Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Don Ellis Briggs. Don served during World War II.
Don was born in October 1917 in Beverly, Massachusetts to a machinist father and a housewife who loved to ballroom dance. Don’s parents taught him how to dance, making him popular at school dances. He was an exceptional student and upon his graduation, worked as a dishwasher and kitchen worker at the Massachusetts State TB Sanitarium for Children.
Don later moved to California with his wife, Mary, and opened a housekeeping operation in North Hollywood. He also earned a living driving people across the country in his vehicle. In April 1943, Don was drafted into the Navy, attaining the rank of Yeoman second class.
During his service, he was stationed at the US Naval Base Hawkins Field in Tarawa Island in Asiatic Pacific. Don performed secretarial work and noticed the chaplain needed a personal assistant. The Chaplain chose Don to become his personal assistant. Don began secretarial work for the Chaplain and was in charge of driving him around base.
Although, he never saw combat, Don remembers being with the Chaplain and seeing the horrors coming to shore and seeing the dead and wounded. While on the island, he collected hundreds of shells on the beach that he kept, and Don also listened to the radio and was able to see Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour when the USO brought them to perform.
Thank you for your service, Don!
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.