While Marcella and Jerry were making arrangements to make a move to San Francisco, Vernon, was having a difficult time staying grounded.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor and ensuing weeks and months of Marshall Law, took its toll.
One night while out on the town near Waikiki Beach with his shipmates, Vernon got smashed. He and his buddies were already up tight from too much fighting, collateral damage, and stressful patrols around the islands.
Vernon was loud and boisterous. He was tall 6’3″ with long arms and huge hands. He was mean and scary. No one dare fuck with Bos’n Sparks. He was known for beating the holy shit out of people who pissed him off. Think of “Popeye the Sailor Man.”
There were a few other rowdy sailors and marines in the club drinking and raising hell. It really looked and smelled like a fight would be inevitable before midnight. All lived with a midnight curfew during the war. Liberty was no more than 12 hours at a time, not everyday either.
About the time Vernon was tuned up for a fight, a marine he didn’t like came behind him with a sucker punch to the side of his head. Vernon fell off the bar stool to the floor. He was pissed off!
Vernon was so angry and drunk that everybody started clearing out while ‘boogy woogy’ tunes played loud.
Vernon got up yelling and chasing the marine antagonist asshole out the door.
A huge fight ensued between the two meanest warriors from the US Pacific Fleet.
It was an ugly fight outside on the street next to the old Wang Poo Club in Honolulu, not far from Ft DeRussy.
The fighting warriors beat the holy shit out of each for at least 5 minutes before the Marine MPs arrived at the scene.
Both men were arrested and taken to the brig. They were also AWOL because the midnight hour curfew was missed by at least 10 hours.
You are probably worried like me that Vernon would be in so much trouble that he might be confined to the brig and unable to go home.
This would be the final nail in the coffin for Vernon, he thought with hands shaking and severe anxiety.
But this was a time for kindness and empathy for the US Navy. Many marines and sailors as well as the locals were deeply traumatized.
Following is a quote from Vernon’s Naval record from that time. It was a God’s send…
“Section Base, Bishop Point, Harbor Patrol, 14th Naval District, Pearl Harbor, Oahu AWOL from 2000, 2 July 1942 to 0600, 3 July 1942, 10 hours. Tried on July 6, 1942 and confined for a period of twenty (20) days and $20/month loss of pay for a period of four (4) months per Deck Court-Martial.
On April 2, 1942, he was appointed BM1st class. On September 30, 1942, JAG remitted entirely that part of the sentence involving confinement because he “PARTICIPATED IN THE BATTLE OF PEARL HARBOR ON DECEMBER 7, 1941.”
In the meantime, Marcella and Jerry packed up and caught a train from Long Beach to San Francisco.
The new family home would be 501 Scott St., San Francisco, Ca