Charles Donovan joined the US Navy prior to WWII and was trained as a radio operator. He traveled to Alaska aboard the USS Spica arriving in the Aleutian Islands in 1942 just prior to the attack on Dutch Harbor.
In his interview, he talks about his life as a 19 year old stationed at Otter Point on Umnak Island and at Chernofsky in the Aleutians, work in Seattle and Guam and then mine sweeping in Japan aboard the USS Concise until the end of the war.
Charles Donovan, during WWII and in 2009. Click the image to view a larger version of it.
courtesy charles donovan
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- Joining the navy, his first assignment on a cargo ship in Central America audio / transcript
- Sailing to San Diego via the Panama Canal, attending radio school, becoming a Radioman Third Class, supplying bases in Alaska, age at enlistment, initial ship assignment audio / transcript
- Six radiomen sent to Aleutians, reporting the weather audio / transcript
- Station at Chernofski Bay and Umnak, story of making coffee with objects found on the island, exploring the island, secret base at Otter Point audio / transcript
- Personnel stationed at Otter Point, staying in touch with others, 503rd Coast Guard Artillery audio / transcript
- Clothing issued in Kodiak and Umnak, first breakfast in Kodiak, story of having to eat mutton from the sheep ranch in the Aleutians, getting supplies, sleeping quarters audio / transcript
- Mail, knowledge of other battles in the war, knowledge of Dutch Harbor bombing, dog fights over Umnak, planes not returning, radio weather reports audio / transcript
- Feeling isolated on Umnak, Seabee commander crash, what Seabees did on Umnak, changes to the Umnak base over the course of the war audio / transcript
- Layout at Chernofski, three men stationed at Chernofski, getting supplies by boat, memorable experiences, getting along with fellow service men audio / transcript
- Learning to drive at Chernofski, driving on the island audio / transcript
- Leaving the Aleutians, knowledge of Kiska and Attu limited to what pilots told him and radio messages, feeling safe in the Aleutians, seeing Japanese planes and ships audio / transcript
- Assignment to the 13th District Headquarters in Seattle after the Aleutians, transmitting naval communications, knowledge of the war theaters audio / transcript
- Assignment to Guam after Seattle, assignment to the USS Concise as the senior radioman, mine sweeping in Japan audio / transcript
- Aboard USS Concise at wars end, learning the war was over, military service for six years, loved the peacetime Navy (before the US entered WWII) audio / transcript
- Usefulness of radio skills after the war, working in department stores, becoming a salesman audio / transcript
- Getting married audio / transcript
As radio operator he traveled to Umnak Island aboard USS Spica in 1942. He later served in Seattle, Guam and mine sweeping in Japan on USS Concise.