Saturday, April 12, 2014

Not impressive, ME, a Hash mark Seaman.


In Transit at NOB (Norfolk Operational Base) I did odd jobs. I was assigned to the “Personnel in-processing” job where I learned something about the IBM machines I would be repairing. I had seen plenty of IBM cards in the form of checks, but I did not know about all the Card handling equipment.  Remember the IBM card? I learned then, that would be my life for a few years.


(the 029 Key Punch machine)

I had an older Ford Econo line van to travel back and forth to Belmont on weekends while I was awaiting orders.


(This is the 407 accounting machine or printer)

It was sorta funny, because I was so old (27) I fit in with the more senior people and they treated me as an equal. In the Navy when you have 4 years of service you  get a hash mark. A diagonal line sewn on your uniform sleeve. Well I had the hash mark, but the low rank of seaman.


(The hash mark indicates the sailor has over 4 years active duty. My rank was the same as the kid on the right. three half marks meaning seaman (E-3).

Normally this is looked upon as the ‘screw-up’, the sailor who has been busted down and possibly spent time in the Brig. 


The IBM Card Sorter

To me it was sorta fun, and I got a lot of laughs out of it. There was one BIG problem at Norfolk. Sherry was going to drive up one weekend and we would spend time in Norfolk. She was to meet me at ‘Gate 2’.  Being new I did not know there were three or four GATE 2’s in Norfolk at the different Naval activities.  So when she got to Norfolk she asked directions to Gate 2. She was directed to Little Creek Naval Station’s gate 2 and waited for me. I was at Gate 2 NOB wondering what had happened.  Cell phones would have been wonderful then.

Finally some Shore Patrol told her I was probably at NOB gate 2.  So she found her way there. She was a little upset, but after awhile realized it was my ignorance not mean-ness  that separated us.

But we settled down and had a good time touring the area.  Figuring one day we would probably live here.

In a couple weeks I received orders to Great Lakes and my naval career would start in earnest. My Sherry has always been a trooper. About half way thru the school she told me by phone and everyone at home, she and the boys were going to drive up to see me for a weekend. I was thrilled. Her family and some of mine were hesitant to think of her driving around 800 miles to see me.  But she did it, with NO GPS!

Next Stop Washington DC, or more properly Arlington, VA.

Nite Shipslog


I guess you are learning, she is as crazy as I am.



More 1958 Cars



My dad was in the navy. So I've heard lots of stories.

Paula said...

I think my brother worked on a tug boat. I don't know if that's good or bad. Kids now don't know what it's like not to be in constant touch with all the modern technologies we have now. I sure have trouble with them but they are fun and useful. Have to laugh at myself this morning. I tried to make a video of the turtles and one of the cows. Didn't work but one day I made two very poor ones and wasn't even trying. I'm so dense.

Sheila Y said...

I believe I have heard of some of the IBM stuff. I took a couple of data processing courses before I married and they were probably mentioned. I am glad most of the time there were cell phones when I traveled alone with the girls. I remember the first was in a case with a corded handset like regular phones...ha. Take care, Sheila

betty said...

I do remember hearing about the IBM card. Good for Sherry for taking on that journey alone (with the boys, of course, but you know what I mean). She has the sense of adventure just like you Jack!


shirl72 said...

It is hard to believe how far we
have come from the IBM cards.
In the insurance co. I worked the IBM machines filled a whole room.
I remember the girls key punching
and running the card through the
machine. I approved their life
insurance and they printed the policy up. Have we come a long way.
You sure are moving around fast and Sherry and boys right behind

Chatty Crone said...

Are you the only one in the world that did three stints in three different services???

That is totally cool.

Now I can kind of relate here - my niece and now her two sons are in the navy - she went to Washington years ago, but the boys went where you did.

Louis la Vache said...

There is a French connection to the development of the IBM card reader... The Jacquard method of weaving fabric, invented n France, worked off of cards that dictated what thread went where in the weaving of the fabric. The use of those cards was adapted to what became the card readers in those huge computers we had before we figured out how to pack all of that into a silicon chip.

That Packard Hawk you show is one of only 588 of them that were built.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I do remember the IBM cards. I never worked on IBM's at all but do remember them. It had to be difficult being low man when you'd already done those years of service. Your Sherry always comes through like a trooper for sure ! Hope you both have a wonderful Sunday there.

Mevely317 said...

After all these years! Your mention of the key-punch machine gave me chill. Truly that course was my personal Waterloo.
... I suspect my hs teacher only gave me a "D" out of charity!

Ah, thank God for Sherry's forgiving heart ... and lead foot! Her impromptu trip probably meant the world and all to you!