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Childers was born in Sherman, California. When he was young, his parents move the family to the Oklahoma.When he was ten years old, his parents divorced. He was very bitter about the divorce, he believes, because he had to leave his baseball team.His mother moved him and his two younger brothers to Oklahoma City.Childers did o.k. in school. He would have done better if he had had time to study instead of going straight to work after school. If he didn't work, he didn't eat.In 1940 Childers was age 19. It had been announced that all males had to register for the draft at age 20. He knew people who had been drafted and did not want to go that route.He went to the Marine Corps recruiting office first, but wasn't impressed so he went to the Navy recruiters.Childers had been following the events in Europe. He thought that war was coming with Germany.Since Childers was a minor he had to have a parent sign for him. His father had been a medic in WWI and had seen terrible things. His father thought the navy was a good idea.He went to Dallas for his exams and then he was put on a train for San Diego for boot camp.Childers put in for radio school since it was the only one available. After his training he put in for destroyer duty and was assigned to the USS Cassin [Annotator's Note: DD-372]. The Cassin was at Pearl Harbor when Childers reported aboard.He started out in the deck force but quickly moved to the radio room.Childers was not happy being in the deck force. He felt that if he didn't use his knowledge of code he would lose it.In the radio room his job was to listen to the code coming across and to listen for the FOX broadcasts. During this time he decided that he didn't like going to sea. Life at sea was boring.
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