Merchant mariner recalls WW II patrol in South Pacific

During the war there were canteens manned by lovely volunteers from the field of entertainment who passed out doughnuts and coffee, along with smiles and words of encouragement, to members of the Armed Forces, i.e., Army, Navy, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force.

Merchant Marine personnel were banned from entering and encouraged to "move along."

I enrolled in the early days of my 19th year in the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps in San Mateo, Calif. Well-housed and fed, but forced to buy my uniform, shoes, etc., in conformance with the letter received confirming my acceptance.

I have nothing but good memories of places seen, people met, food enjoyed - forever - including many islands in the South Pacific, starting with Guadalcanal in 1943 and then on with the troops taking island after island headed for Japan while we carried the munitions, beer and smokes, and as much fresh food as possible and, once in a while, a sack of mail for the nearest fleet post office - cheeringly received.