Arendt, Laurie (ed.) / Back from duty 2 : more stories from Ozaukee County's veterans
[Profiles], pp. 11-148 ff.
Ed Barlow As told toVicki Schanen Navy Clerk on the U.S.S. Helena Grafton's Edward Barlow served with the Navy from June 25, 1948 until May 29, 1952. He graduated from his Baltimore high school in 1948, after the end of World War II. There was nothing unusual about my induction except that I was asked if I would do an interview for someone because they wanted to do an induction/trainee interview for one of the radio stations. Whether or not that was ever played, I don't know. I left. I was sent to Great Lakes, Ill., which was the first time I had really ever been out of Baltimore, except for the few times I'd gone to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. In my class at Great Lakes we ended up having two squads because we were so big and we only trained for 10 or 11 weeks. We had the guys who could march well and they were the "drill squad." The guys who couldn't march very well were called the "goon platoon." That was my squad. I wanted to be what we then called a "radioman" because radios were very popular in the 1940s. I thought it would entail fixing radios, but what "radio" meant in the Navy was that you were a communications person. You had to learn things like Morse Code. That made me a little wary, so I transferred into clerical school, which was just fine with me. I knew how to type. I was assigned to the Navy cruiser U.S.S. Helena in California. That summer when I arrived, we took a bunch of Reservists and ROTC on a six-week cruise up to Seattle and down to Panama. The Canal is just north of the equator, so they took the Helena down there. The Navy has a ceremony that recognizes that you are no longer a "polliwog." Once you crossed the equator, you become a member of the Ancient Order of the Deep. In 1959, we went over to Japan and the Philippines, which also included a few- month tour to Manila. We cruised to a lot Ed Barlow served as a clerk of different ports and islands because we on the U.S.S. Helena CA-75. were occupational forces and making our He spent much of his time in presence known. We did get out to Nagasaki, which was where we had dropped the bomb a few years earlier. We also went to Nagoria, which was the inspiration for the opera, Madame Butterfly. I also went horseback riding in the snow. I once pulled a prank on a fellow shipmate. We were waiting in the chow line and I told him he had mail buoy watch. We received mail from home from planes that would drop buoys in the water and we would have to fish them out. After he went on watch, I had the master of arms put him under arrest because he had "missed" the mail buoy. We told him that he was very fortunate because there was a guy on the fantail who had picked up the mail, but the captain would be very upset because he almost missed some very important mail - letters from his wife. After they put him on report, they told him it was all a prank. He didn't talk to me for a few days after that. Pranks were quite common, particularly those played on new recruits. Deckhands would get sent down to the engine rooms for a bucket of steam; others would be sent to the electric shop for a bucket of kilowatts. I remember we also opened our ship on Armed Forces Day in 1950. Some Army friends of ours from Tokyo came to visit. We were complaining to them that it was going to take 22 days to get back to the States. We had been overseas for 10 months and we would still be playing war games on the way home. When they heard us complaining, they said we should be "very happy we were going home." After we got back to the States and I went home on leave, I was riding in a car with my friends from home and we heard them talking about Korea on the radio. I returned home and found a telegram telling me to report back to the ship. We ended up going back and running up and down the China Coast for 30 days because we were expecting the Chinese to invade Formosa (now Taipei). We then returned to Japan in August and until November we ran up and down the Korean coast. The North Koreans were pushing the South Korean and American armies to the southern part of the peninsula. The American forces were preparing for war. BACK FROM DUM2 19
Copyright 2005 Ozaukee County Council of American Legion Posts