Career of Willard Norman (Norm) Dalling.
started his radio
career as an amateur in 1932, licensed as W3BLN. He held that call the
rest of his life.
1935 he went to sea as 3rd Radio
Operator on the SS Scanstates out of Jersey City,
NJ and owned by
the Moore-McCormack Company. It had a 5kw spark
transmitter as well as an RCA HF rig that he reported worked
very well on 40 meters.
After serving the required 6 months aboard ship, he
received his 1st Class Radiotelegraph license.
joined the Naval Reserve in 1937 and was made a Radioman
(RM2/c). During his career as a
Operator he served aboard 2 tankers and one freighter. He quit going to sea
when he married in 1939.
second wedding anniversary in spring 1941 he was called to
active duty and reported to Naval Air Station(NAS) Lakehurst, NJ (callsign NEL). He checked in one
afternoon and the next morning was manning one of the radio
circuits, which he said made him sweat a little as he had had
very little training in Navy
never went through boot camp but with the help of the
Bluejacket’s Manual and the “regular” Navy men
he got up to speed on general seamanship and other military
Lakehurst he operated on
circuits between Lakehurst(NEL), Philadelphia Navy
Yard(NAI), and NAS Cape May, NJ(NCR). He also installed and
debugged equipment in a new transmitter building with another
Radioman, maintained radio gear
on the 3 planes that were assigned to Lakehurst. He made Radioman
1st Class while at Lakehurst, and because their station was
the only one that did not require civilian contractors to come
in to get the transmitters going, Norm and the other Radioman
who helped him install the transmitters were both promoted to
promotion to Warrant Officer, Norm was assigned to NAS
Midway Island (callsign
NQM). He served
there for 13 months as Radio
Materiel Officer, having oversight of all the radio
equipment on the island.
last wartime duty was on USS Kitkun Bay, CVE-71, an Escort
Carrier, also known as a baby flattop or a jeep carrier. He supervised the
Radiomen and the Radio
of the time he spend in the Communications
Office(cryptographic room) or in Radio II where
the transmitters were located. He taught classes on
troubleshooting and emergency repairs for the Radio
Supervision of Radio
Central was directly under a Chief
aboard USS Kitkun Bay, he participated in several major
invasions, and the famous battle at Leyte
Gulf in October, 1944. Enroute to the
invasion at Manila in January 1945, the
ship took a kamikaze hit and Norm helped destroy the
cryptographic equipment before abandoning ship because it was
not believed that the ship would stay afloat. The salvage party
managed to save the ship and he reboarded the ship with the
rest of the crew the next day.
Norm remained in the Naval Reserve until 1955. His post-war
employment was with the Burroughs Corporation and with Ford
Motor Co. He also
ran a clock repair business.
I met Norm
through chance via the Internet, and kept correspondence with
him for a couple of years. His intelligence,
which was sharp as a young man’s, his technical interests in
radios and clocks, and his personality, reminded me of my
grandfather, which made him A number 1 in my book.
Dalling passed away in 2005.