Segment 1


Ferrier was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father died and was buried on his 13th birthday. His mother married a bartender, who turned out to be an alcoholic. Things around home were not great. Ferrier talked to his mother about possibly joining the Navy because he left high school early. His mother had a friend who had a typewriter. This friend changed the date on his birth certificate. Ferrier enlisted 5 days after his 16th birthday in January 1941. Ferrier wanted to join the Navy because he had a friend who served on submarines. Ferrier went to boot camp in Newport, Rhode Island on January 28, 1941. He weighed about 115 pounds. After contemplating the submarine service he realized he might not pass the submarine physical. Instead he was guided towards aviation radio which at the time was being developed in Jacksonville, Florida. It appealed to him and he ended up going to radio school in 1941. Ferrier was in the top 10 percent of his class so he had choices in terms of what he wanted to do. He had read a Time Magazine article that talked about Torpedo Six on the Enterprise [Annotator's Note: Torpedo Squadron Six (VT-6), USS Enterprise (CV-6) aircraft carrier]. He applied for a position with a Torpedo group that was being formed. Ferrier received orders to Torpedo Eight out of radio school. Torpedo planes seemed like an exciting idea. Ferrier did some flying in the TBD-1's, the Douglass Airplanes [Annotator's Note: TBD Devastators, US Naval torpedo bombers]. Ferrier was home on leave at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but he immediately reported back to base at Norfolk. The Hornet [Annotator's Note: USS Hornet CV-8, aircraft carrier] was getting ready for its 1st shakedown cruise. In January 1942, Ferrier went and reported to the Hornet. Ferrier remembers the Hornet being a very large carrier. All of the apprenticed airmen, took the exam for 3rd class. First of March 1942, Ferrier was a radioman 3rd class. At that time Torpedo 8 [Annotator's Note: VT-8] had been designated to get the new Grumman TBF-1's [Annotator's Note: Grumman TBF Avengers, US Naval torpedo bombers]. The squadron was also ordered to go to sea with the Hornet. They went through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific. A small group, received a detail to stay in Norfolk to receive the new TBF-1's. The group was about 70 men. From there Ferrier had an assignment to go to Rhode Island to talk to the guys who built the plane to discuss what was in the plane. Ferrier mainly discussed the radio technology in the plane. Ferrier concerned himself with the instruments because he had to know how to change frequencies in order to talk to different planes. He also had to know how to guide the plane back to the carrier. The type of equipment in the Devastator and the Avenger was relatively the same, as the war progressed they got better technology. In Norfolk they got the new TBF-Avenger. In May of 1942 they took 2 of the planes up to Rhode Island to test the torpedos. After a couple days of test drops they flew back to Norfolk, from there they flew the entire fleet of planes to San Diego. In San Diego they made various adjustments to the planes.


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