Wednesday, March 31, 2010

N.W.S. Earle

Naval Weapons Station Earle is probably why I am here. My Mother was hired there during WW2. She was recently widowed when her first husband was killed in the Battle of the Buldge. To support herself my mother took a job in the personnel department. She met her second husband there, he was a sailor. By him she had two boys (my half brothers) and again widowed when he died suddenly of a stroke. In the early 1960's she met my father who was stationed there and they soon married.

In early 2001, I was working for a sign company in NJ who had a contract to install and service signage on the Naval base. The work took several months to complete. After September 11, 2001 access to the base was highly restricted and difficult to obtain. In order to continue the work my employer had to jump through hoops in order to get his employees access onto the base. All employees had to produce birth certificates for security clearances. I commented to my employer that was ironic, since odds were I was conceived on the back roads of Earle.

I always think of him

I always think of Frank when I see this classic old recruitment poster. The stance of the sailor, how he wears his hat and his build. I remember my mother commenting on this poster years ago, saying it looked like him.

I never considered joining the service. However growing up in our household the Navy was there as well. I remember as a child going on and off of bases. Lakehurst, Naval Weapons Station Earl, McGuire A.F.B. and many hours in the lobby of V.A. Hospitals. I consider it heritage.

Navy Buddies

Frank often spoke of his buddies from the Navy. He didn't have any real family to speak of. The United States Navy was it. I can't remember his friend's names, perhaps a few are still around. Most of Frank's stories involved drinking and fighting. My Dad was 5'11" and never weighted more than 170 pounds in his life. I kind of doubt he won as many fights as he claimed.

However, born in the country and was a tough farmboy who grew up in an abusive home. I knew a man filled with rage and anger, I'm sure when he got drunk and let loose it probally got ugly.