Monday, April 7, 2008

You're in the Army...Wait!...the Navy Now!

In 1942 my father, Elmo Bregoli, was 3 months away from graduating from Boston College when an invitation came in the mail. It was from the US Army stating that his presence was urgently needed in Europe, and to see his local recruiter for further instructions.

My dad dutifully went to the US Army recruiting office and spoke with a representative of the organization explaining his desire for a 3-month deferment until after his graduation. The recruiter was angrily steadfast in Uncle Sam’s immediate need for his service and no deferment would be granted or tolerated. He had one week to turn in his papers and become a member of the US Army. The recruiter had put my dad in his place.

My dad was eager to do his part in the war, but wanted to finish a hard fought battle for higher education before fighting a foreign enemy over seas. He would not be graduating this year, he would be serving his country, and the army representative was an ass; those were the facts.

He put his intellect and one-week to good use and came up with a plan to put the Army recruiter in his place and serve his country, both honorably.

The week was up and not hearing from my dad, the Army recruiter called him on the phone and proceeded to lay into him; my father listened and waited. After the threats of arrest and punishment, my dad explained his situation…

He was sorry, but would be unable to join the US Army because he had enlisted with the US Navy…silence on the other end of the phone…and then a long, loud tirade on how much extra work and hardship he had just created for the Army recruiter.

My dad said, "Now you know how I feel." and hung up the phone. Thus began my dad’s sojourn with the US Navy during WWII.

I think, quite possibly, this was THE move that got my dad through the war safely.