Lee Jacobs knew at some point his time would come.
As an employee of Price Electric in Frederick, Jacobs earned several draft deferments during World War II. Price Electric was developing electrical relays and switches that were being sent overseas to contribute to the war effort.
“Because we were helping the war effort, we didn’t get drafted,” Jacobs said.
But, eventually, as Jacobs predicted, his time did come and he was drafted into the Navy. Because of his work at Price Electric, Jacobs was a fit to be a machinist aboard the USS Chikaskia, an oil tanker commissioned mainly in the Pacific.
Jacobs wasn’t upset to be drafted because so many people his age were already fighting in the war by the time his number was called.
“It’s just what you did,” Jacobs said. “If you were under 40 and could breathe, you were drafted.”
But his willingness didn’t mean he wasn’t scared during his time on the ship. This Chikaskia didn’t take much fire from what Jacobs recalls, but the ship did have to endure typhoon conditions in the Pacific.
Jacobs recalls the waves being “80 or 90 feet tall,” and he wondered if he would ever make it back to Frederick.
“Anyone who says they weren’t scared is fooling theirselves,” he said.
— Allen Etzler