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Military Service

Sara: Mr. Eddings, I understand that you were in the military during World War II. I was wondering what were the dates of your military service?
Bill: I went into the U.S. Navy in January of 1944 and was discharged in June of 1946.
Sara: I was wondering why you joined the Navy?
Bill: I really didn’t join the Navy. They drafted me into the Navy. Earlier, I had attempted to volunteer and I discovered that it was segregated and that the only thing I could become was a steward’s mate, and I didn’t want that. I waited until I was 18. They drafted me and gave me a choice when I was going through the line between Navy, Coast Guard and Marine. So I said “Army” and they said “You’re in the Navy.” (Laughter)
Sara: Where did you go to enlist? Where were you living at the time?
Bill: I lived in Yuma so we rode a bus to Phoenix. That was the Induction Center at that time. So they drafted me. When it was all over with, they told me I had eleven days to go home and visit my parents and then I had to report to go to Great Lakes Naval Station.
Sara: What was your job when you first started out and your rank?
Bill: I got good jobs. My first rank was Seaman, I guess. It was the first rank in the Seaman branch as such. I eventually made it to Seaman First Class. I had tasks as Mail Clerk, Store Keeping, and those easy jobs that I pulled up. I attribute that to having good communication skills because I knew how to read well and that kind of stuff. So, I got those easy jobs.
Sara: What year and when did you leave the service?
Bill: I left the service in June, I want to say 19th, 1946. I was separated in Long Beach, CA. I came back to Yuma.
Sara: So after the service you went back home?
Bill: Yes.

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