From the interview with Floyd Michelson of Seabeck, WA conducted at the Fort Worden History Center by Nancy Vleck on June 8, 2004. Mr. Michelson served in the Boat Battalion, 369th EASR from 1951 to 1952. Here he talks about his experience when sent to France:
It was February 7, 1952, my birthday, that we shipped out for France. We left Fort Worden, got to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, then by ship to Bremerhaven, Germany and then to Rochefort, France. We were stationed right in the middle of Rochefort, a big town. …In France there wasn’t a heck of a lot of entertainment, not in the compund we were in. We’d just go to town and walk around and try out the French wine. We’d go to La Palmyre, which was on the coast–it was a bigger town. We went swimming on the beach. There were bicycles and did a lot of bicycle riding. I didn’t get to see much of the countryside. They had different trips that you could take if you had the money. Like you could go to Paris, or here and there if you had the money. I was married and I was getting about 90 dollars a month until I got married, then it got divided down to 60 dollars a month. That just kept me in cigarettes and stuff.
Most of my service wasn’t really in Port Townsend. We went to Greenland. We went down to Fort Mac Arthur in San Pedro, California. From there, we took some landing barge training there and we had a good company captain. We bivouacked out in Santa Catalina with our boats and landed on the beach and set up our tents and stuff. Then we went by train across the United States, to Camp Kilmer, got on a ship and went up to Greenland. Our ship was the USS Deuel, it was a Victory ship and it wasn’t armored, we were going through ice. So we switched off of that onto the M.L. Hersey. Then we lived on that and commuted back and forth between the ship and shore. We got put in longshoring, because the Navy got involved and they didn’t think a soldier should be running those boats. So, the Navy ran the boats and we unloaded the barge stuff ashore.”