A Short Story From a Patriotic Young Man in 1940

by Delton E. Walling, CSM, USN

A little history on me. I was born in Shepard, Michigan May 6, 1921. I graduated June 21, 1940. At 19 years of age I hitchhiked 190 miles to Detroit to join the Navy. I had a still finger from boxing, so I was declared a 4F (not fit for service).

I asked, “How can I get into me Navy?”

The doctor said, “To cut it off!”

I asked, “At your expense or mine?”

He said, “Yours!”

He filled out a form saying exactly where the finger needed to be cut off, so I went to downtown Detroit and found a surgeon. He told me I was nuts. I said, “I may be nuts, but I must join the Navy!” He agreed to do it, so I paid him twenty bucks to cut it off. The doctor gave me three bucks back so I could buy a sandwich on the way home.


I was on the BB38 USS Pennsylvania, flagship of the Pacific Fleet under the command of Husband E. Kimmel. I was in his Communication Force on the day of the raid, 180 feet in the air on a signal tower and saw the entire raid from this vantage point. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Kimmel was removed and Admiral Nimitz took over the command. I served under Admiral Nimitz until June 1942. I served the rest of the war aboard a troop transport called USS Fayette APA43. I went on board as a 1st Class Signalman and was spot promoted to Chief in a few months. I made six invasions on the Pacific Islands including two to lhe Philippines and my last at Iwo Jima. I was one one youngest Chiefs in the Navy.

To put a climax to my life, I sky dived at 89 years of age to beat former President George Bush’s record. Now in my fading years I give speeches to school children or any organization that wants to hear about Pearl Harbor. I hope that I have done my little part to preserve the freedom of the people of the United States. God Bless America!

Delton E. Walling Signature

Delton E. Walling Signature