Hello! I am here as the scribe for my granddad, George, who has been kind enough to agree to do an AMA. Here is some about him. Here he is:

Here I am! (proof)

Granddad was born in 1918 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in Divinity and also a degree in Counseling from Harvard. He grew up through the depression, and became a Navy Chaplain (minister in the U.S. Navy [Methodist minister]). He served on the USS Appalachian, and the USS Mindoro (aircraft carrier), as well as serving with the Marines and the Coast Guard all throughout World War II. George moved to numerous different places, including Guam, Maine and many others. After his retirement from the navy in 1964, granddad became a chaplain at schools such as Perkiomen and others (memory loss :( ).

I will be reading the comments this gets to granddad, and will reply with his answer. Sorry if he can't quite remember some things. SOOOO....Ask Me Anything!

P.S. Anyone heard the story about Misty of Chincoteague? Well granddad was living there at the time of Misty, and got to personally befriend the horse. Cool huh?

Comments: 92 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

ImFeklhr15 karma

First off, thank him for his service. Does he remember any non-believers in the navy? Obviously as a minister he would come into contact most with believers. But perhaps he has some insight into religion during the WWII.

CastleCorp20 karma

Oh sure, there were non-believers. If a man was unhappy, you could be pretty sure that he was either not able to develop any religious spirit, and we got to the heart of many of the problems that the men had by talking to them about their family, their love life, talking about the girls or fellows that they loved. Religion impacted different people in different ways. Let me give you one example: my duty closest to my home base was when I was in the navy working with the young people who were receiving their coast guard training. One day I looked up from my desk where I was writing a letter, and a young man came in. You could tell by looking at him that he was extremely unhappy. He asked if he could talk with me and I said that he could. He sat down in a seat by my desk and I asked what the problem was, and he burst into tears and he said that when there were drills as far as teaching them how to abandon ship, the thing that frightened him terribly, was that when he had to climb up the side of the ship, he just could not do it. We could tell pretty shortly that he was frightened, and that there was something mysterious about his feelings, and to say it bluntly: he tried time and again to go up the side of the ship and he couldn't do it and he finally said he wanted to go home. It turned out that he was a homosexual, and that the climbing up the side of the rope was so suggestive to him of a relationship that he just could not do it. So me and him walked over to the commanding officer's office, and made arrangements for him to be discharged. This information may not be significant to you, but his father was a Lutheran pastor, who was assigned to a church in the town which I was serving.

x_glo5 karma

Your grandad seems to have handled that very well, I hope that guy found the love of his life.

CastleCorp4 karma

That is all we can hope.

Clausewitz19963 karma

The rope was so suggestive of a homosexual relationship that he couldn't climb it?

That's some pretty Freudian shit right there!

CastleCorp3 karma

Yeah...I'm not really sure what all that was about...I'm just writing what he says. Haha.

maxdecphoenix-36 karma

Really wish I hadn't read this. This is probably one of the most arrogant comments I've ever seen on the internet. "The real reason everyone was unhappy was cause they didn't believe in jeebus." What a crock of shit. Utter. Fucking. Shit.
Sure, it was jesus, Couldn't possibly have had anything to do with being drafted, separated from your family, crammed into a boat with 400 dudes, bathing and sleeping like a stock animal, capped off with the increased probability of an early death. A generally gruesome one at that.

And don't even get me started on using his authority to "help" an otherwise capable person be discharged for being gay. I'm sure that was done in his 'best interests'. To preserve his good mental disposition. I'm sure religion steeped personal opinion didn't factor in at all.

CastleCorp22 karma

Come one man, this is just him telling his side of the story. After all, he is a chaplain, what do expect him to say? Honestly, say what you wish, but please, have some decency and speak with a little respect. All the cursing really isn't necessary.

You are talking to a 95 year old veteran. Please show some respect.

frankgrimes1-44 karma

So becuase he is 95 and a veteran he automatically deserves respect. I dont think you mentioned if he was drafted or not, sounds like it was his choice to take a job that should be considered unconstitutional.

CastleCorp21 karma

Yes, I do think that being 95 years old, and a veteran is cause for him deserving respect. He was in fact chosen for the job, although yes I do believe he chose to take the job. I am not really sure how that is unconstitutional, and honestly I don't care. Please, respect me and my family like I respect you and yours.

conenubi70111 karma

Exactly. Respect your elders, I believe people have forgotten about that.

CastleCorp8 karma

Thank you!

catofnortherndarknes11 karma

I sure hope you're censoring out the hateful remarks people are making rather than sharing them with your Grandfather. I'm an agnostic myself, a strong proponent of civil rights for GLBT people, and a strong proponent of separation of church and state, but I still think people say a lot of things from behind the safety of their computer screens that they wouldn't dare to say to someone's face.

Further, I don't much care what your religion is, he was probably the last face of comfort and last hand to hold for a lot of boys who died in fear and agony and way too young, and managed to come home and raise a family and share his knowledge with generations of students. That's cast-iron balls right there, and that alone deserves respect.

Damn. Some people are really freaking embarrassing to share humanity with!

CastleCorp4 karma

Thank you very much for this. It means a lot. Yes, I am censoring out the hateful remarks, which unfortunately seem to be coming in way too quickly. Thank you.

Thank you for this too:

Damn. Some people are really freaking embarrassing to share humanity with!

el3ctronicfumes-9 karma

I would say that having a religious figure in the military under a public salary seems a little unconstitutional to me. Or atleast it should be interpreted so.

CastleCorp3 karma

I think it's perfectly fine to state one's opinions, just do it in a respectful way. He is still an elder, and a veteran, and my grandfather, so I would like him to be treated with respect.

frankgrimes1-22 karma

Not sure how I disrespected him, I just disagree that you assume one automatically deserve respect because you are old and a veteran. Especially when it was his choice.

IF you dont think the US Government hiring Chaplins is not endorsing religion in particular in your GF case the christian religion I highly doubt that in your GF time they were concerned with other religions then I dont know what to tell you.

CastleCorp9 karma

That is my belief, and as he is my granddad, I ask you to respect him.

dialdfordesi9 karma

What were things that you learned in the Navy that can be applicable to teaching? What did you teach?

CastleCorp16 karma

Well, I taught religion primarily, psychology. Good personal relationships. The reason that the Navy gave me special training was that when I was insisted I told the officer interviewing me, that I was fascinated with the relationship that the Catholic Priests had with the Catholic servicemen, and especially the effects that prayer had on their problems. That becomes a tool that you have, when you're talking with somebody and you can discuss the prayers that they had or the wish that they had. It often gave insight into the things that were bothering them, frightening them, making them unhappy. It helped me gain insight into the problem and what we could do about it.

hrannar9 karma

what was his first job ?

CastleCorp18 karma

My mind is full of all the little incidents that seem to add up. In a sense, my first job was to be a good son and help my parents, especially with the gardening at my home. I had to help out a lot, as we, like many families struggled through the depression.

My first paid job was when I learned to trap animals such as skunks, and would sell them to people for their furs, to help get money for my family during the depression. I was around 14 at the time.

hrannar9 karma

you sir have my full respect

CastleCorp13 karma

Thank you. I think that is the highest level of personal relationships.

Troomaan9 karma

Tell your grandfather thank you for your service!

CastleCorp7 karma

Your welcome!

OwningTheWorld6 karma

It is an honor to be able to talk to you sir. The sacrifices you have made over the course of your tenure in the Navy are unimaginable. Thank you for what you did for this country. People need to remember how important the Veterans are to this Nation. No Questions here just a big thank you for all that you have done for America.

CastleCorp2 karma

That's a wonderful thought. Thank you.

Leezer976 karma

Thats incredible! I am an RP in the Navy, my job is to support Chaplains and also protect them. I have a ton of respect for your granddad. Its people like him that give me motivation to go to work everyday=)

CastleCorp3 karma

Oh wow! You know, we do the work for them. And you telling me that you do the work for me, is absolutely wonderful.

mattyp19845 karma

Thank you gentlemen for this AMA. I presume your grandfather witness some unimaginable tragedies; I am curious how this affected his faith. Was he drawn more towards the Lord, or were there moments of questioning God's existence?

CastleCorp14 karma

I had such confidence in the United States. What we were doing, the training we were getting, the leadership that we were provided, that I don't think I was ever afraid of the outcome of the war. The war made my faith stronger because it opened up so many different relationships and gave insight into how the people in other countries were reacting to each other. I had a very personal insight to it: my younger brother was 2 years behind me in college, but he got into the Navy early. Bill was in some of the early, most terrible fighting in the Alaskan area and down into the tropics, and all the time these things were going on, some of the Japanese were being killed, some of our people were being killed, and it made our faith stronger because we lived it day by day. We all were looking out for each. I had a job as a chaplain, someone else had a job as a chef, flying airplanes, invading islands, and we all had to stick together.

I never questioned His existence. I was very interested in Buddhism in particular, because what you learn from people's religious faith, you learn the best of them and turn that to your own growth. If I had the choice to start over, I would still be a Christian. I learned about other religions, and I had friends of other religions and we made life better for each other whenever and wherever we could.

IguanaBob265 karma

Given how much of the world has changed over your 95 years, how do you think the world will change over your grandchild's lifetime?

CastleCorp3 karma

(This cracked him up) This is such an overwhelming question. I know it's going to change, tremendously. But I don't know how, why, any of those wonderful questions.

Swiss_Confederate5 karma

How many "foreign" woman did he kiss? :D

CastleCorp20 karma

None! I was happily in love to with the love of his life. It gave me insight into what the servicemen needed, to have relationships with people of the other sex, as well as backgrounds.

On a side note: Grandmom and granddad were in love and married for 70 years. Grandmom passed away in October, 2011.

cvoss114 karma


CastleCorp14 karma

No doubt in my mind. Now, we lived through the fears that we might not, that too many of our people might be hurt, killed, but I always had faith that the United States would win the battle. I got paid off at the end of the war. The ship I was on, at the end of the war, we had been in the Philipines, gathering for the invasion of Japan, and when the atomic bombs where dropped in Japan, we began to feel that the war would be over in no time. The Admiral on our ship was ordered to take the Mindoro to Tokyo Bay to receive the surrender of Japan, and then we toured around the mainland of Japan, including the places where the bombs had fell.

In the beginning of the war, I think we were all puzzled by the Japanese way of life, and there was so much lack of understanding of each other. You know, all we could do was to hear what the news people found out about one city or another, one country or another. And that's all we knew. It was so vague. The fact that it was so vague and that we knew so little is what was scary about it. They're dropping bombs and so are we.

scaru3 karma

 then we toured around the mainland of Japan, including the places where the bombs had fell.

Wasn't the area still radioactive? If so were there any health problems associated with that?

Also, to the grandchild, did you ever figure out how many of those amber LEDs you needed? :P

CastleCorp5 karma

That was the amazing thing for me. Especially at Hiroshima, that's fairly near to Tokyo. I and my friends walked all through that area. You know they had told us you all have to b protected. We had no immediate or lasting effects from that visit. I picked up out of a refrigerator that had been melted by the bomb a bottle of Coke and I brought that home with me. And there has never been any effect. As far as I know. I'm still here! We went to Nagasaki, and it was nowhere near as dramatic as Hiroshima. Everything was just blasted. In all the streets everything was just dust and ashes. It was very sad.

babybluegrl80823 karma

Psych person here... Very impressive that he went to Harvard for counseling! Did he ever use that degree? What made him pursue that? Any cool Harvard stories?

CastleCorp2 karma

I never used the degree in a teaching sense, but I used it every day in my relationships with other people, trying to understand them, and in every job that I was assigned to do. I pursued the degree because first of all, it seemed natural to me to learn as much as i could about myself and others. I think that summarizes it.

My personal experience with Harvard was that I met and admired one of the finest teachers that I had, and we became such close friends, that when I was assigned to Argentia, Newfoundland, I arranged for him to come and do some talks so that he would get to know some of them men stationed there and they him. His name was Rollie Fairbanks.

crimson7773 karma

If you come back I figured I'd ask.

As a Chaplain were you supposed to know much about other faiths, or was it mostly Christianity? I know that nowadays that Chaplains are supposed to help with all faiths, and have some knowledge of them all.

Also, what was your best memory of the war, or life in general? What advice do you have about life?

CastleCorp3 karma

Oh sure. You kept learning about other faiths all the time. Mainly, it was Christianity, because I was born and raised in that tradition, but I learned to be as much interested in other religions.

I think my best answer is to focus in on me. I know the best thing in life to me, was the day I met my wife to be, and the adventure we went through as we faced the oppositions of both sets of parents. They were good people, but they were embedded in their ideas of what was necessary and good, and I was learning that their was something more important than that.

One piece of advice is that we all have to open to all of the possibilities out there, and work with all of them that are significant to us. What's significant to me, may be 1000 times insignificant to someone else, but I have to hang on to what's important to me, and make it meaningful to everyone that I touch.

bunknown3 karma

Came here to thank your granddad for his service!

CastleCorp3 karma

Thank you very much.

friedjumboshrimp2 karma

Did he ever have to join in and fire at the enemy? Best chow on the ships? Do chaplains go through bootcamp?

CastleCorp3 karma

No, i never had to. Chaplains didn't so that. No weapons.

None of the food things meant very much to us. I ate what was given me. Steak and eggs on Sunday morning in the mess after chapel was always good. I was always more interested in people than things.

Chaplains sort of had bootcamp. We had 2 months of training for the military. Now remember, the war was underway, so this was right up to the button of what you were going to have to do when you got aboard ship, and put on your uniform. One of my favorite memories was the young man who played the organ for the church services. When we would leave the ship to go to other ships or another island near Guam, my memory was of him and his devotion to doing his job the best he knew how. His personality was such a friendly brotherly relationship, that I will never forget it.

1trocksmysocks2 karma

Did you get much of a chance to observe medicine? Did the methods of medicine change during the war?

What was the moment when you felt you did the most good?

How would you describe your treatment of atheists? Were there many? Were they ostracized or did you keep their beliefs confidential?

CastleCorp2 karma

I worked with doctors all the time. The ships's doctor and I were great friends. I think it all hinges with the attitude of the doctor and the patient: how they relate to each other and are open to each other. You can't go through life believing that all you know is all there is to know, because there is so much more out there to learn. I don't think I'm in a position to answer if medicine changed throughout the war. I'm just one person, I know my experiences. I do think that throughout the war, medicine progressed. There was a constant learning going on.

For myself, the treatment of atheists was a point of respecting peoples ideas. I knew that they knew what they had experienced, but my knowledge was limited by my experience. There were not many deliberate atheists, but there were many people who just didn't know where they fell and where trying to find themselves and answers. I don't think they were ostracized. I think people respect other people's point of view. I think they might argue about it, but that didn't really affect their occupation or their relationship.

eyepapercut2 karma


CastleCorp3 karma

When one of our pilots was landing on the deck of our ship and something went wrong, and his plane smashed against the bulkhead, and he died almost instantly. We all were standing by trying to do everything we could to help him. The accident happened, and there was nothing we could do about it. We all had to face up to the job that we had, and the horrible results that happened sometimes. That was when I was onboard the USS Mindoro, a carrier.

iluvucorgi2 karma

What's Misty of Chincoteague? I've not heard of it.

CastleCorp3 karma

Here's a wikipedia article. It's also a really great book.

stlouisbrowns-6 karma

He'd better get on to the school teaching part soon. At 95 I can't imagine he's got much more time.

CastleCorp2 karma

Oh. he's got plenty more time. He walks a mile every day, eats healthy and has no outstanding health issues. Also, there haven't been any questions about the school teaching part. We are just answering the questions we get.

[deleted]-10 karma


CastleCorp3 karma