Interview With Thomas M. Elgin

From the interview with Thomas M. Elgin of Tyler, TX conducted by Patience Rogge by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on January 31, 2008.  Mr. Elgin served in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1949.  Here he describes coming to Fort Worden in 1948:

“I came to Fort Worden after I came back from occupation duty in Japan.  I was on leave and received orders to report to Fort Worden.  We had a little trouble finding Fort Worden because all we knew when we left Louisiana was that it was near Seattle.  We kept looking for it on the map, never located it.  As we neared Seattle, we ran across persons that we thought would know where Fort Worden was.  They were usually soldiers that we saw on the street.  We stopped to ask them where Fort Worden was, one of them says, ‘Yes. They moved out toward Spokane’ and another one said, ‘Yes. I’ve heard of it. They moved it to Alaska.’ So we were real encouraged.  We finally found someone in Seattle who told us to get there by the ferry.  We caught the last Blackball ferry to the peninsula before they had a long strike.  We got over to Port Ludlow.  We got off there and it was getting dark.  We got a little direction on how to drive up to Port Townsend.  We really didn’t know where we were when we got there.  We just knew that Fort Worden was in Port Townsend; it was late and it was dark.  A vehicle passed by and I didn’t see anyone in it but we followed it until it got to the morgue.  I stopped there behind the vehicle, a couple of people got out and pulled a body out of the vehicle. It was a hearse.  I got on the phone to the fort and we got directions to come out.  We spent the night in the BOQ.  That was our introduction to Fort Worden.”

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