TYLER, TX (KLTV) - In spite of the gathering clouds of war, Ward Voit quit school to join the Navy in 1943.
"My mother was a beautician. Never had a daddy."
Voit says his mother had raised him to take care of himself, so she didn't object to his joining the military, even though he was only seventeen.
"I was supposed to have fourteen weeks of boot camp but I only had six weeks."
With battles going on in the multiple fronts of Europe, the Pacific, and Africa, the armed forces were desperately in need of additional men, so Voit soon found himself on a ship bound for Casablanca.
"It was 300 of us just passengers on the ship. It took us 13 days to cross."
At that time, German submarines, referred to as The Wolf Pack, ruled the Atlantic, so Voit's convoy was bound to attract their attention.
"They sent a torpedo to us, but it never hit us."
But as the ship neared the harbor, it was obvious that they were sailing into war.
"Casablanca, we could hear the boom boom when we dropped anchor out there."
While the battle was raging all around them, Voit and the other men were unloaded from the ship and transported about 50 miles into the desert to fight their own battle.
"That was our goal, to take this air base."
Voit was handed a Thompson machine gun, although he had never used one before.
"I carried that gun with me two and a half years."
In spite of the young sailors' lack of experience, they took the air base from the Germans and then began servicing American bombers and trucking supplies to our forces in Italy.
Ironically, although Voit was in the Navy, he was to spend the remainder of the war in the North African desert.
Ward Voit was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1946, forever proud for serving our country.