World War II Navy Radio
RM William R (Bill) Morse Story
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NOTE - This is a re-creation of Rob Flory's original site which crashed some time ago - unfortunately some photos are still missing but most of the text is here - if you can help with any replacement photos, please send e-mail to Rob or to Nick K4NYW

Click here for Nick's 1950's-60's Navy Radio Pages -

In Bill's own words:


I was fortunate to make the Radioman school list upon graduating from bootcamp at Camp Robert Smalls,
Great Lakes, April 1943. My school was located in a barracks on Camp Robert Smalls where I began classes, A new school facility was near completion on the same site,being occupied
in late June. Our class began with 28 students and ended
with 12. Our course was 12 weeks.
We began with one copy of DNC-5 and JANAP 119. We had
a Bohme Keyer, loudspeaker and we copied code with pencils.
The new school had typewriters, (we knew them as "mills", headsets,

("cans"), made by TRIMM, regular operating positions and strict adherence to the instructor's repeated direction "Feet flat on the deck and fingers on the
home keys!" Most of our day was spent learning to copy code. The
remainder was learning the contents of the two mentioned
publications and extra hours of typing. Few had had typing
in high school. I was blessed. The last three weeks or
so were spent standing four hour radio watches in a
special booth made just for that purpose. We copied
the fleet broadcasts of NSS, NPG, NPM and any other source
we had. Our five letter code group copy was reviewed by
a crypto activity to determine our accuracy. Plain
language copy was non-existent on the air.
I graduated as a Seaman First class radioman
striker. After a short tour of mess cook duty in
Galley "E", Treasure Island, I went aboard the yard
oiler YO-119, fueling ships with bunker oil and later,
submarines with diesel fuel just before they headed to
open sea from San Francisco. I made third class after
taking my test at NavRad NPG, San Francisco which was
then located in the Federal Building. After duty served
in Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay and Wahiawa, I was discharged
in December, 1945.I saved my rate by joining the
Reserve and attending drill night sessions. Later
on I saw the light and returned as station keeper
reservist and then regular Navy until 1978 when I retired.
Thank you for asking about the school. It changed
my life far beyond what I could ever have hoped for. 73.

William R. (Bill) Morse
Union City, CA