Early, Gerald C. ’43
Early said he entered the Academy on February 11, 1942 shortly after Kings Point opened its doors on February 1. His home was in Manhasset, only 4 miles away. Early was engine cadet on American Builder; they sailed from NY on June 15 and returned day the before Thanksgiving having gone to Suez and around Africa. It was a most pleasant voyage with lots of repairs to the engines. He did see a lot of wrecked ships and the debris of one in the South Atlantic. In October ’42 Early was in the South Atlantic going north from Cape Town. While at the Academy he knew 7 cadets who were lost while cadets. Ebel and Egenthal were lost in the South Atlantic; Killed by the German raider. The unlucky survivors were brought to Singapore and turned over to the Japanese. He said that in that same area in October he thought the American Leader was hit by the commerce raider and Gordon Tyne and DiCicco the engine cadet were killed. He said Gordon Tyne was a natural leader who had flunked out of the Coast Guard Academy on Calculus and had come from north of Boston. “Better to die than be a prisoner of the Japs.”
After graduating in July 1943 he did sail on two ships on the invasion of Normandy. He was 3rd Asst on the SS Courageous on their invasion; scuttling it to make a breakwater. Then after a nice vacation in Bournemouth England he was 3rd Asst on the liberty SS Charles C. Jones taking troops and trucks from Southampton to the beaches for a number of trips. When he returned to NY and raised his diesel license and sailed in the Pacific for the rest of the war… he did sail most of the time until1950… he is the last survivor from Academy section A 210.
For Early the war was wonderful; he did the work he liked to do and kept a lot of money and never was hurt… he sent a letter to his parents before the Invasion afraid the war would be over before he made ten thousand dollars. He did indeed do it. He will have his 93 Birthday in 2013.