PATRICIA (STARR) KINGSBURY
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Patricia Ruth Starr was born January 23, 1925. Mother and Father, Ruth and Merle R. Starr. My parents and a sister, Mary Merle, made up our family.
Colville, WA was my home where I lived until I was inducted February 15, 1945, into the U.S. Navy as a WAVE. I received my orders March 1st and March 4th was on my way to serve my country in the war that was to end all wars..
We arrived at Pennsylvania Station in New York City on March 7th. We disembarked from the train, went downstairs, got on the subway and headed for the Bronx. We never did get to see the outside of Penn Station.
Music has always been a big part of my life and I wanted to try out for the Singing Platoon. The only problem was I had lost my voice while traveling east. I was told I would have to try out then or never.
I went into the music room with misgivings, but found I could hum, and hum I did and was chosen. I think he needed altos. Our director was Ray Charles who would later be the director of the Ray Charles Singers. They sang on the Perry Como show among other things.
I had made friends with Betty Lou Koch from Wenatchee, WA while on the train east. She would come to visit me from time-to-time and if I wasn’t there, she would leave an Aplet or Cotlet, a candy made near her home, on my bunk. We still keep in touch.
Keeping abreast of war news, marching, being measured for our uniforms, classes on Navy language, marching, working in the spud locker and pot sink, (I got extra duty there because the girl who was to replace me cut her finger), and more marching. And not to be forgotten -- the shots!
Of course, our tours of New York City, were among our memories and the special time we got to sing with Frank Sinatra and Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra at Easter time on nation-wide hookup so my folks got to hear us.
One time I will never forget is when our platoon was color guard at the funeral service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Betty Lou Koch and I left New York from Grand Central Station the first part of May, 1945, a draft of two with orders to report to the 13th Naval District, Seattle, WA.
Our stay in Seattle was short-lived. We reported to the WAVE officer in charge and found we were to get back on the train the next day and head east again to Pocatello, ID -- where’s that? We arrived at Pocatello Navy Ordnance Base. No water in sight! We found that our luggage was still in Seattle, so lived out of our suitcases for a week or so.
The date was May 7th, 1945 and the next day we took part in a celebration, VE Day in Europe. Here we were just starting our Navy careers and the war was over in Europe, but we still had the war in the Pacific to defeat.
I was a Storekeeper Striker, but I guess because no one else wanted the position, I was assigned Charge of Quarters. There were only 12 WAVES and a WAVE officer at Pocatello, but lots of sailors and marines. We had very nice quarters, two girls to a cubicle, even a kitchen where we ate part of our meals. I was also put in charge of Small Stores, where I got to practice my trade as a storekeeper, doing inventory.
Three months after we arrived in Pocatello the war was over, VJ Day! Everyone started thinking about going home, but it didn’t happen that fast. The fellows had to come home from overseas and some came to our base to be discharged. Two or three of our WAVES were married, including my friend Betty Lou, she was now Mrs. O. J. (Bud) Williams.
The first part of December 1945, the WAVES were transferred to Pier 91, Seattle, WA. All of our group were discharged, except me, and a few days later I was on the train headed east again. This time I didn’t go so far.
December 7th, 1945, the train arrived with a new group of WAVES at Athol, ID, and we boarded what they called a cattle car and were transported to Farragut Naval Base, the second largest naval training base in the United States.
Farragut had started to close down. There were only three or four of the camps being used. The hospital was closed. There were German POW’s still there for six months after we arrived. I worked in one office for a short time and then was sent to the Aide to the Commander’s office for a couple of weeks until a draft of WAVES arrived with a Yeoman among them. From there I worked in an office down at the Brig and finally to the main gate.
By this time I had made SK 3/c, made many new friends, had some wonderful times and experiences. Now it was my turn to be discharged. Off to Seattle again with the last of the WAVES to leave Farragut. Spent a month at Magnolia Bluff and then to Sandpoint Naval base for discharge and home to Colville in August, 1946. Our boys had won the battle for us. God Bless them all.
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