Frederick Stent was born in August 1923 in Charleston, South Carolina. He did a lot of traveling around the large cities in the United States while he was young. His father, a captain of cargo and cruise ships, was of German descent. Stent tried to enlist in the Navy at age 16 years and six months, but was refused because he was too young. The Army took him when he turned 17. Stent went to Australia aboard the Queen Elizabeth I [Annotator's Note: RMS Queen Elizabeth]. When he was boarding the ship, he was handed a notification that his grandmother had died. He handed the note to one of a couple of colonels standing near the gangplank, who said he would take care of things for him. Stent was in the Army for eight years, and was "going for 30," but somehow got disrupted. He didn't find the service difficult, but he got tired of the military way of living.
Going into the Pacific took 19 days, zig-zagging [Annotator's Note: a naval anti-submarine maneuver], in a three-ship convoy. Frederick Stent spent time on deck looking out over the sea. He thinks he landed in Australia in April, and the ship was so big, it had to stay offshore while lighters took the troops ashore. He said that the waters of the Pacific around Australia were calm. Stent went ashore at Sidney, and spent 18 months in the port of New Georgia in the northern part of Australia expecting the Japs [Annotator's Note: a period derogatory term for Japanese] to invade the country. He was a supply clerk for four combat units, and laments that he never "got a chance to shoot." He helped set up a system for the units to draw from, most importantly food and ammunition, and was eventually promoted to supply sergeant. He only had to work a few days out of the month, when he had to issue or re-issue supplies. He handled requisitions and payroll deductions. Stent said the heat in Australia was "unbearable." Even when there was a breeze, it was hot air blowing. Stent carried a .45 automatic pistol [Annotator's Note: .45 caliber M1911 semi-automatic pistol].
Asked what he thought about the Japanese at the time, Frederick Stent said he thought they were "foolish" to be fighting a war they couldn't supply. He thought that the dropping of the atomic bomb was unfortunate for the civilians, but it was necessary to stop the war. He noted that the man who developed the bomb was a German, working for the Allies. Stent didn't find life much different when he came back to the United States. He had gotten to know Australia pretty good, through his many trips north and south. Travel there was a problem, though, even with the trains that moved at great speed, because they weren't reliable. Opposite to the United States, he observed, the north was warm and the south was cold. He feels his most memorable experience of World War 2 was the freedom he had to move around when he had a pass. The people there spoke English, which made it easy to communicate. Stent said it was a big country.
The reason Frederick Stent served during World War 2 was because he wanted to be in the military. His father had served in the Navy and didn't agree to "sign" for him, but his mother did. The war didn't change Stent's life, because he was "still growing up." Today, it gives him a lot to talk about. His quartermaster outfit [Annotator's Note: Company E, 48th Quartermaster Regiment] had combat training, and was adept at night driving. They never had an accident, but they were never under combat conditions. He thinks it important to teach the lessons of war to future generations.
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