Marshall Ralph Doak Chief Pharmacist's Mate United States Navy
Back in the States
The Stay at Hawaii
When I got to Honolulu, it was cool to me. I was so black from the sun. A lot of the times we didn't have shirts on and really got a lot of exposure to the sun. At Pearl Harbor, while waiting for transportation from there to the states, they sent me out to a "Receiving Ship" out in a pineapple field way out in the middle of Hawaii. It was so quiet you could hear a mosquito from one end of the building to the other. Here I've just left a ship where the engine rooms were right beneath me. The sleeping compartment temperature on the tug would run about 120 degrees. We'd be sleepin' in salt, and the sheets would be just soakin' wet. We all had to take salt tablets. We would sleep on topside if we could. Even if it rained we'd stay up there to keep from having to go below decks and put up with that heat. It was so quiet I couldn't sleep. I couldn't hear, or feel, the vibrations of the diesel electric engines. It was just impossible to sleep. Eventually I was assigned to an army ship and I was put in charge of 100 constitutionally psychopathic state patients. I asked what kind of help I was gonna have and they said "You're it." I asked how could one person take care of 100 mental patients. They said, "That's your problem." I did it. My Choice of Duty
I finally made it back to San Francisco and at that point they asked me where I wanted to go. I said I wanted to get as far away from the Pacific as I could get. So they sent me to the New York Naval Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. La and behold, John McCormick was located there. I ended up workin' for him. He was a full Commander at that time. He put me with him in Property and Accounting. All the Chiefs ate with all the officers. We had in our quarters a TV projection set of all things. I was there probably two months and I was doing a lot of things for Mr. McCormick. One day he said, "Marshall, I'm gonna have you transferred." I said, "I don't understand. I enjoy it here. Have I done something?" He said, "No, but I think you deserve this." I said, "Please don't. I'm very happy." It wasn't more than about a week later I was having lunch in the officer's lounge and my orders came through. I asked where I was going. He said, "You're going to Hunter College." I said, "1 don't even know what it is." He said, "You must know someone!"
My New Assignment
Hunter College was in the Bronx. It was the waves training station. There were about 10,000 women on board and there wasn't more than eight men on the whole station. So I packed all my bags and went to see Mr. McCormick. He had a smile on his face and he said, "I think you're gonna like that duty. The Executive Officer I know you're gonna like, her name is Helen Jacobs." She was a wonderful person. I got to know her real well. Helen Jacobs was a former Wimbledon and US Tennis Champion. After WWII The United Nations was founded and their first home was Hunter College. Before the war it was an exclusive girls college. I arrived and they asked me to sign the transfer of medical property and I said, ''No, I want to take an inventory before I sign." This was probably one of the best things I ever did because there were complete dental units missing, X-Ray machines missing, podiatry equipment missing, everything missing. There must have been hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment missing. The dental officers on the beaches would just come out and take whatever they wanted. Same with the podiatrists. I made up a formal survey and I checked disciplinary action indicated everywhere. I called the Medical Supply Depot and said that this is what I found and they said to just make an inventory adjustment. I said that I wanted someone from their department to come out and sign the formal survey too. They did so begrudgingly and we got it all resolved.
Hunter College was fantastic and I probably had 100 girls workin' for me there. I found out it was different trying to discipline or get something done with a girl employee. With a man you could say, "Hey, do this damnit!" But you couldn't do that with a girl. You have to use tact and go about it different. Otherwise you've got tears coming down the eyes and so forth.
It was a great period of time in early' 45. The girls used to play all kinds of tricks on me. They'd have a new group of recruits coming through and all of the sudden they'd say, "Chief, we've got a daisy chain down here." This meant they had all new recruits. I'd say I was busy and they'd say, "Yeah, but the doctor wants you down here." So I'd go down there and there'd be about 200 naked women on this daisy chain. They were having fun with me, constantly pullin' tricks. The Chiefs mess was at the end of this great big auditorium up on the stage. I was the only male chief and there were probably 40-50 female chiefs. I'd hafta walk through this auditorium while there were probably 3,000 ladies eating. It was embarrassing because they'd start clapping every time I took a step until I got to the table and sit down. This went on every day, but I enjoyed it I guess.
There was one police officer Chief there from Los Angeles and her name was Dressler. What a wonderful person. She told me she was gonna have to look out for me because she was afraid I was very vulnerable. She could tell where each girl came from and what her disposition was and whatever. She really knew people. I remember one time I got a call from a girl I'd known and she wanted to see me again. She had just been discharged from the WACS. She was a beautiful girl and I said fine. I told Dressler about her and she asked where we were gonna go to dinner. I told her and she said, "Oh, OK." She asked what time we were gonna go and I told her. So I took my girlfriend to this restaurant and we were seated and were having dinner. I got a phone call. It was Dressler on the phone. She said, "Marshall, I'm sorry to call you but I had to call. Your date is pregnant. I'm a detective. I've been in the police department for years and I recognize certain signs on women and this is one sign you overlooked. I think you're bein' set up so you be careful that's all I wanna say." By God, she was right. That was Dressler. I never got to see her after I left there.
I got to meet some of the professional tennis players that came in with Helen Jacobs. Bill Tilden for one. He was questionable. There were several others that came in, even some of the women. I used to go out with that group with Helen Jacobs and her friends and I got to meet a lot of nice people. When Germany surrendered I happened to be down town as I was still stationed at Hunter College. They took me off the street and put me on radio. I don't remember what program it was, but there was a beautiful girl named Candy that was announcing and conducting the program.