Happy Veteran's Day!
|Frank Traina, circa 1943.|
My father was a Veteran of World War II. I have his Honorable Discharge and Separation Qualification Record from the Army of the United States. So, what's with the sailor's suit in this photo?
The information about his civilian education and occupation on the back of the Qualification Record tell the story.
My father, Frank Joseph Traina, graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, NJ in 1943. He spent six months in Marine Fireman's Training at the United States Maritime Training School, Sheepshead Bay, NY.
So, Merchant Marine?
He was then "employed by the War Department aboard Army transports with home port being Army Base, Brooklyn, New York. Made eleven voyages in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans."
His job title was Assistant Purser. He "Performed various clerical tasks in connection with the maintenance of fiscal records pertaining to personnel of ship. Computed and prepared monthly payrolls. Handled correspondence pertaining to pursers's office." All with the possibility of being blown out of the water by a torpedo at any moment. That'll spice up your filing.
At the end of the war, he enlisted in the Army, on 13 May 1946. He had two months of Infantry Basic Training and then served as a Private with the Transportation Corps, Detachment C Camp Stoneman in California. There, as a clerk-typist, he "prepared and typed morning reports, records and duty rosters for a unit comprised of 320 enlisted men." He acted as receptionist, set up and maintained file systems, planned duty rosters to coordinate with the unit's training schedule, and handled military and civilian correspondence. He left the Army on 7 July 1947 at the "convenience of the government."
Dad was awarded the American Theater Ribbon and a World War II Victory Medal, neither of which I've ever seen. My father died when I was six years old, and if anyone in the family knew any stories about his service with the Merchant Marine or the Army they never told them to me. Although I understand the importance of his work, it probably didn't lend itself to exciting or entertaining anecdotes. I do have the flag that draped his coffin at his funeral. I wasn't there, being deemed to young to attend, but I expect there were some sort of military honors.