October 1, and the unintended consequences – Prelude to Pearl Harbor

10-1 8--19370235Marcus Klein - Boot Camp

October First was always a remembered day when I was growing  up. On October 1, 1940, Marcus G. Klein (my dad), enlisted in the US Navy, the “old  navy.” As a young boy I would listen with great interest, inspiration and  imagination as Pop would tell stories of his navy in the early days. There was  no UCMJ (Uniform Code  of Military Justice). The disciplinary system then was “Rocks  and Shoals.” Sailors would spend their entire career in the “Asiatic Fleet” or  in a gun mount on a battleship or cruiser, never being transferred anywhere  else. He often said of the Asiatic Fleet Sailors, called “China Sailors,” that once they were a China Sailor, they often never came back but lived out  their lives in the Orient.

Pop enlisted in the Navy to fight the Nazis. Hitler was  killing Jews. Pop’s family was a second generation German Jewish immigrant  family, and he felt it was his duty to join the efforts against Hitler and  Germany. At the time, he was 23 years old and working at Anis Furs in Detroit  Michigan. Upon his graduation from Boot  Camp at Great Lakes, he was not sent to Europe to fight the Nazis, but to  the USS Medusa, which  he described as a Battleship Tender stationed in the Hawaiian Islands…Pearl  Harbor to be exact. His rating was Blacksmith Apprentice at the time.

He met my Mom in Hilo when Medusa was visiting in early  1941, they married in Honolulu by a Justice of the Peace in June that same year,  survived the attack on  Pearl Harbor and two submarine war patrols in the South Pacific…and  in 1949, while still stationed in Pearl, had me. The naval influence in my life  was immediate…I was born in Aiea Naval Hospital in Pearl City…grew  up as a “Navy  Junior,” and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in  1972, followed by 5 years on active duty as a Surface Warfare  Officer. These are some of the unintended consequences of Marcus G. Klein enlisting  to go to fight in Europe on October 1, 1940.

Pop never made it to Europe, and I for one am glad that he  didn’t.

2 Comments

  1. Deborah

    I know this was such an important day in Pop’s life because Saul always told me about this. Being the prissy little girl I was, I never paid attention to these details until I got older and could appreciate what all my father went thru to protect his country and family. I am so proud of my Pop and the stories he told of his life from the little Jewish boy in Detroit, Michigan to the incredible man he became! So proud to call him my Father!!!!

  2. Saul Klein

    October 1 seems to get here faster and faster with each passing year. For Pop, the Navy was Number One. We all knew that, and even Mom would mention it every once and a while.

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