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"That’s the first thing that everybody wanted was mail from home. If we were at sea, the radioman, he would find out what ship was carrying the mail, and, boy, they’d just surround it, send a small boat over there, and pick up the mail, bring it back, and then everything stood still." (Video Interview, 35:42)

   Vern Peters, Jr.
Image of Vern Peters, Jr.
Vern Peters [detail from video]
War: World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Coast Guard
Unit: USS Tacoma (PF 3)
Service Location: Atlantic Ocean; Leyte Gulf and Luzon (Philippines); Aleutian Islands
Rank: Petty Officer Third Class
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Vern Peters chose to enlist in the Coast Guard because of an especially persuasive recruiting poster depicting a bare-chested seaman loading a shell into the breech. Peters completed basic training at Government Island, Alameda, California, where many of his fellow recruits were movie stars. As a Machinist’s Mate Third Class aboard the USS Tacoma, Peters tended to one of the ship’s engines and manned the 20mm gun as his ship sailed in convoys over the Atlantic and Pacific, delivering supplies and escorting other ships.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (62 min.)
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»They Also Served: Coast Guard and Merchant Marine
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Deciding to enlist in the Coast Guard because of a persuasive recruiting poster. (00:53) The “Hollywood Navy” at Government Island, Alameda, California where Peters completed boot camp, included many actors and others associated with the film industry. (01:37) Commanding officer on ship diving in after a seaman who had been swept overboard and rescuing him. (01:46)
Playing pranks aboard ship. (00:43)  
  
 

Home » Vern Peters, Jr.
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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