. Keep in touch. If you find that you don’t like the Academy, you will always be welcome at home and your mother and I will help you find another career. You will be coming home on leave in September next year, fifteen months from now. You will know then whether or not the Navy is for you.

Gee, thanks, Dad. I don’t know if I can hack it in the Navy, but I want to try.

He boarded the train and his adventure began with his first meal in a dining car and sleeping in a Pullman berth. Then there was the transfer to another station in Chicago to catch the train to Washington.

In Washington he paid a courtesy call on his Congressman who was in his office and who welcomed Jerry. He took him to lunch in the House Dining Room where Jerry saw several Members of Congress who were national figures.


The next day he went down to Annapolis on the inter-urban train and reported in at Bancroft Hall. The first thing that was required was the physical examination by Navy doctors, and the next day he was sworn in as a Midshipman, Fourth Class, USN, otherwise known as a Plebe.

Plebe Summer was a hectic time. Bancroft Hall was a huge building and Jerry got lost a couple of times. Everything was new and different. There were infantry drills, boat drills, rifle and pistol firing on the ranges, room inspections, inspections of haircuts, shoeshines and neatness of uniforms. Members of the Class of 1932, Second Classmen, did much of the training, assisting the Academy officers. There were lectures and movies on health and physical fitness, and lectures on the organization of the Naval Academy. Jerry attended lectures on the organization of the Navy Department, the history of the Academy, history of the City of Annapolis, which was an old town when George Washington visited in the 1700’s. The Maryland State House was the place where General Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief of the Continental Armies. The State House is a national shrine.

There were Navy songs to learn – Navy Blue and Gold and Anchors Aweigh among them – and the Navy cheers for football games and other athletic events. There were few dull moments, but Jerry adapted quickly, fitted in well and made friends. He had been assigned a roommate when he arrived, but had the opportunity to choose his own roommate when fall classes began. He and John Cooley, from Florida, joined forces and roomed together for all four years. John was the same height as Jerry, they were equally broad-shouldered and muscular and both had brown hair, though John’s was a shade darker.

The Cooleys were ‘Old South’. Their ancestors had been ruined by the Civil War and John’s father, Marcus Cooley, had fought his way up in the business world. He was now head of a Cooperative, which processed, packed and marketed oranges, lemons and grapefruit in most of the States east of the Mississippi .

John had two sisters, one older and one younger than himself and he often joked about Jerry marrying Betsy, the younger girl. That young lady made her own decision, however. She found her husband at Florida State University. They were married on Jason Palmer’s graduation day. Betsy dropped out of college and the newlyweds moved to Jacksonville. Jerry was relieved. He was not interested in marriage. He had seen Betsy’s pictures. She was a beautiful girl and John was his best friend, but when Betsy became Mrs. Palmer, Jerry was off the hook.

The First Battalion of Midshipmen were studying Spanish. The Third Battalion was also studying Spanish and the Second and Fourth Wings were home to those studying French. A few men were studying German and two were studying Portuguese.

Memorial Hall, in Bancroft Hall, was dedicated to famous ships and Heroic Navy Officers of the past.

An emergency Medical Clinic and Dentists’ offices were also in the building. The hospital was at the other end of the Yard, called a campus at other schools.

There was an Armory, also used for basketball and dances, Gymnasium, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf course, athletic fields, parade ground, sail boats, the old Reina Mercedes, a ship captured from the Spanish in 1898, and used as quarters for the mess attendants and for Midshipmen who accumulated too many demerits. Jerry was never in the Ship Squad.

Everything was new and different. The Plebes learned to march in ranks, they learned to row during boat drills and they learned to tie knots. There were rifle and pistol firing on the ranges. Formations preceded meals during which there were inspections of haircuts, shoeshines and neatness of uniforms.

Meals were in the Mess Hall and were better than Jerry had expected. There was plenty of milk, which he enjoyed at each meal. He always remembered his first meal, at noon, shortly after he had been sworn in and was then, officially, a member of the Navy. Baked beans were on the menu and Jerry thought that all the old jokes were right on. There were beans in the Navy.

In September the three upper classes returned from leave and the academic year began. Jerry’s curriculum was very similar to those of freshman college students everywhere in the country: Algebra, English, Chemistry, U.S. History, and Spanish. In subsequent years there were Plane and Spherical Geometry, Engineering Drawing, Physics, Navigation, Seamanship, Ordnance and Gunnery, Torpedoes, Mines, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Ship Propulsion, Communications, History of the Navy from John Paul Jones in the Revolution through the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and the World War. Battles between the British and the German Fleets, as well as operations of German submarines were studied. There were harbor craft in which Midshipmen learned ship handling, mooring and anchoring.

The system of instruction, small classes, a recitation and a grade in each subject every day, was so different from anything Jerry had ever done, that he and many of his classmates had difficulty for a time. Once he got the hang of the system, Jerry did well in most subjects, excelled in some and when graduation came, he was Number 121 in his class of 453, upper third, almost upper fourth.

There was hazing, but, for the most part, it consisted of learning the answers to questions posed by upper classmen. A question might be: which battleships have reciprocating main engines? Or in what State is the Guantanamo Naval Base located? Or what is ComYangPat? These questions were designed to help the Plebes learn about the Navy and there were usually three or four questions at each meal, with answers expected at the next meal. A Plebe could not say, I don’t know, sir. He had to give an answer of some kind. Jerry excelled at this game because he was quick-witted and often could respond with a quip or a far-out response that brought laughter from everyone at the dinner table.

Two of the highlights of his four years at Annapolis were the Summer Midshipmen Cruises. Jerry’s first cruise, at the end of Plebe Year, was aboard the USS WYOMING, an old battleship. Ports of call were Copenhagen, Denmark, Greenock, Scotland, Cadiz, Spain and Gibraltar.

Jerry had to conquer seasickness, which he did quickly. He had to learn to sleep in a hammock, which he found to be surprisingly comfortable. He didn’t like the food, which was carried from the galley by sailors called Mess cooks. There was one man for each twenty Midshipmen. The cafeteria system was efficient and was introduced into Navy ships shortly before World War II.

Bedding had to be brought up on deck frequently to be aired. Washing, scrubbing, polishing of decks, bulkheads and brass work was supervised by experienced petty officers.

Instruction watches were assigned in fire rooms, engine rooms, Signal Bridge, Navigation Bridge and communications. There was very little time to be idle.


The former Plebes were now called Youngsters, and had thirty days leave. Jerry went by train to Portland, and was met there by his family. He enjoyed his mother’s cooking, his friends and playing chess with his father. It was a much-needed break from the Navy.

The second cruise came two years later. Jerry was now a First Classman and he was again aboard the WYOMING. This cruise was a shorter one, two months rather than three and there were only two ports of call: Funchal, Madeira, and Newport, Rhode Island.

Jerry was older now. He knew his way around the ship and enjoyed his time aboard the WYOMING and the trips ashore in Funchal and Newport.

On this second cruise the Plebes did the scrubbing, cleaning and polishing. For the new First Classmen, there was instruction in Navigation, Engineering, Seamanship, Gunnery, Signaling and Communications.

Jerry was not an athlete. He enjoyed sports, but he did not have the ability to be a member of a varsity team. He played intramural basketball and soccer and his roommate introduced him to golf. He was not interested in girls and did not attend his first dance until his last year at the Academy. Jerry had taken the required dancing lessons but he did not like to dance with one of his classmates. Having had no experience with dates or dances, Jerry resisted his roommate’s pleas to be the escort for the girl who was the college roommate of John Cooley’s date. The girls were coming to Annapolis the next weekend.

John, I have never danced with a girl, I don’t know how to talk to girls. I will make a mess of it, and will be embarrassed. I will embarrass you, your date and the other girl. She will have a miserable time and it will be my fault. Find somebody else, was Jerry’s response to John’s pleading.

I have tried, Jerry, and everybody I have asked has a date. Look, my friend, women make up half of the population of the world and you have to learn to deal with them. You met Isabel on the street in town last month when she was here. You chatted with her in a perfectly normal way. She didn’t bite or kick and you told me later that you thought she was very attractive. I haven’t met Cynthia, but Isabel says she is a live wire. She wants to see the Academy and has been bugging Isabel to find her a date with a Midshipman. So Jerry, my boy, you are it.

John called Isabel at her school, described Jerry, and asked her help, and that of Cynthia, in bringing Jerry out of his shell and into the social world.

Shy at first, Jerry soon relaxed and enjoyed the company of the two vivacious girls. They had brought a small radio with them and Jerry discovered that he had a natural sense of rhythm and that dancing with a girl was not all that bad.

This weekend was a success and there were two more week-ends for the foursome. Then graduation and Jerry was off to sea.



31 May 1934

The Dignitaries were on the platform and the audience was seated. The 453 Midshipmen in Jerry’s graduatiog class, wearing spotless white uniforms, marched into McDonough Hall and took their places.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Rogerson and their daughter, Katherine, were thrilled and proud when they saw their son and brother Jerry, looking very military, march in with his classmates.

Jerry had grown an inch during Plebe year, had filled out since then and now was a handsome man of twenty-two. He was just over six feet tall, slim and trim at one hundred and eighty pounds.

A band played the National Anthem, the Chaplain gave the invocation, the principal speaker delivered his address and the Superintendent of the Academy, Rear Admiral Thomas C. Hart USN, shook each graduate’s hand as he handed them their diplomas. Most graduates also received their commissions as Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Midshipman Rogerson thus became Ensign Gerald M. Rogerson USN. He received his orders to his first ship, the USS CALIFORNIA, a battleship of the Pacific Fleet.

The graduates threw their caps into the air and the graduation ceremony was over.

His orders gave him thirty days leave and Jerry, together with his parents and sister, visited Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. An adventure for them all before the family returned, by train, to Oregon.


Jerry reported aboard the CALIFORNIA at Newport, Rhode Island, on June 30, and became a member of the Junior Officers’ Mess and was assigned to the Engineering Department.

The fleet was paying visits to East Coast ports and in time sailed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for training. After about a month there, the fleet transited the Panama Canal and returned to their homeport at Long Beach, California. Training exercises were conducted. Short Range Battle Practice was held. The CALIFORNIA paid a visit to San Francisco enroute to the Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington, for repairs and maintenance. While the ship was at the Navy Yard, Jerry took some leave and went down to Astoria to visit his family. It was the Christmas season and the Rogersons enjoyed a family holiday.

On completion of the Navy Yard stay it was back to Long Beach. That summer there were fleet maneuvers centering on Hawaii and Jerry saw Pearl Harbor for the first time.

Approximately every six months the assignments of Rogerson and the other Ensigns of the Classes of ’33 and ’34 were changed so that, following custom, they were indoctrinated in most of the Departments of the ship. In Jerry’s case, indoctrination for the Engineering Department was followed by Turret IV in the Gunnery Department. The Fire Control and Range Finders in Gunnery, Assistant Navigator, and Assistant Communications Officer. He stood watches in the Engineering Control Room when the CALIFORNIA was underway and watches as Junior Officer of the Deck in port and at sea.

Jerry did not like, and felt that he was not successful, in any of those assignments except that of Assistant Ship’s Secretary in Communications. The Ship’s Secretary, an Ensign in ’33, and his Assistant, Jerry, operated the Captain’s office. Together with the two Yeomen assigned, they handled the ship’s correspondence, reading incoming mail, routing it to the officers who were concerned, drafting replies to incoming letters, obtaining the Captain’s signature on outgoing mail, preparing the Plan of the Day from information received from the Executive Officer and Heads of Department, maintaining custody of classified files, and a dozen other routine tasks. Jerry liked this kind of work.

As the end of their two years aboard the CALIFORNIA approached, many of the ’34 Ensigns were looking forward to a change from big-ship duty. Some wanted to go to destroyers, flight training would be available for some and submarine school for others. Jerry took the flight physical examination and learned that he did not have the necessary physical coordination to be an aviator. Jerry had been aboard a submarine, which had visited the Naval Academy and that one tour through the boat was enough.

Depressed, Jerry called his father for advice. Do you think, son, that you might like law school now?

I don’t know, Dad. In many ways I like the Navy. There are congenial shipmates, bright, sunny mornings at sea, four great years at Annapolis. I did well there, upper third of my class, but academics at school and the realities of the Fleet – well, they are just not the same.

Think about it, Jerry. Don’t make any hasty decisions. You have invested six years of your life in the Navy and that would be for naught if you decide to resign. If you do resign, nothing would please me more than to have you get your law degree and join me here in Astoria.

I don’t know, Dad. Because you are a lawyer I did not want to be one. I wanted to be different, but I don’t like what I am doing.

You have a major decision to make, son. Think carefully. You are not prepared, really, to fit into the civilian world without two or three more years of schooling. If you do decide to leave the Navy your mother and I will understand and we will support you in every way we can.

Thank you, Dad. I’ll think about it. I’ll let you know.


At this point in time, while Jerry was mulling over his problems, the Navy Department issued a letter soliciting applications for the Navy Supply Corps School and transfer to the Supply Corps. Jerry sought advice from the two Supply Corps Officers aboard the CALIFORNIA, the Supply Officer and the Disbursing Officer. The Supply Officer, a Commander and later a Vice Admiral, said, Rogerson, there are Line Officers who look down on those of us in the Supply Corps as being bean counters and over-paid clerks. But I have had an interesting and rewarding career. We don’t have any glamorous jobs and we don’t win any medals, but without us they would be broke, hungry and barefoot. If you think you would like this kind of work, send in your application. It won’t hurt to try.

The Disbursing Officer, Lieutenant Greenaway, offered similar advice. I like the Navy, I like ships, I like most of the people I have worked with and for. I like paperwork . I did not like Gunnery or Engineering. I did like Communications and I might have been successful in that field. However, I was offered an opportunity to transfer to the Supply Corps and I have been happy ever since.

Jerry applied and was duly ordered detached from USS CALIFORNIA and to proceed to Navy Supply Corps School, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, for duty under instruction

Calling his family in Astoria to report this development, his father replied, I hope this works out for you, son. I have a big decision to make too. You will remember that my partners urged me to run for the Legislature, thinking that the publicity would be good for business. When I got to the Senate, I discovered my true love. But in about the middle of my third term, the partners began to complain that I was spending too much time on State business, doing very little work for the firm, but continuing to draw my percentage of the firm’s profits. The partners’ wives began snipping at your mother too. Now I have been offered the job of attorney for the Legislative Council. It is a great opportunity – doing work I like, a good paycheck, and health and retirement benefits. The only problem is that we will have to move and your mother is reluctant to leave her friends here in Astoria. But, I tell her that she met many people in Salem during the sessions of the Legislature and she will soon make new friends. Your sister is not too happy either. We will let you know what we decide.

Jerry was detached from the CALIFORNIA at Long Beach, California, traveled by bus to Salem, where he spent ten days with his family. He was going to need a car in Philadelphia and his father had a solution. Buy the car from a dealer in Salem and save the transportation charges by taking delivery of the car at the factory in Michigan. Mr. Rogerson introduced his son to the dealership, the paperwork was soon completed, and the car was registered in Oregon. Jerry carried the paperwork and his Oregon license plates in his luggage and the Rogersons drove Jerry to Portland where he boarded the Portland Rose for the long train ride to Chicago. He had ridden the same train six years earlier on his way to Annapolis.

The best way to get from Chicago to Flint, Michigan, was by bus. His car was ready for him and Jerry set off in his new Chevrolet, a happy man with his first car.

Jerry liked the School and the instructors and he soon felt that he had found his niche in life. Completing the course in nine months with high marks, he was ordered to the battleship ARKANSAS, Atlantic Fleet, as Disbursing Officer. By this time Jerry had completed three years of commissioned service as an Ensign and he was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade) Gerald M. Rogerson, Supply Corps, USN.



The ARKY, as she was affectionately known, was a happy ship. Jerry enjoyed his job, was on the best of terms with his fellow officers and learned to play bridge, being taken in hand by two tournament-level players.

After just over two years aboard the ARKANSAS Jerry was ordered to the Boston Navy Yard for duty in the Supply Department. He was assigned the job of warehouse and waterfront officer. He was required to go aboard each ship which came to the Navy Yard, pay his respects to the Commanding Officer if possible, meet and introduce himself to the Supply Officer of the ship and offer the services of the Supply Department of the Yard. Jerry enjoyed this part of his job for he frequently met classmates aboard the ships, or other young officers whom he had known at the Naval Academy.

The warehouse part of his job was also interesting. Jerry served as the link between the civilian warehousemen and the Senior Assistant to the Supply Officer. There was one detail, which tickled his fancy whenever he thought of it. There was a cordage manufacturing plant in the Navy Yard, called the Rope Walk. All sizes and kinds of rope were made in the Rope Walk and the entire Navy was supplied from this plant. Manila rope is made from hemp, a plant grown in the Philippines. The hemp, packed in bales, somewhat like hay bales, was received in large quantities approximately twice a year, stored in a warehouse in the Navy Yard and delivered to the Rope Walk as needed.

The bales of hemp, piled twenty feet high, provided a comfortable home for mice. The warehouseman had, long ago, brought some cats to the yard to help control the mice. At their feeding station some wag had put up a sign, U.S. Navy Feline Patrol. Each morning when the warehouse was opened the three cats were sitting in a line, waiting for their food, and with pride written all over their faces, displayed their catch, almost always six or eight mice, laid out in a precise line. The warehouseman petted his cats, they purred, and all was well in Building 28.

At a cocktail party given by the Supply Officer and his wife, Captain and Mrs. Morrisett, in their Navy Yard quarters, Jerry met Phyllis Larkin, daughter of the Planning Officer, Captain Lewis W. Larkin. She was tall, slender, wore her dark hair in a short pixie-like style, which was very becoming to her. She was wearing a silver lame’ cocktail dress which was also becoming. Jerry was smitten at once. He was discouraged, however, when he learned that she was engaged to a medical student at Harvard.

Not long afterward he heard through the grapevine that the engagement had been broken off and he hoped for an opportunity to see her again. That opportunity came at a reception at the quarters of the Commandant. Phyllis was there and Jerry made haste to greet her and engage her in conversation. As the two youngest people at the party they stayed together most of the time and Jerry liked her more and more. He asked her for a date and she put him off by saying, Call me sometime.

Jerry did call her. She accepted the date and Jerry enjoyed an evening of dinner and dancing. More dates followed – Boston Pops concerts, hiking and baseball at Fenway Park where Jerry discovered that Phyllis was a Red Sox fan and was very knowledgeable about the game.

They continued dating and the word got around that they were going steady. It was obvious to Jerry that the Larkins approved of him, being invited to dinner from time to time and always being greeted cordially when he came to pick up Phyllis for a date.

In due course Captain Larkin’s tour at the Boston Navy Yard was coming to a close and he was ordered to the Bureau of Engineering in Washington. Phyllis was working for New England Telephone, liked her job and wanted to stay in Boston. Her parents were not too happy with her decision but she was an adult, her income made her self-supporting and her mother was convinced that one Lieutenant Rogerson was an additional factor.

Phyllis found an apartment in Cambridge. Jerry helped her move and that evening during dinner Jerry raised his glass and said, Here’s to your new life-style. Will you miss your folks?

Some, I suppose, but I have wanted to be on my own for the last couple of years. But each time I broached the subject, the folks, particularly Mother, had all manner of objections. She just didn’t want to admit that her baby girl was grown up. If I had had some brothers or sisters it would have been easier for the folks to let them go one at a time.

Jerry leaned forward, took her hand in his and said, Phyllis, I love you. I want to marry you.

She didn’t seem to be surprised. She withdrew her hand and said, "I have been thinking about us and wondering if we have been seeing too much of each other. I am sure you know that I was engaged to a medical student. I made a commitment and later he began two-timing me with a nurse. I broke the engagement when I found out about it and I swore that it would be a long time before I made another commitment. I swore a long time ago too that, after a disastrous move with my folks when their furniture arrived from Mare Island all smashed to smithereens, that I would never marry into the Navy. So now you are proposing marriage and I don’t know what to say. I like you, Jerry Rogerson, you are good-looking, you’re bright, you

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