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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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April 27, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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April 27, 2012
 

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Perkins From page 1 schoolhouse where each row of desks designated a different class level and then in the afternoon, sneaking up behind logging trucks plodding along in "granny" gear and jumping on the back to catch a ride up the hill towards home. Soon after the Pearl Harbor attack, Jim was re-assigned to the Naval base in San Diego. It was then that Cap convinced his mother for them to travel out west by bus to pay a visit. Cap, (whose real name begins with a "W" but remains a mystery to anyone other than probably the IRS) is a nickname he picked up years ago and is short for Captain. Somehow the name stuck, and Cap has gone by it for decades and can see no reason to change things now. When Cap turned 16 years of age, he enlisted in the Navy. Yes, he was underage, but his stature allowed him to con- vince naval recruiters that he was a few years older and within months he found himself aboard the decks of a Navy sub chaser steaming for the South Pacific. Many of Cap's wartime experi- ences he understandably chooses not to speak about, however some others he is willing to share. As Navy officers evaluated the men in their charge they began as= signing them duties in which their individual skill sets would be use- ful. Mechanics, cooks, navigation- al experts and so on were all sent to the appropriate Navy job pool. Cap's skill, as it turned out, Was that he excelled at swimming and was placed into a "Strong Swim- mer" unit. The Strong Swimmers-would be tasked with anything done in the water. In Cap's case, one of the Im- mediate tasks was to begin dyna- miting coral limestone to quarry it to build up additional length of aircraft runways on small coral Is- lands so that larger B-17 bombers could land there as a waypoint be- tween North America and Japan. Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus or scuba was virtually brand new, not in theory, but in practicality with Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan hav- ing just created the first reliable Aqua-Lung units for market in 1942. The Strong Swimmer units hadn't yet been issued any open circuit Cousteau-Gagnan scuba systems and were reliant on shal- low water Desco .closed circuit re- breather scuba systems instead. They began using the proven shallow water technology for a vast array of underwater exploits, no longer restricted by heavy hel- mets and lengths of surface sup- plied airlines known as umbilicals. The freedom of scuba provided the "[HE WRITE STUFF" Are you a writer, or would like to be one for the Catalina Islander. The paper is seeking to expand its editorial horizons, New reporters and guest columnists are welcome. For more information, contact the editor at ed@cinews.us, right tool at the right time for the Strong Swimmers, which quickly became knoWn as the Navy's Un- derwater Demolitions Teams, and later in history that unit was trans- " formed into the Navy Sea/Teams program. This is how Cap Perkins began his career and life as a scuba div- ing pioneer. Through his training and ex- perience gained working in the Strong Swimmer unit, Cap be- came not just cqmfortable in the water, he became a seasoned ex- pert in it. Cap's years of service honed his waterman talents through war- time experience, and naturally his proficiency in it grew. As was the case for alldivers of that era, there was no such thing as dive certification courses then so they simply went out and did it. In fact, to this day, Cap has never been issued any type of certifica- tion for diving, yet he personally logged thousands of hours under- water and trained hundreds of : yacht "Valiant" divers while in the Navy Strong Swimmer teams. So at 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 15, 1945 when Cap heard the news over the radio on board a Navy PYC craft that Japan had surrendered to the United States, for him and the rest of our nation the war was over and Cap found himself in a peacetime environment preparing to write the next chapter of his life story. Cap returned to Southern Califor- nia at age 19 and began looking for a future. What took place next is the stuff of legend. See part 2 of Cap Perkins. story next week. We've partnered with HealthStream, a national organization with an excellent reputation for collecting information about patient experiences. They may be contacting you via telephone about your experience at Catalina Island Medical Center. The survey will take about 10 minutes. Your answers are confidential. The survey can be conducted in English or Spanish. Your privacy will be completely respected. The person who calls is not a medical professional and caller ID will identify the call as Healthstream Research. If you have any questions about the survey, please call (310) 510-0700. atahna. Island Medical Center (31o) 51o-o7oo loo Falls Canyon Road PO Box 1563, Avalon 90704 www.CIMedicalCenter.org Catalina-00.,"00--00 Island Medical Center .... : ' ' Nos hemos asociado con HealthStream, una organizaci6n nacional con una excelente reputaci6n para la recopilaci6n de informaci6n sobre las experiencias de 4os pacientes. Es posible que ellos se pongan en contacto con usted por telfono para preguntarle acerca de su experiencia en el Centro de Salud de la Isla de Catalina. La Encuesta se Ilevar unos diez minutos. Sus respuestas son confidenciales La encuesta podria Ilevarse a cabo en Ingles o Espafiol. Su privacidad serfi completamente respetada. La person a qu e I!amano es un profesional de la salud y el identificador de Ilamadas los identificaran como HealthStream Research Si tiene cualquier pregunta Sobre la encuesta, por favor Ilame al (310) 510-0700. r (310) 510:07 0 lOO Falls Canyon Road PO Box 1563, AValon 907o4: Ww/'.CfM&dicalCenter.org THE CATAUNA ISLANDER Friday, April 27, 2012 i 9