Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman


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With powerful engines, extensive firepower and heavy armor, the newly christened battleship USS South Dakota steamed out of Philadelphia in August of spoiling for a fight. The ship would become one of the most decorated warships in U. Navy history and acquire a new moniker to reflect the secrets it carried. Photo: Wikipedia. That the vessel was not resting at the bottom of the Pacific was just one of the secrets Battleship X carried through day after day of hellish war at sea. Calvin Graham, the fresh-faced seaman who had set off for battle from the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the summer of , was only 12 years old.

Graham was just 11 and in the sixth grade in Crockett, Texas, when he hatched his plan to lie about his age and join the Navy. One of seven children living at home with an abusive stepfather, he and an older brother moved into a cheap rooming house, and Calvin supported himself by selling newspapers and delivering telegrams on weekends and after school. Even though he moved out, his mother would occasionally visit—sometimes to simply sign his report cards at the end of a semester. The country was at war, however, and being around newspapers afforded the boy the opportunity to keep up on events overseas.

When he learned that some of his cousins had died in battles, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to fight. But he had no intention of waiting five more years. He began to shave at age 11, hoping it would somehow make him look older when he met with military recruiters. It was the dentist who would peer into the mouths of potential recruits. Ray Jackson, who joined the Marines at 16 during World War II, founded the group Veterans of Underage Military Service in , and it listed more than 1, active members, including 26 women.

Calvin Graham told his mother he was going to visit relatives. Instead, he dropped out of the seventh grade and shipped off to San Diego for basic training. There, he said, the drill instructors were aware of the underage recruits and often made them run extra miles and lug heavier packs. By early October , the two ships, along with their escorting cruisers and destroyers, raced to the South Pacific to engage in the fierce fighting in the battle for Guadalcanal. The carrier USS Hornet was repeatedly torpedoed and sank off Santa Cruz, but the South Dakota managed to protect Enterprise , destroying 26 enemy planes with a barrage from its antiaircraft guns.

The explosion injured 50 men, including the skipper, and killed one. But word quickly spread that Gatch had been knocked unconscious. The South Dakota was quickly getting a reputation for being wild-eyed and quick to shoot, and Navy pilots were warned not to fly anywhere near it. The South Dakota was fully repaired at Pearl Harbor, and Captain Gatch returned to his ship, wearing a sling and bandages.

Seaman Graham quietly became a teenager, turning 13 on November 6, just as Japanese naval forces began shelling an American airfield on Guadalcanal Island. There, on November 14, Japanese ships opened fire, sinking or heavily damaging the American destroyers in a four day engagement that became known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Boy Who Became a World War II Veteran at 13 Years Old | History | Smithsonian

Later that evening the South Dakota encountered eight Japanese destroyers; with deadly accurate inch guns, the South Dakota set fire to three of them. One Japanese ship set its searchlights on the South Dakota , and the ship took 42 enemy hits, temporarily losing power. Graham was manning his gun when shrapnel tore through his jaw and mouth; another hit knocked him down, and he fell through three stories of superstructure. Still, the 13 year-old made it to his feet, dazed and bleeding, and helped pull other crew members to safety while others were thrown by the force of the explosions, their bodies aflame, into the Pacific.

It aged me. It was a while before they worked on my mouth.

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Regaining power, and after afflicting heavy damage to the Japanese ships, the South Dakota rapidly disappeared in the smoke. In mid-December, the damaged ship returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for major repairs, where Gatch and his crew were profiled for their heroic deeds in the Pacific. Calvin Graham received a Bronze Star for distinguishing himself in combat, as well as a Purple Heart for his injuries.

Graham returned to Texas and was thrown in a brig at Corpus Christi, Texas, for almost three months. Battleship X returned to the Pacific and continued to shoot Japanese planes out of the sky. He was simply tossed from jail with a suit and a few dollars in his pocket—and no honorable discharge.

Back in Houston, though, he was treated as a celebrity. The attention quickly faded. He married at age 14, became a father the following year, and found work as a welder in a Houston shipyard. Neither his job nor his marriage lasted long. At 17 years old and divorced, and with no service record, Graham was about to be drafted when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He soon broke his back in a fall, for which he received a 20 percent service-connected disability.

The only work he could find after that was selling magazine subscriptions. You could, but it wouldn't be ideal. It all depends on where the fracture occurs and how bad it is. There are two main types of fractures — displaced and non-displaced. To demonstrate the difference, let's pretend you're munching on a chicken drumstick.

In once instance you bend the drumstick until you hear a faint crack. From the outside the drumstick looks fine, and still feels relatively solid. This is known as a non-displaced fracture. In another instance, you really wrench the heck out of that drumstick, and now one end is flapping around. This is known as a displaced fracture, where the two broken ends of the bone aren't lined up and even might be overlapping. If your fracture is non-displaced, then you're in luck. The trick, however, is keeping a non-displaced fracture non-displaced.

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If it's a hand or an arm, then by the sheer pain alone it should be relatively easy to keep whatever's broken immobile. The pain is your body's way of telling you to keep it still, and more often than not it's pretty simple to oblige your body. If the fracture is in a leg, ankle or foot, however, then it gets significantly harder to stop yourself from displacing your broken bone.

So what happens if you don't get a displaced fracture treated? Well, the good news is that your body will heal, eventually, it just won't heal properly. For example, yours truly broke his collarbone into three pieces, and was told by the doctor that the collarbone would heal, just in a Z-shape rather than a straight line. And yes, you are absolutely correct, it would not be good.

It might sound obvious, but our bodies are bags of muscle and membrane and tissues strapped to a skeleton. If you break a bone and it heals funny, the body will accommodate the weird bone shape, but eventually muscles will get sore, tendons and ligaments will get inflamed and you'll feel the pain.

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Trying to define television in the s has proven just as great a task as keeping up with the surge in series, which crested in with scripted shows. A father in the Netherlands filmed a portrait of his daughter Lotte every week from the day she was born.

Here they are stitched together in a surreal montage of growing up. With Adobe Sign you can stop chasing down signatures and get documents signed in minutes — not days. Or is there really a besuited guy out there doling out roundhouse kicks on the mean streets of Penza?

The Solent Forts, a series of perfectly odd 19th-century forts, are now on the market for an undisclosed amount. Sandwiched between the coast of England and the Isle of Wight, the circular forts were commissioned by prime minister Lord Palmerston in the midth century to defend England's ports against enemy attacks.

A fog of micro-debris poses major risks to satellites and spaceship — and this test suggests there is a lot more of it than anyone had thought.

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A roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking and surprising questions that our favorite columnists addressed in recent days. Huel — a competitor to Soylent — is my breakfast and lunch. This is what I get out of it.

Take on greater cooking and baking challenges with this 5-piece cast iron set, complete with a pie pan, grill pan, skillet, and a dutch oven and lid. Frankfurt lost to Freiburg over the weekend in Germany's Bundesliga, but things were a lot worse than a simple loss for Frankfurt's David Abraham, who was red carded after sending Freiburg Manager Christian Streich flying to the turf. Greyhound used to be good. Now, though? It's a mess and it's hard to find a better example of just how absurd it's become than this.

Sometimes when I'm marking timber, I'll have a flashback and just stand there, staring off into space for God knows how long. Sign up for Digg's morning newsletter, get the most interesting stories of the day directly to your inbox every morning. WikiHow embodies an alternative history of the internet, and an interesting possibility for its future. An Uber driver ejects rude passengers from his vehicle after one gives him a hard time about refusing an open container of alcohol.

Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman
Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman
Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman
Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman
Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman
Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman
Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman
Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman Staying in the Game: The Remarkable Story of Doc Seaman

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