DK2 Henry Jerry Schafer was born Jan. 28, 1932 to Henry and Lea Schafer of Lesterville.
He enlisted in the Navy on May 21, 1951 in Yankton and was sworn in at Sioux Falls. Right after that ceremony Jerry left for San Diego, CA. His training was at the San Diego Naval Station for nine weeks. After a two week leave he went back to San Diego and attended a Disbursing school.
Jerry went on board the USS Suisun, a sea plane tender, Sept. 14, 1951. He stayed aboard that ship until he was discharged May 13, 1955.
His job as a disbursing clerk was to take care of pay records and allotments, anything to do with the financial need of the sailors.
The four tours he took across the ocean took him to Hawaii eight times. During this time some of the ports the Suisun docked in were Youkuska, Japan, Yokohama, Tokyo, Sasebo, Korea, Philippines, and Okinawa, Japan.
There were three tours to Hong Kong, Formosa, Formosa Straits, and Iwa Kuni. Two of those tours were good will tours. At these different ports they had exercises and maneuvers with the local navy.
As most of us know Liberty was a valued time for all service people. While in Formosa, Jerry and about a dozen other shipmates were on liberty. Before their liberty was up the ship received information that there was trouble in Indo China and that it had to leave immediately to help. Of course they were left behind and had to report to a different ship. About three or four days later the USS Suisun returned and picked up the sailors.
They also did activities when in the states, such as going to Seattle, WA to the Seattle Sea Fair and went through the locks.
Being away from home and on the sea so much were the hardest parts of being in the service. While aboard ship they spent their down time either watching old movies or writing letters to the folks at home.
One of his best buddies, Merle Isaackson, from Burbank, was on the same ship for two years with Jerry.