MAY 8, 1944
NEW YORK, Sunday—Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, Captain Giles G. Stedman called for me and we went to visit the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. This is a very unique spot, beautifully landscaped and with permanent buildings. The old Chrysler House has been painted to conform with the newer buildings. On one side of the campus are the shops and study halls, on the other, the barracks where the boys live. Down along the water front you can find small motor boats, row boats, sail boats and one boat devoid of sails but with modern engines.
The first thing I did on arrival was to be conducted to the Amphitrite pool, where just before exams, the cadets toss in pennies. They brought a supply for my use, but when I delved into my pocketbook I found two. Luckily the second one landed in the correct spot, which I suppose indicated that I would pass my exam when I took it. It looked as though I was going to be put to the test right away, for shortly afterwards, we found ourselves on the platform before our first audience!
These pennies have an ultimate purpose as well as an immediate one. Someday they hope to erect a memorial to the members of the group who have died at sea during the war. Already 124 have died and some are missing, for the Merchant Marine is a dangerous service. There are some fine stories of heroism on which to begin building the traditions of the cadet midshipmen of the Merchant Marine Academy.
Like all other military establishments, the barracks are beautifully neat. I lunched with the midshipmen and enjoyed very much the opportunity of seeing this very fine group of young men. As they marched past us in review I was greatly impressed by them. The work must be extraordinarily heavy. Forty-two hours a week is a hard schedule, and they still find time to engage in extracurricular activities, such as publishing a fine magazine called "Polaris," putting on dramatic shows, taking part in athletics and drilling and boating. I decided they never slept.
After lunch I went to Adelphi College in Garden City, which has just established a nursing course where 300 United States cadet nurses are being trained. The occasion was the acceptance by the college of two residence halls which have just been completed by the Federal Works Agency for the use of the nurses. The exercises were interesting and this group of cadet nurses will be a great addition to the hospitals where they will be taking part of their training. One of the advantages of this course is that the girls can be useful while they are still in training.
I stopped for a few minutes at the USO in Hempstead on the way home. It was too early for many of the men from Mitchell Field to be there, but I could see that it was well run and a comfortable and homelike place. I reached home a little before seven and I was glad that my only engagement was to have dinner with a friend.