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David Coffey: Honoring Our Vets

WWII Veteran of the U.S. Navy

In the Spring of 1941, Dave graduated from Tennessee High and decided to work for Glenn L Martin Aircraft, located in Baltimore, Maryland. It did not take long for him to decide that college was a better option and he enrolled at the University of Cincinnati. He was impressed with their Engineering Program and it also allowed him to co-op in Saltville, Virginia on a two month rotation.

Meanwhile, the nation was in shock over the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He still remembers receiving a phone call from his Father, telling him that he had to come home to Bristol to enlist in the Army due to the draft. Traveling to Bristol was a problem, since he didn’t have transportation, so he asked his Dad to check and see if he could enlist in Cincinnati. He got approval to go to the recruiting office in Cincinnati and on his way to the Army office, he noticed a sign outside the Navy Recruiting Office. He walked in the office and asked if the sign was correct – would the Navy pay for his college if he enlisted in the officer’s training program. They confirmed the offer and he signed up immediately.

The Navy sent him to Purdue University as part of the V-12 Navy College Training Program. The program was designed to supplement the force of commissioned officers to meet the demand of World War II. He graduated from Purdue with a degree in Chemical Engineering in October of 1944. After graduation, he entered the United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School in New York City at Columbia University.

Upon completion, on March 8, 1945, Dave was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, with orders to go to Miami to attend Diesel School.

Upon completion of Diesel School, Dave was assigned to the USS Eisner 192 in Brooklyn, New York. The USS Eisner was a Cannon-class destroyer escort that provided escort service against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys.

Eisner sailed from New York on June 9, 1945 for Eniwetok in the Pacific Ocean. The European hostilities had ended on June 8th . The Eisner escorted convoys between Eniwetok and Ulithi, then screened Achemar to Wake Island with forces to repossess the island.

Dave was assigned to assist the Engineer Officer with the repair and maintenance of the Destroyer Escort.

Most Destroyer Escorts in WWII were equipped with depth chargers containing explosives which were manufactured at Holston Army Ammunitions Plant in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Dave was discharged from the U.S. Navy on December 6, 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant – Junior Grade.

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