Wow! At last after a year of intense schooling, strict discipline and the worst of Navy chicken doo doo an afternoon of ceremonies was attended by all the family relations and friends who could make it. With the close of ceremonies we marched back to the barracks to pack our seabags once more to be ready to ship out.
Where are we going. What ship are we assigned to? Excitement ran rampant!
Next day we found where we would spend two more years with the Navy. Right across the street at the Millington Naval Air Station where flight cadets were prepared for the big show in the Pacific. The future heroes of the Mariana Turkey Shoot and I would have the honor of cranking their engines. What a put down!
"These are the planes we're to service," we asked in horror? They looked more like World War 1 rejects. Stearman biplanes covered with fabric, powered by a 180hp Continental radial engine, open cockpits and painted a bright yellow. Each plane was decorated with big white stars and given a number. Four hundred of these things sat on two separate flight lines waiting for the hopefuls of the graduation class from across the street.
Along with us came Applebaum.
The fat son of a gun was sporting a third class aviation machinist rate. Don't ask me how - when he didn't know rpm from hp or a compass from a tachometer. His wife was a nurse at the local hospital, so he told us. and how she had to take a quart of blood per day from malaria patients.
"You mean she gives them transfusions?"
"No", he said, "she just removes the blood."
"Abe, there are only three quarts in the human body. The patient would be dead by the third day". I pointed out.
Abe was furious. I had called his wife a liar. He wanted me back in the ring.
"Abe", I said with my tongue in my cheek, "she's probably right. What do I know about the male body? Ask me about the female body."
Abe raised an eyebrow not knowing where I was coming from.
Abe was around for a month. One day someone probably got tired of listening to him.
He was shipped to Pearl Harbor and that was the last we heard of Abraham Applebaum.
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