King, Admiral Tom, Interview Extract, May 23, 2003 by Jeff Cruikshank
Condensed and formatted as a narrative by George J. Ryan February 2013
DRAFT NOT EDITED
Before attending Fort Schuyler, I had planned to take the Webb Institute exam. It’s a school of naval architecture. It’s out on the island here now, but when I took the examination, they were in Manhattan. And it was a total scholarship, and a very comprehensive and difficult academically place to be; they gave a nationwide exam. I had prepped for that, and I didn’t make it. They only took about eight or ten people from the whole exam. So I then was thinking, well, what else shall I do? I took a job with Gibbs and Cox, Naval Architects at 21 West Street, NYC.
I was at work one day, and I saw a United Fruit Line (white) ship dock at the piers on West Street. I saw the people up on the bow of the ship, and I asked somebody who was more knowledgeable than I, who are the people? He said, well, the one fellow in the white uniform is a Cadet. And I said, “What is a Cadet?” So he told me what it was, and the place to apply was around 45 Broadway, which was close by.
The Atlantic Coast Director was there, and then as a sub office there was the Supervisor of the Cadet program. And they had brochures, and so forth. And there were nationwide competitive exams given. Well, I had prepped for a much more difficult exam at Webb Institute, so when the time came I think it was November of 1940, I took the examination, and was notified 30 days, 40 days later that I had passed, and I was number so and so on the east coast ; northeast listing, I think it was.
I reported to Fort Schuyler; they did not, at that time, have the Merchant Marine Academy. The Cadet Corps was in existence, but they had a place at California, and down in the New Orleans area, and they worked here out of Fort Schuyler. They boarded the so-called Federal Cadets, and that was the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps.
When the program started there were company Cadets who had been employed by the different steamship companies. They absorbed all those people into the Cadet Corps, and then there were graduates of the state maritime schools who could not find employment at that time, under their new licenses. So they had absorbed them in as Cadet Officers. So this was the basis of the thing. And then along comes the group that I was in who were accepted after taking a competitive examinations; we were supposed to be the real beginnings of the Cadet Corps. The others had been in existence, and they just sort of took them in. The graduates of the state academies had licenses, and the government, in its wisdom, I guess, saw that World War II was going to become a reality for us, and they did not want these people to change careers, they wanted to keep them in the business. So they made them Cadet Officers, and paid them a little bit more than we were paid as Cadets.
It was a four year program. And I’ll have to confess I never thought much further than that. I knew that the Maritime Commission — which was then the United States Maritime Commission, not the present Federal Maritime Commission — I knew that they had plans for building up the American Merchant Marine. I had gathered that knowledge when I worked for Gibbs and Cox, the naval architects, who were designing ships. So I had four years to think about later employment, and it was a four year educational program, made up of practical experience sailing on board ships, and then shoreside instructional participation.
There was no interaction between the Fort Schuyler Cadets and our program as they were being educated; they were completely separate. We were federal Cadets, and we, in effect, were in a portion of the facilities there that had been rented by the federal government. We had our own instructors, and we wore different uniforms, and we did not to go to any of their formations or activities. We had our own classrooms. It was totally different.
J Cruikshank: So I have some confusion when we’ve written this chapter, and the confusion is still in the chapter, about exactly what — the Cadet corps, in its late thirties incarnation, was essentially a correspondence school at sea. And then my understanding is that when the naval reserve commission became a possibility, they were required to teach naval science. You couldn’t have a naval ensign who hadn’t taken a naval science course.
When I joined I had to take a naval reserve physical at 90 Church Street. I was a Midshipman USNR, and a Cadet United States Merchant Marine Cadet Corps. We were called Cadet Midshipmen. And when we went to sea, we were known as Cadets. But we were to have a four year program. It was to be two years at sea. And they did that particularly so that we would not get that third year at sea, which would then mean we could qualify to take the license examination ourselves. The Cadet ranking, in terms of the licensing agency, was sufficiently related, like an able seaman. If an able seaman had three years as an able seaman, he could sit for a Third Mate license.
They wanted to be sure that we would come back so they had two separate years at sea the third year was ashore and then the fourth year back at sea, which would have given us three years at sea, and one year ashore. That was the concept of the program.
I entered probably in January of 1941; all we did when we first went there was indoctrination, and preparation to go to sea. As I recall, it was rather disorganized. Jackie Wilson was the only officer there when I first started, and we were a mixture. There were some Cadet Midshipmen there who had been in the program for two years, two and a half years. And then there were some such as myself who were just fresh off the street, so to speak. And this was our first exposure. So we were a mixed group. But we had all taken competitive examinations. They started giving the competitive examinations in 1939. And I took the one in 1940. So some of the original ones had come in shortly after the examination, and then there had been the absorption of some of the others, the so-called company Cadets.
The initial courses at Fort Schuyler before going to sea were indoctrination and orientation. They didn’t give us any naval science. They didn’t have a naval science instructor yet. But we had to learn signaling. We had to be competent in reading Morse code by light, and by key, and we had to know the International code flags, and signals, and so forth. The idea was that we might be the only ones on our ship who would be able to use a blinker, besides the radio operator, perhaps. And then we had to sew a sea bag. A little bit of marlin spike seamanship. And when we completed that, we were ready for assignment on our first ship. And that generally was 30, 45 days, something like that.
So that was just indoctrination. We got our uniforms; we had to buy our own uniforms. They issued us books, and we had, in effect correspondence courses. We had a number of courses that we were given, a number of books. At the time, I remember, I started I had electrical engineering, and steam engineering, as well as marlin spike seamanship. And we did get the blue jackets manual, a Bowditch.
We did have to state a preference as to deck or engine at that time and I chose deck; we had different insignia. The engineers had the propeller, and the deck had the anchor. And I think in a 30 or 45 day period I was assigned to Moore McCormack, and went on the Mormacswan, which was a C2 that had been built in Federal Shipyard, and it was on the South American run at that time; the ship had been originally launched as the Flying Fish. And if you go up to the Superintendent’s Office, outside the office, on a tripod affair that was built for me is the brass bell from the Flying Fish, which was the first ship I went to sea on, but it was called the Mormacswan.
There was very little regimental discipline. We didn’t do any marching. We did have to line up within the Fort Schuyler pentagon, octagon, whatever it was, but there was very little organization such as you have now. We were called the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps. And there we were known as the Federal Cadets, and as I said, we were totally different. We didn’t have any other involvement other than we were paying guests in their facility.
I went to sea in February of ’41-ish, somewhere in there; February, maybe March. I don’t remember exactly. It could have been February. That was probably the best month. And the ship was on a South American run, and we went on a freighter, C-2 freighter. It was new. It was only built in 1939, as I recall. And we went to South America as far down as Buenos Aires, and then back up along the coast. And I think I made two trips on that ship, and then we were visited by a district instructor, a DI who had come aboard. And he told me that I was being transferred to the Argentina, which was a large — one of three passenger ships running for Moore McCormack from the New York area down to as far as Buenos Aires.
And so I moved from the freighter to the passenger ship; I had the 8 to 12 watch. We were supposed to have three deck Cadets, and three engine Cadets on board that ship, and we stood watches with the watch officer. They had a senior watch officer, and junior watch officer, and a Cadet on each watch. And that was a fairly interesting experience. We ate with the passengers in the first class dining room; we had the table for ourselves, which wasn’t an ideally chosen table, but it was a nice experience.
I stayed on that through November of 1941, when they announced that they had a naval science instructor who had joined Jackie Wilson up at Fort Schuyler. I think his name was Crow. And I was taken off the Argentina, and sent back to Fort Schuyler. And I was to take naval science a prerequisite for the Midshipman commission. At that time it was a little better organized. They had a lot of people there, and they had classes, and they were all different periods of tenure. Some of them were then two years, two and a half years. I think my classes were primarily naval science, but I’m not very positive about that.
It wasn’t just a correspondence school. We were going to class, and I think that it was just Jackie Wilson, and then Crow, and I think we were beginning to go to class, and learn something about the Navy, the organization of the Navy, and what a naval officer should know, or a Midshipman should know. Well, it got into December and, of course, Pearl Harbor came along. And I remember quite clearly that event. On a Sunday I had gone to my parents who lived on the island, and we were listening, and couldn’t believe what we were hearing on the radio.
But I stayed there doing the same thing until between Christmas and New Year’s of 1941; then we were called into a room at night, and Jackie Wilson was there. And he said he had a ship, and he needed one deck and one engine Cadet to volunteer. Well, unfortunately, I had been late arriving there. I was among the last to arrive, and I had to take a seat right in the front. And I had my name tag on, and I was sitting next to a fellow, Norman Brubaker. No one raised their hand. Everybody was thinking about New Year’s Eve. It was within a few days. So Jackie said, “No one’s volunteering. Alright!” He said, “King, Brubaker; Deck and engine. You’ve volunteered!” So we went down, and joined the ship, and it was a World War I Hog Island ship called the Hoosier that was loading. It had been a Barber Line ship, but was then States Marine. And they hadn’t had any Cadets on. There was a room. There were two of us in one room. The Hog was a turbine, it wasn’t a reciprocating engine, and it was faster. This one had been speeded up, and it could do 13 knots, something like that, maybe 14, where you think of the old World War I ships you think more of 10 knots, like the Liberty. But we were unarmed, and unescorted, unconvoyed, and we set out New Year’s Day 1942, and went to West Africa. And first we went to Dakar, no Freeport. Dakar was a German, Vichy France port. Freeport.
We were carrying construction materials for an airport refueling station, which was to be built in Robertsport, Liberia. And we had some small amount of cargo for Sierra Leone, Freetown. Then we went down with a small British patrol boat that had sonar, I guess. It was very secretive at that time. And we had to anchor in the open ocean at Robertsport. There was no port as such. And these large canoes came out. They were paddled, that’s why I call them canoes. They called them aqua canoes. And they took off the material, and took it in there. And this patrol boat was patrolling, and listening offshore from us. And we got out of there fine, and went to Monrovia, and did the same thing in Monrovia offshore. And then to a place called Sekondi Takoradi down in the Gold Coast Colony, and loaded manganese ore.
And then it was probably maybe March of 1942, and the Germans had triggered off Operation Drumbeat at that time. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with that. But the head of the German submarine force had planned it so that the German submarines would not sink any ships unless they found real enticing targets of opportunity, so to speak. But they would position themselves along the east coast, going from Nova Scotia down to Florida. And then on signal from the headquarters in Germany they would start attacking. And it would be just this tremendous onslaught of all of these submarines who were in position. And supposedly, if it had gone as originally conceived, would not have sunk anybody. And that was in, say, the middle of January.
Well, we came back in March, and they were sinking ships quite rapidly. And one of my chores was that I would run to the radio shack, which was separate from the bridge, when the radio operator signaled that he had another sinking; he could receive, but he couldn’t transmit. I would run and get the message, and bring it to the bridge, and the Captain and the watch officer would plot it. And then it was a question of which way; how close was he to our course, and which way would the sub have gone, and which way should we go? We zigzagged our way all the way back to the Delaware Capes. And we had the plotting — I wish I had that chart today, because the plotting was just all over the place. They were sinking huge numbers of ships.
It was a terrible time, and we were blacked out, but that was all. We didn’t have a gun, we didn’t have any escorts. We were not convoyed. We were loaded with manganese ore, so that we just had these small piles of this heavy metal in the middle of each hatch, and we would have gone down like a rock if we’d ever been hit. But we made it all the way in. Then we discharged the manganese ore, and then went up to the Sun Shipyard, and they commenced arming the ship, and degaussing, which was making it magnetically neutral so that we wouldn’t trip off magnetic mines.
Well, it was — at the time, they were running up to start convoys up to Murmansk. They did heavy lagging of the steam lines on deck. So everybody knew that we were going north, and they decided they’d had enough. Of course, at that time, the Merchant Marine was composed of a lot of older people, and there weren’t a great number of young people, and some of them weren’t draft-eligible. They decided this is the time to get off. So as we were loading this cargo on the Hoosier and we didn’t have any deck officers. The Captain who remained on then asked me to be the cargo officer. So I was operating way above my capacity and knowledge. But we loaded the ship, and then gradually got a new crew. And then it was probably the day before we sailed the Captain said, “Cadet, you’ve worked hard. We have a full crew. Now you go take some time off. Go ashore.” So I got in my blue uniform all pressed up, and went downtown Philadelphia. And I remember I was looking up at that statue up on top of that municipal building. I think it was William Penn. And I was looking up at that thinking, “Well, who is that?” And all of the sudden I hear this voice call out, “Cadet!” And I turned around, and there was a fellow in uniform, blue uniform. Maritime service, I guess it was. And he said, “What’s your name?” And I told him. And he said, “Are you on a ship?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “What ship?” And I told him. And he said, “Go back to your ship, and I’ll be down in about an hour. I’ve got to pick up some papers at my office.” So I went back to the ship. I remember I went to the Captain, and I said, “I think I’m in trouble. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong, but he accused me of not having reported in,” and I said, “I didn’t even know there was an office here in Philadelphia”. Before when the ship had run to New York, the district instructor would always meet the ship to pick up our correspondence courses that we’d completed.
Just luck that I ran into him. He came down about an hour, and sure enough, my name was on there to be detached to go to Kings Point. I got off the ship, regrettably, because I liked the Skipper. He’d been good to me. And I liked the ship. I thought it was a good ship. But anyhow, I got off, and I came up here. The ship then went on, with convoy PQ17, and was sunk not too far from Archangel. So it was just luck, happenstance. I’m looking up at that statue up there. And if I hadn’t have been there at that moment, I think I would have sailed the next day on the ship. But anyhow, I came up here, and this place was a construction site.
It was probably March or April of 1942. They had just opened the doors a couple months before and it was a construction site. I think the government had acquired twelve estates, the Chrysler building being the main one, now Wiley Hall. This place was Thomas Meehan, I believe, who was a movie actor at the time. He used to entertain; this was considered to be the Gold Coast of Long Island; he would have F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his wife Zelda, and others coming here for gatherings. But the rest of it, there were excavations for foundations; there were wood ramps that you’d walk over piles of dirt going to these CCC construction barracks that were here. There were a number of them. Down in front of Wiley Hall on the grass area going towards the arbors there were two CCC barracks put together, I guess, in a T formation, and that was the mess hall. And they had taken a crew from the stewards department, the galley crew from one of the U.S. Lines passenger ships which had gone into the Navy. It could have been the Manhattan, or the Washington, America even. They just brought them out here en masse, and they were feeding the Cadets.
Now at that time, we were special Cadets. The people they were really interested in were the new fellows who were coming in without examination. They would present their credentials; a high school diploma and the proper courses, and they took them in as plebes. They were beginning to form the regiment then. We were specials; we thought we were quite salty, I’m sure, but we were kept separate from the others. And all of the sudden they told us that the original uniforms, that we had bought ourselves; we had a choker type khaki jacket and trousers, and it was out of date, and they were now going to the roll collar, and we would have to buy ours. And meanwhile they were issuing, for nothing, to all of the new ones the complete set of uniforms.
We thought that was not fair. So I remember we ended up — Jackie Wilson was here and Captain Tomb. I guess Jackie was probably Executive Officer. Captain Tomb had come over from Fort Schuyler, and he was Superintendent, but he was still a Captain, he wasn’t Rear Admiral. And I remember we went into Jackie’s office — it was in Wiley Hall — a number of us, and we were told we had to buy the new uniforms. And we said we declined. So the solution was we would wear a khaki shirt with a necktie, the black necktie, and roll our choker collar on our khaki jackets underneath and leave the top buttons undone so it looked like a roll collar. And we were to get in the back of the formation, and not — that would call for lunch, you know, before them would walk down there.
So we were supposed to go to classes. I would say that the way it worked out, the original correspondence courses that I had on board ship, no one was interested in them any longer. They had changed the course, and they knew they were going to shorten the course; time had passed for those courses. And they had other courses organized. They began to gather a faculty, and a training staff here, and we were sort of kept to ourselves. Well, then the headquarters in Washington started reducing the course, and I think it was probably reduced a couple of times. Anybody who had three years sea time was immediately supposed to go take their license. And then they had other changes.
Well, finally, they cut the course back 18 months, and then I think it went as low as 16 months. And all of the sudden, I was in the category that they’d reached, and they said, “Get your license. Study for your license. When you’re ready, go to the license exam downtown Manhattan.” And that’s it.
They were desperate for warm bodies. Between the sinkings of ships, between the older people deciding shore jobs were good enough for them; and between the new construction program, they just had a desperate manpower need. And they lowered our course. It went from four years down to the first one was anybody with three years sea time, you’re out. And then it went down to 24 months, and then it went to 18 months. And it could have gone as low as 16 months. I’m not quite sure of that. I think some of them, at one point, it was 16. So anyhow, every class I had started was interrupted by something. And when I had tried my best, and all of the sudden it was no longer relevant — we’re not interested in that. They didn’t say that, but that’s the way it was. So I was told I was eligible to study for my license.
By that time, when I first came back from sea from this ship I left, Hoosier, which went to PQ17, I was in what’s now the Dean’s Office, and there were double deck bunks in there. And I think there were 16 or 18 of us in one room in these double deck bunks. Then we moved to the Chrysler garage, which was somewhere up maybe where Jones Hall is now, somewhere around there. And it was a multi-car — could have been eight cars, and above there were servants quarters, and we were put in the servants quarters. I remember we had a porch there, and it was quite nice, actually, as I recall it. But then we moved to the Skank House, which all the specials were in the Skank House. And the new boys coming in, they’d call it the Skunk House. But we were in what is now Land Hall, which is the student activities building. I think they were trying to keep us from contaminating the new boys. But anyhow, I then started studying for my license exam, in what’s now Land Hall; then I was in Skank House studying rules of the road, and the things I had to do. And we had an instructor assigned to us to guide us; one for deck, and one for engine. And when we thought we were ready, we then raised our hand, and said, “We’re ready, we’re going.” And we went off. When we went down to the license exam room I remember it took almost five days. We started on a Monday, and finished on a Friday noontime, maybe. And I got my license, my Third Mate’s license; and I’d graduated. That was it; I never came back. And then I went to where the War Shipping Administration had formed a recruitment and manning organization where you could go independently.
And I remember the fellow that I was friends with who had gotten his license at the same time; he had sailed with U.S. Lines, so I went back with him, and I was assigned to a ship as a licensed officer, Third Mate. I was Junior Third, I think. And it was he Shooting Star, a C2 being built in Sun Shipyard. Brand new ship, and it was diesel, and it was totally refrigerated. We were to run down to South America, and pick up frozen beef in Argentina, and then up to UK. The American forces were building up there, and we were bringing the meat up to them, and then of course with any cargo that was possible, retrograde cargo I guess you’d call it, to New York, and then back down to South America, up to UK, and across.
We were well-armed, and we were fast. I remember at one point I was on watch at night, and it was probably 8 to 12, or the 12 to 4 watch. I forget which. Probably 8 to 12 watch. And the phone rang, and it was the lookout on the bow. I was up on the bridge. And all he kept saying was, “Torpedo! Torpedo!” And I remember I kept saying, “Where? Where?” I was looking at a black ocean. And he’s saying, “Torpedo! Torpedo!” And he wouldn’t stop saying that. He wouldn’t tell me whether it was port, starboard, ahead, where it was. So finally I guess it probably was only a matter of seconds, but it seemed to me it went on for minutes. And finally I just said, “Hard left.” And I didn’t know which way the sub was, but I thought, “I’m going hard left.” And I remember I went and rang the telegraph three times, which was the signal for maximum speed. And then rang the general alarm, which got everybody out — gun crew, and all the merchant crew, and the Captain, and the others came up there. I was still going hard left when the Captain arrived on the bridge, and he — “What’s your heading? And where is this now?” And I said, “I have no idea. All I know is that the lookout called, and said ‘torpedo’ and wouldn’t tell me where. I asked him two or three times, and then just gave the orders, ‘hard left,’ and that was it.” I didn’t know where it was. I didn’t know where it was. It was totally black. It was a very dark night, as I recall.
There were six of those reefer ships — five or six of them. And one of them was sunk by an Italian submarine in the South Atlantic so it wasn’t without any hazard. But I stayed on that ship for two voyages, which was about six months. And they had lowered the time required between license grades from Third Mate to Second Mate, Second Mate to Chief Mate to six months. And then from Chief Mate to Master was one year. It remained one year. So it just worked out fine. I made my two three month voyages, and got back and took my license exam for Second Mate. U.S. Lines sent me out to the west coast, and I took a brand new C1 out of Consolidated Steel’s yard there. I stayed on that one six, seven months. Got off of that ship, came back east and took my license exam. And then went out again. U.S. Lines assigned me to another C1, an older C1, the American Packer that they’d had before the war. And I stayed on that one for a year. Came back to New York, took my license exam. And for the last six months of the war, I was Master.
And then for 12 months I had a diesel-propelled ship, the Snug Hitch. It was particularly built for the islands. And we went out to the Philippines as Master. And I can remember quite clearly, you know, in retrospect, somebody asked me, “Were you really prepared?” And I don’t think I was. But there were a lot of people, Navy people particularly, who were less experienced than I was, and they ended up commanding officer of an LST, and they didn’t really know how to navigate. At least I knew that. I was competent in that. In fact, I was rather good at that.
When I was asked did they change the license exams themselves to get more people through the pipeline, or did they grade them more generously, I thought no, I don’t know that answer. It seemed to me that they were rather stringent, but I couldn’t answer that question. I do remember I think it was my first license exam there was one question, “What do you do in an emergency?” And it was, “Sound the general alarm, and a rapid ringing of the ship’s bell.” And I wrote my answer out, and I left out: and rapid ringing of the ship’s bell. I knew it, but I just couldn’t think of it. I had a mental block at that time. And I remember the instructor called me up, and said, “You’ve forgotten something,” and gave me hints. And I went back, and I thought, “What is it I’ve forgotten?” I went back, and said, “I don’t remember what — I don’t know what I’ve forgotten.” He wrote down, “and rapid ringing of the ship’s bell,” and said, “There are three sheets of paper. Fill it up on both sides.” And I wrote, “and rapid ringing of the ship’s bell” on this line pad, on both sides. Whether that was an accommodation or not; I don’t know. But I never had any problems. I remember the Marine Superintendent of U.S. Lines would say, “I don’t want to have you coming in and saying you have to go to school.” The War Shipping Administration had started license upgrade classes then, and he says, “You come back ready to take your exam.” And I did. Each time I came back, I just got my exam, and maybe took a week’s vacation, and off again.
But I think that in the time that I normally expected to graduate, in a four year program, I was Master of a ship. I expected to graduate, and go on my first job as Third Mate. In actuality, I’d gotten out in 18 months, and I was Ship Master with my own command at the time I normally expected to graduate having completed my Cadet course.
I was 23 at the time, something like that. I’d taken a year from high school off working for the naval architect. I had missed getting sunk on he Hoosier and missed getting torpedoed when I turned left.
There were other war actions I saw. We were in the port of Liverpool; I think it was, when there was an air raid. I was in London. I’d gotten leave from the ship, and went to London, while the ship was discharging. I worked with someone else. We would do this. “You cover my watch, and then I’ll cover your watch.” And it was alright with the skipper. And I ended up in an air raid in London. And then I think I had, on one of the Pacific voyages there was a sighting of a submarine periscope, and we were firing the stern gun, a five inch gun, and running away from it at top speed. And then I think I was in Guadalcanal once when there was an air raid, and the instruction was not to fire. Do the firing from ashore. And that was about it.
I was asked did I feel like my chances of surviving were pretty good, or pretty bad, or did it depend on where you were at the time? I think that at the age I was at, I had no concerns. We carried ammunition for the first battleship squadron that was doing the invasions of the various islands out in the Pacific. And we went up to Port Chicago. I think a matter of weeks after we were there, an ammunition ship blew up at Port Chicago, and killed everybody on the ship. It was a U.S. Lines Victory ship, as I recall. But I never had any real concerns myself. I think I was tense at times, but I never really thought that I wasn’t going to survive. That was the arrogance of youth, I suppose, you know, it can’t happen here.
But I was exposed. I sailed, except for a limited time, for vacation, or license upgrading between ships. I sailed continuously, and I went where I was told, and I went on what ship I was told. And I was just fortunate. I think I was one of the more fortunate.
I never had a graduation ceremony at Kings Point. I think a year, maybe, after I had gotten my first license, a mailing tube arrived at my home address where my parents lived, and it contained a diploma. And the diploma was signed by the Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the head of maritime training and others. I think Stedman and McNulty signed it. Actually, when I became Superintendent, I was the sixth Superintendent, and four of the six who had preceded me as Superintendent had signed my diploma as a Cadet. The other two — Engel, and McLintock hadn’t signed it. But I had it signed by Tomb, by Stedman, and by McNulty. Maybe it was only three. I’m not quite sure. I’d have to go back and look at it now.
I was asked in my limited time there, did I have any exposure to Tomb, or Stedman, or McNulty. McNulty wasn’t based here. Tomb was here. He was Superintendent when I was here, and he was a rather remote figure. I can remember I was here when all of the sudden the United States Coast Guard took over the academy. So some Coast Guard officers were visiting, and they wanted an honor guard from the Cadet Corps. I was tall, and they grabbed me, and several others. And they gave us instructions in how to do the sword salute. I’d never had a sword in my hands before, much less done a sword salute. And I remember after awhile we were so hopeless; whoever it was that was trying to train us said, forget it. I don’t remember who it was that was coming from the Coast Guard.
When asked if that was when construction stopped I said I guess it did, but I wasn’t conscious of that. I didn’t know whether I was told to cancel all my courses that I was involved in, and study for my license exam, I don’t know. I think I lived in my own little world at that time.
Remainder of interview deals with later stages of Tom King’s career