Ernest W. Schleicher
1925 - 2013
Firecontrolman Third Class
Ernie and his sister Naomi Ready for sea
Ernest (Ernie) served on board the USS Cabot, CVL-28, during World War Two. I recently talked to him about his time in the Navy and how he came to be on the Cabot.
In 1944 I was at Penn State University when the Tamaqua draft board got me, it was April of 44. I went to Philadelphia with a bunch of other draftees. As the draftees boarded the train to Philadelphia I saw that they had identified one car as a Navy car and I hopped on. I did my boot camp at Bainbridge Maryland. I had been a ROTC cadet at PSU, due to that experience I was assigned to lead our group as well as leading in drilling and PT. My worst memory of boot camp was seeing all the 35 year old fathers in boot camp.
After boot camp I spent 4 months in Firecontrol training at Anacostia MD where I earned my Third Class Petty Officers rating. After Anacostia, on Nov 9th 1944, we boarded a train in Baltimore and traveled cross-country to Hunters Point California where the USS Cabot was having battle damage repaired. My first impression of the Cabot was that it had a very hard bitten crew, they had been there and back. I was berthed in the fantail and I stood all the usual gun watches. We had plenty of excellent fresh food. I was on the Cabot for the rest of the war and rode it back from the China Sea through the Panama Canal. My best memory of the Cabot was when I was accepted by the torpedo crews and the gunners mates, a great gang. I had been brought on board as a replacement for the favorite Firecontrolman who was lost in a kamakazi hit, it took months for me as a stand in, to gain the entire crews acceptance over their loss. I was very fortunate to be on such a great ship with a great crew.