The New Orleans Advocate article on Dec. 9 about the U.S. Custom House was very interesting. However, there was no mention that during World War II, military enlistments were conducted in the building.

On July 13, 1945, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy, along with my mom signing her approval. Her signature was needed because I was just 17 years old.

Following signings, volunteers were brought to the Municipal Auditorium for physical exams. The entire floor of the auditorium was surrounded by booths staffed with doctors. We were stripped of all clothes, including shoes and socks. it was strange looking at the empty seats on the second level standing there nude.

After the physical we were taken to a restaurant and given lunch.

Those who passed the physical were led back to the U.S. Custom House and sworn in. At this time the United States had not used the atomic bomb.

Thinking back about the physical, a physiologist asked me if I like girls. I laugh now when I think about it. I am the father of six children.


Navy veteran

Belle Chasse