Steve Simmerman attempted to tell about his father, Paul's, years in the service in WWII. He was limited by the facts that (1) his father was reluctant to talk about them, (2) Steve was only about 12-years old when he persuaded his father to tell about that time, and (3) in the intervening years, he is not sure his memory is accurate. The following he believes to be fairly accurate:

Early in the war four Weldon fellows enlisted at the same time to serve in the Coast Guard. These were Paul and his brother Virgil, Herman Brown, and Bob Wickham. They hoped to be able to serve together but were split up, two going to the east coast and two to the west. Steve was not told who went where, nor what years they served. He has an impression they enlisted early in the war and there is a clue from Bob Wickham's story in the Weldon/Woodburn book indicating he was still serving in 1945.

They were on destroyers, which are relatively light vessels tossed around during storms.

There were times when the storms lasted several days and the men became so seasick that the only food that appealed to them were saltine crackers.

They were positioned off the coast of the United States, triangulating messages, i. e, finding the location of the source, which were spies in this country and intercepting information to their homelands — Germany and Japan. They blew up submarines with depth charges and in the latter years of the war they picked up bodies of the dead who were 12- and 13-year old boys. Steve remembers his dad telling about their eyeballs hanging out of their faces because of the concussion caused by the explosion.

When the fellows had leave, they often imbibed in excess and amused themselves by giving one another hair cuts or trimmed mustaches. It produced some interesting results.



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Last Revised June 13, 2015