Thursday, January 21, 2016


Today I came across a short article from Yankee Magazine that talked about the Quonset huts that were developed during WWII. They’re a cylindrical metal building that you see around occasionally in industrial areas or even sometimes as homes. There’s one such a street away from where my mother lives.

Quonset Huts in Daviesville, Rhode Island

Named after the place in Rhode Island where they were first built, I always think of the Navy’s Construction Battalion, better known as the Seabees which formed during this time period, when I see one. This unit of the military was the only one that accepted “old men” at that time into their ranks. To quote Kenneth Wooster’s writings:

By August 1942, he also joined the service. Too old, at 46, to be accepted by any other branch, he joined the US Navy Seabees. He spent time in  (Port of Spain) Trinidad, Hawaii and the Philippines, arriving home a few days before the end of the war in the Pacific.”

The “he” that Kenneth is referring to is his father, my grandfather, Marion Wooster. Already a veteran of the First World War he was a carpenter and spent the war years building roads and I’m sure many of the Quonset huts in these places. At one point he was stationed at the Navy base in Rhode Island when my grandmother got to visit him.

Marion in November 1942 Skaneateles, NY
A few years ago while doing some genealogy research in Rhode Island I discovered that the base has a museum to the Seabees and was privileged to visit there. It isn’t much of a museum and was obviously struggling to keep open, but there was something special about walking around there and knowing that my grandfather had likely tread the exact same ground I was. 
Seabees Mascot

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