Born on November 26,1931 in Polver, Wisconsin, Robert Dahms graduated from P.J. Jacobs High School in 1951 and was aware from the radio that the Korean War was in full affect, so he was anxious about serving his country. He completed 12 weeks of basics at the Naval Station in Great Lakes before being transferred to Pensacola where he would receive his military occupation speciality (MOS) as an Aircraft Crash Crew Worker who rescued pilots. Robert Dahms boarded a naval ship in Norfolk, VA, known as the T.D.R. 817, and was assigned as a Engine and Freshwater Operator that would convert salt water into fresh water for drinking. His ship would train and patrol waters along the east coast towards Panama Canal and Cuba. Earning as much as $80 per month to send back home to his wife Judith, he was able to earn a 3 day pass off and on to visit his wife and family during his service. Robert Dahms described the day in the life of a sailor aboard a ship, in particular the brig on the ship. The space was very uncomfortable and time in this cell would allow you to reflect on what you had done, but Robert Dahms never sat in one. When he returned to Wisconsin in 1954, he continued as a mechanic working on standard automobiles and trucks.
Punishment on a Naval Ship
Robert Dahms stated that if you didn't follow orders, you spent time in Brig 1 for misconduct. The brig was a steel stall that was very small with a hard bed with no mattress, and the room was the size of a large office. You had a place to sit and you ate out of your lap. They made sailors pay for whatever they did and a person could spend up to 2 days in the brig, depending on the severity. Luckily, Robert Dahms he never spent time in the brig.
Training for the Korean War in the US and Cuba
Once Robert Dahms graduated high school, he volunteered for the military. He was sent to the Great Lakes for 16 weeks of basic training. After training, Robert Dahms went to Pensacola, Florida to rescue downed planes by using a lot of different types of technology to aid the rescuers.
Training and Protecting Pilots While Purifying Water
Robert Dahms continued to work on the home front to train and protect pilots while they were learning to become effective soldiers. While doing so, he also ran evaporators to purify salt water in order to turn it into drinking water. Both of these jobs were important for the soldiers during the Korean War.