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The Western Star, June 11, 1943.


Protection Youth in U. S. Navy Service Nine Years

Tommy Toothaker
At left: Tommy Toothaker, USN, CM 1c.

When Tommy Toothaker of Protection joined the Navy the 13th day of August, 1934, three months after he graduated from Protection High School, little did he think he would be lucky enough to see so much of the world. There are scarcely any of the important ports of several continents at which he has not touched during his nine years of service in the U. S. Navy following his enlistment.

The long service bar shown on his uniform indicates that he had seen service before World War II, has been in both home and foreign battle areas and has been in numerous engagements with the enemy. In fact, few, if any Comanche County sailors have seen more action on water. Young Toothaker first served, with the Pacific fleet and was on the U. S. S. Langley four years, receiving an honorable discharge in August, 1939. In October of that year he re-enlisted for another "hitch" in the Navy and since that time has served on board the S. S. New York, S. S. Cuyanna, S. S. Kanawha and S. S. Sandpiper in permanent duty status and on the S. S. Bushnell, S. S. Henderson, S. S. Vestol and S. S. Cimarion in temporary duty status, this time with the Atlantic fleet.

Since re-enlistment, Tommy has served three years attached to Patrol Wing Three in the Canal Zone and the past year or two has been in many a "hot spot." At present he is waiting for an assignment to a ship now being built on the east coast and fitted for duty. He cannot disclose the type or name of the new ship to which he will be attached for permanent duty.

See if you can distinguish who the sailor with the hirsute adornments is. He is a first class petty officer carpenter's mate and has two "hash" marks on his left arm. He is a son of a farmer and his wife who live on their farm northeast of Coldwater, and he has a flock of good looking sisters. He is none other than T. C. Toothaker, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Toothaker of Wilmore. He had been on patrol duty in the Atlantic for seven or eight months without touching port and was kept so busy he didn't have time to even shave. When he finally did arrive in port at Boston the latter part of April he received nearly a basket full of mail, as well as a 30 day furlough. He was so interested in reading his mail and getting home pronto that he still did not take time to shave. As he sat in his seat on the train as it rolled through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois with his eyes glued to the long delayed letters, he finally became aware that people were staring at him and whispering, "Why, he is an American sailor, instead of an Amish lad, turned sailor." Tommy had forgotten he was still wearing a heavy beard, and he wore it home, just as a novelty.

While home on his furlough he was united in marriage on May 2, 1943, with Miss Elaine Whited, a Wichita lady. And this gallant lad who has risked his life hundreds of times to help protect the rights of his country, was denied enough gasoline to enjoy a brief honeymoon in his home state. It's a funny world.

Roy Toothaker, father of Tommy Toothaker.

Mary Belle (Huff) Toothaker, mother of Tommy Toothaker.

C.J. Huck, ET3, USN, grand-nephew of Tommy Toothaker, grandson of Melva (Toothaker) Huck.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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