1 February 2020


AUTOBIOGRAPHY. June 1941, Robert Musa enlists in the United States Marine Corps.

I moved into a two dollar a week hotel room on north Clark street and got a job in a car parking lot which I think paid me a dollar a day plus tips which sometimes amounted to as much as a quarter for the day. I had a place to stay and enough to eat on but I really can't say the future looked too bright. One day as I was bumming around in the loop I saw a group of Sailors coming out of the Old Court House Building, and the light flashed. I had turned seventeen, and I would join the Navy. I went up to the Navy recruiting office and informed them that I wanted to enlist and I took the battery of tests, which I passed and went in for my physical. They poked and prodded, and found me fit except for 2 bad teeth, and I was instructed to get them fixed and I would be accepted. I was dejected as getting enough for my room and food taxed me to my limits, and figured I was a lost cause. As I came out of the Navy recruiting office a Marine Sergeant asked how I had done and I told him I had been rejected due to two bad teeth. He asked me to wait for just a minute and went in to check if the story I had told him was true. When he came out, he said he would enlist me into the Marine Corps and make those Navy Bastards fix my teeth for free. I took the written test for the Corps, and they used the physical I had already taken for the Navy, and instructed me to get a certificate of either my birth or baptism, and a notarized waiver signed by my parents and to be back the following day to be sworn in as a Marine. Early the next morning I took the I.C. train to South Chicago and went to the Saint Peter and Paul Church, where I had been baptized and secured a copy of my Baptism Certificate and hitchhiked on out to Oak Lawn, hoping to get there and gone before Dad got home. Once there I convinced Mom that she should sign the waiver. I told her it would finally end the problems I had with Dad and at least she could rest easy knowing I would have regular meals and a roof over my head. Together we walked the mile plus into town to a Notary and she set me free. Ed Jordan gave me a ride back into Chicago where I caught a streetcar to the loop, arriving at about 4:30 PM at which time I was sworn into the United States Marine Corps. At 11 o'clock that night I was on a train to San Diego. On the 18th of June, 1941, the Santa Fe Scout left Chicago's Dearborn Street Station at 11:30 PM. On board were 6 new Marine Corps enlistees, heading for San Diego, and 8 weeks of recruit training. None of us knew what lay ahead, except in my case I knew that whatever it was, would sure as hell beat what I currently had. The radio in the Club Car was blaring Hut Sut Ral, sitting on the Rillerah, the Hut Sut song was all the rage. I had my train ticket, government meal tickets for 7 meals, the total of about 2 and a half dollars cash, and an upper berth. I also had a token, good for one fare on the San Diego Bus Line to get me from the Train Station to the Recruit Depot. I was 17 years and 27 days old.