Page 3During my first three years of High School I carried one extra subject which meant that I needed only one credit to graduate. However I had decided that I wanted to go to the United States Naval Academy and thought it a waste of time to do another nine months in High School for just one credit. I thought that I would be better prepared to pass the USNA entrance exams by attending the Cochran-Bryan Preparatory School in Annapolis. After my junior year in high school, I attended the Cochran-Bryan Preparatory School in Annapolis, Maryland before entering the Naval Academy on a second alternate appointment from Rep. Knutson of the Minnesota Sixth Congressional District. While I was at Cochran-Bryan, I visited Rep. Knutson one Saturday in order to talk over the possibility of getting another appointment to the USNA. He told me that the principal appointment was his nephew who could not pass the entrance physical because he was "unsat in eyes" (unsatisfactory vision) and that the first alternate had had very poor grades in high school. All I had to do was be physically fit and to pass the written entrance exams. Because I had no high school diploma, I had to take six exams instead of the normal three substantiating exams. All went well until I got to the geometry exam, which consisted of proving ten theorems. I filled up a lot of paper, but never did make the proof of one particular theorem. My grade was 62.5 (2.5 on the 4.0 scale) which was the lowest passing grade allowed. When my brother KEN saw my grade, he said "You sure did cut it close, Bus".
Last days as a civilian
I am probably still listed as a high school dropout, as I never did get a high school diploma. I was graduated (# 222 in the class of 615) in the USNA class of 1943 with a degree of Bachelor of Science and commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on June 19, 1942. The Class of 1943 was the first class in the war to graduate in three years. My commission was temporary and probationary --- temporary, because all commissions issued during the war were at the pleasure of the President, and probationary because I was unsat in eyes, with the proviso that in six years or less had to pass the eye exam, which I did. I subsequently advanced in ranks from Ensign to Captain as follows:
ENS June 19, 1942 TO May 1, 1943 11 Months
LTJG May 1, 1943 TO July 1, 1944 14 Months
LT July 1, 1944 TO June 5, 1950 71 Months
LCDR June 5, 1950 TO May 1, 1955 59 Months
CDR May 1, 1955 TO July 1, 1962 86 Months
CAPT July 1, 1962 TO July 1, 1972 120 Months
Following graduation I proceeded to Cambridge, Mass. with eleven other Ensigns to develop the curriculum for and to teach at the Naval Reserve Officers Indoctrination School at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. When the curriculum and lesson plans were in use, civilian professors were brought in to continue the teaching. We ensigns lived in a big two story house (really a dormitory). There was only one phone for all the rooms so we kept an honor log of who made what calls. Jimmy Holloway (he later was the Chief Of Naval Operations) made a call to his girlfriend in Washington D.C. to tell her that he did not have enough money to come down and see her that weekend. They talked so long that his telephone bill was one dollar more than the train trip would have been. Of the twelve officers who were in our group, two made Admiral, three were killed in the war, three made Captain, three made Commander, and one resigned.
In February 1943 I joined the pre-commissioning detail of the heavy cruiser USS BOSTON (CA-69) and was aboard for her commissioning on June 30, 1943 in Boston Mass. During my two years in the BOSTON I served as OOD (Officer of the Deck), Sea Detail OOD, Main Battery Spotting Officer, Turret Officer and Division Officer, while the ship participated in all the Pacific Third and Fifth Fleet campaigns, from the Marshall Islands through Iwo Jima. I have related the BOSTON'S record elsewhere in this epistle. Click here to read the story of the BOSTON (with additional pictures).