I come from a family that had a Navy veteran, my dad, and a Merchant Mariner, my great uncle, during WWII. The conversation at Thanksgivings or Christmas dinner, whenever Uncle Hack would return to South Carolina for a visit, always brought up the fact Uncle Hack wanted my dad to join the Merchant Marines because the money was good during WWII. But my dad wanted to join the Marines so when he went to the induction center and told the Sergeant he wanted to join the Marines the Sergeant proudly announced that he was in the Navy now. Then the Navy trained my dad to be a gunner’s mate on the troop and Liberty (supply) ships where he served beside the Merchant Marines for over two years. Of course my dad would blow his $35 paycheck every month since his home port was Hoboken, N.J. and Uncle Hack blew his money away too. Uncle Hack;s Merchant Marine service to his country was no less important than my dad’s Navy service; he just got paid better.
Uncle Hack Skinner was a Merchant Mariner for almost 35 years and was a colorful relative who brought stories to my young mind that influenced me to leave home and see the world. His stories and gifts from all over the world would light up my mind. I wish all kids could have a Uncle Hack in their lives.
Chuck DeLorme, Lebanon