Strange being here in Pearl Harbor. Knowing that I now tread on ground that was once tread upon by Merlin. Seeing the Submarine Barracks that he would have stayed in, still here, still standing. Touching the very Tower he would have "Ho, Ho, Ho'd" to train for Submarine Escape. Here is a (still uncomplete) list of his life in the Navy I've gleaned from his Service Record.
01 DEC 1919: Born in Willis, VA.
08 Sept 1938: Enlisted in the US Navy at NRS Richmond, VA, ‘Boot Camp’ at NTS Norfolk, VA, Followed by Class ‘A’ Group I (b) “Ordnance School”
01 Dec 1938: 19th Birthday.
02 June 1939: Graduated Ordnance School, Rate: S2C
26 June 1939: Received aboard the USS NASHVILLE (CL-43) for transport from Norfolk, VA to San Pedro, CA.
14 Aug 1939: Received aboard the USS CUYAMA (AO-3) for transport from San Pedro, CA to Pearl Harbor, HI
24 Aug 1939: Received aboard the USS ARGONAUT (SS-166) for duty as messman, awaiting qualification.
01 Dec 1939: 20th Birthday.
16 Feb 1940: Advanced to S1C this date.
05 Apr 1940: Qualified in the use of the Momson ‘Lung’ at a depth of 18 feet
01 May 1940: Qualified SUBMARINES!!!
07 June 1940: Discontinued duties as crew’s messman, transferred to Torpedo Division.
09 July 1940: Crossed the equator at LONG 155 West.
16 Aug 1940: Rating changed to TM3(SS) this date.
06 Sept 1940: Transferred to the USS ALTAIR (AD-11) for transportation and transfer to the USS TUNA (SS-203) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Mare Island, CA.
17 Sept 1940: Transferred via Commercial transport, arrived San Diego, CA this date.
20 Sept 1940: Transferred to Navy Yard Mare Island, CA via Commercial transport.
21 Sept 1940: Reported aboard the CFO (Connection Fitting Out) USS TUNA (CFO 203)
02 Oct 1940: Launched the USS TUNA.
01 Dec 1940: 21st Birthday.
02 Jan 1941: Commissioning Crew, USS TUNA (SS-203).
19 May 1941: Original change of Homeport to Pearl Harbor, however, operations in Hawaiian waters revealed that the Torpedo tubes were misaligned, and required returning to Mare Island for repairs.
01 Aug 1941: Advanced to TM2(SS) this date.
01 Dec 1941: 22nd Birthday.
07 Dec 1941: Attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS TUNA was in drydock at Mare Island Navy Yard.
19 Jan 1942: Transferred to the USS PELIAS (AS-14) for ‘duty and treatment (?)’.
06 May 1942: Transferred to the SUBDIV 62 Relief Crew for the USS TRITON (SS-201). May not have been an active crewmember, but would have handled repairs and weapon on load when the crew pulled into port.
01 Dec 1942: 23rd Birthday.
30 Dec 1942: Transferred to the USS GRAYLING (SS-209). Although no transport is noted in his personnel record, some travel would have had to be done, as the CSD 62 Relief Crew was stationed in Pearl Harbor, and the USS GRAYLING, had changed her base of operations to Fremantle, Australia on 13 Dec 1942.
07 Jan 1943: USS GRAYLING starts Fifth War Patrol.
26 Jan 1943: Sank cargo ship Ushio Maru west of Luzon, received CO’s Commendation for performance of duties in the After Torpedo Room.
27 Jan 1943: Damaged (crew believed sunk) another Japanese ship, received CO’s Commendation for performance of duties in the After Torpedo Room.
11 Feb 1943: Again received CO’s Commendation for performance of duties in the After Torpedo Room, although later accounts showed no shipping lost that day in the operational area. May have been confused with the sinking of a schooner on 24 Feb 1943, to which the USS GRAYLING is credited.
01 Mar 1943: Advanced to TM1(SS) this date.
18 Mar 1943: USS GRAYLING starts Sixth War Patrol.
09 Apr 1943: Attacked and sunk cargo ship Shanghai Maru and damaged four other ships.
18 May 1943: USS GRAYLING starts Seventh War Patrol. Credited with damaging a freighter and two smaller ships, but no targets sunk.