David Klinepeter was born in April 1926 in Pembroke, Pennsylvania. He had two brothers. His father ran a trolley car and then a bus with the Harrisburg Railway Company and was able to keep his job during the Depression [Annotator's Note: the Great Depression was a global economic depression that lasted from 1929 through 1939 in the United States]. They always had food on the table. They had a garden. They lived in a suburban area in a half a house. He walked to school. They would walk home for lunch. Most of the other boys went out for sports. Klinepeter had glasses since he was four years old. He could not participate in sports, but he played tuba in the school band. His school did grades one through ten. Then they went to Harrisburg [Annotator's Note: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania] for the last two years. They were on their family farm in Perry County [Annotator's Note: Perry County, Pennsylvania] when they heard about Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941]. None of them knew where Pearl Harbor was. He was shocked that America was attacked. When he was 17 years old he tried to join. When he turned 18 years old he wanted to enlist halfway through the school year. He did not want to join the Army. He knew the chief recruiter for the Navy. He was out of school for three weeks when he was on the list of "maybes" to be drafted into the Navy. He went to Bainbridge, Maryland for boot camp. After boot camp, he went on R&R [Annotator's Note: rest and recuperation] back home, and then he went onto more training at Norfolk, Virginia in 1944. The day he got there a hurricane hit the coast. After that, he went to another base and was put to work in the Naval post office.
David Klinepeter worked Monday through Friday and had the weekends and evenings off. He rarely had to pull watch duty. When he left base he wore his uniform. He would go down to Norfolk, Virginia to the USO [Annotator's Note: United Service Organizations] and they had a skating rink. He repaired roller skates for them and worked as a floor manager. There were USO ladies there who helped with the sailors as well. When the war was over he had enough points to get out, but he was asked to extend. He extended for another six months to help let guys who had been overseas for a couple of years get out as soon as they got back to the United States. He was discharged on 3 July 1946. He signed up for the Navy on 28 June 1944. He joined the inactive reserves after the war.
David Klinepeter worked at a drugstore before he went into the service. After the service, the owner took him back and made him the assistant manager. He used the G.I. Bill [Annotator's Note: the G.I. Bill, or Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, was enacted by the United States Congress to aid United States veterans of World War 2 in transitioning back to civilian life and included financial aid for education, mortgages, business starts and unemployment]. He lived with his parents. He bought a car with his money. He brought home three seabags full of Navy dress whites. He got a job at the post office because of his previous work in the Navy [Annotator's Note: Klinepeter worked for the Naval post office in Norfolk, Virginia]. He wanted to stay in the Navy, but he could not because of his vision. He has always been interested in history. In 1949, he got married and they had four sons. He participated in reenactments for the Civil War. He was a Boy Scout [Annotator's Note: Boy Scouts of America] before he went into the service. He received the rank of Eagle Scout [Annotator's Note: the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America]. This was a good help for when he went to boot camp. He had no trouble marching or tying knots when he was in boot camp.
David Klinepeter does not think that young people know enough about World War 2. He thinks young people need to know what happened. They need to see footage of what happened. He thinks the Museum [Annotator's Note: The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana] is important. He thinks reenactments are important. He wants younger veterans to be interested in pushing history. His family was about military life. His younger brother was in the Korean War [Annotator's Note: Korean War, 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953]. He had two sons in the Navy during the Vietnam War [Annotator's Note: Vietnam War, or Second Indochina War, 1 November 1955 to 30 April 1975]. His older brother was in India in the Army during World War 2. He had to be satisfied working in the post office during the war.
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