A Different Life: Interview with a Veteran

Jackie Sheehan ’14
EE Staff Writer

World War II Veteran Edward Sheehan, resident of Bridgeport, shares his wartime memories with The Eagle’s Eye.

Eagle’s Eye: What branch did you serve for in the arm force?
Sheehan: The United States Navy.

Eagle’s Eye: Why did you choose to serve for this specific branch?
Sheehan: My father was in it in World War I and I was lucky to get the same one as he got…I was lucky to get it. You don’t always get the branch you prefer to be in. I got it by luck. My friend Eddie McPadden got into the navy with me as well. We went up to New York State to train, almost up to Buffalo, NY.

Eagle’s Eye: Did you have any worries about going into the war?
Sheehan: No…at least none that I can remember! If anything, I would say I was pretty excited about going into the war. We had a nice ship and everyone at home was enthusiastic about the war as well.

Eagle’s Eye: What was your assigned job in the Navy?
Sheehan: I was a Pharmacist Mate on it. That was my main job. I had to know how to take care of the people who got hurt, when they got hurt. I was still trained to shoot at people if they shot at us. But they never shot at us on the ship. I was lucky. I was stationed at the front of the ship and no one ever fired there.

Eagle’s Eye: What was the most challenging moment in your entire war experience?
Sheehan: When my ship got torpedoed. We lost over 700 guys. We were the third ship, The Exercise Tiger, out of eight to get hit by the Germans. I remember my captain ordering people to go to the back of the ship and get rid of all of the ammunition. Since the torpedoes hit the back of the ship, it would have destroyed us, especially if we had ammunition. I was lucky because I was on the top of the ship. There were many guys that were on the bottom of our ship that did not make it.

Eagle’s Eye: What was the hardest part of the war for you?
Sheehan: At the time, my biggest struggle wasn’t bigger than anyone else’s. We were there for one reason. We had to fight and we had to hope for nothing but the best. Like anybody else. Everyone felt the same way.

Eagle’s Eye: What was the most rewarding part of the war?
Sheehan: When we got back to the [United] States. They sent us back on the Queen Mary. It was the fastest ship so the German’s could never sink it. We first went back to get another boat. Being pharmacist mates, we got to ride back on the Queen Mary to send the injured men home.

Eagle’s Eye: What was it like coming home from the war when it ended?
Sheehan: Oh, it was just great, that’s all I could say. Everyone was so happy. I came home on the train and when I got off, everyone was cheering. The war was over then.

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