Lester’s days are filled with activities, learning his new job, and orientation on the ship. The discussion about his assignment is crucial to his future activities. Haring must have decided to hold out for a lifeboat assignment with the diesel engine training. Lester volunteered for the refrigeration crew when no others stepped up. This will prove important in days to come.
August 27, 1942
I am over in the sail locker tonight and am not busy so will start a letter. I don’t work in the sail locker very much now as we have been going on board ship the past two days. It isn’t nearly ready to go but we go on board and look around to learn where things are at.
You have no idea how many men are working on her or how crowded it is. Everything is very compact. We were assigned to jobs today and it looks as though I would have to take care of the refrigerator system. That will be a good job but I was hoping to get on one of the lifeboats as they have the only Diesels there are on the ship. Haring, one other fellow, and myself are the only ones that know the Diesels but when they asked for refrigerator men, I was the only one that spoke up. Haring had it in school along with me but he slept most of that course.
I have been very fortunate in getting good jobs so I shouldn’t complain. Our ship is to be commissioned on September 15th so I will start drawing sea duty pay then even though we won’t be going to sea for some time after that. Sea duty means an increase of twenty per cent in pay or about ninety-three dollars per month. That will be pretty good wages. My bond and insurance takes out twenty-two dollars every month.
We seem to have a nice bunch of officers, however we don’t have our captain yet. My chief seems very nice. He and I went aboard another ship today to look at her refrigerating system. I am on the auxiliary crew and we have charge of the upkeep of the refrigerating system, reducing valves, air compressors, the galley (kitchen), the laundry and the lifeboats. There are only eight of us including the chief so I guess we will have enough to do.
There are lots of airplanes flying around all the time, all day and part of the night.