Veteran Charles C. Sherfey (1916-2011) - In His Own Words

Sunday, November 12, 2017

In high school I joined the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp) and trained in uniform one hour, three days a week from 1930 to 1934,  becoming a 1st lieutenant the last year. When the banks collapsed in 1933, I lost more than $80 (earnings from my newspaper route) and my mother lost almost $1,000 (inheritance that she had received from her mother’s estate a few weeks before). Forty percent of this money was paid back in 1935 and another 20 percent in 1937.

When I graduated from the old Knoxville High School in 1934, it was difficult to get a job because of the Depression. I worked for a short time at a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp near Tazewell, Tn., working as a mechanic's helper on trucks. (CCC was part of Roosevelt's new deal, as was WPA, Works Progress Administration, otherwise known as 'We Poke Along'.) 

Joining the Navy Aug. 19, 1935 is a very distinct memory of my life, as well as the decision not to re-enlist Aug. 18, 1939. Both of these decisions had significant effects on my life. In 1937, Amelia Earhart disappeared near Howland Island (Central Pacific) while trying to make the first flight around the world. I was part of the pacific fleet that was sent to search for her, but no signs of her were discovered. 

My time in the navy significantly affected me and taught me to be frugal, thrifty, and hard working. Near the end of my enlistment in 1939, I took the examination for Machinist's Mate 1st Class in the Pacific Fleet. Only three men were selected, I was number 5. If I had been selected, I may have continued in the Navy. Not to re-enlist was the most difficult decision I ever made. After the Navy, I returned to Knoxville and worked in service stations for a while. 

In 1940 I was accepted into a drafting class sponsored by the National Defense Training 
School in Knoxville. They used TVA drafting standards. When finishing the school, I was hired by TVA on Feb. 3, 1941 as an apprentice-engineering draftsman at $105 per month to work in the corporate design office in Knoxville, TN. 

During most of the War years, I worked for TVA in Knoxville, except for a short time in the Navy 
Reserves. During the end of the war, I worked on the completion of Fontana Dam, which was a national war project for producing power for making aluminum and manufacturing goods needed for the War. 

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