How it was at Farragut

Veterans return for naval training station reunion

Print Article

Doug Coleman, a veteran from Kansas, participates with waving the flag.

FARRAGUT STATE PARK - For the first time in 69 years, Ted Noddin on Saturday returned to the site of the Farragut Naval Training Station.

But the veteran remembers it well.

North Idaho winters will do that to folks.

"It was cold," the Coos Bay, Ore., man said bluntly. "The snow was clear up to my butt."

Noddin was among about 50 veterans who attended Saturday's reunion at Farragut State Park for those who completed the training program from 1942 to 1946. It was where "fighting blue jackets" were made in preparation for World War II.

Noddin was 17 years old when he went to boot camp in 1943. He called his return to Farragut "very interesting."

"The last time I was here it was bare - just buildings and no trees," Noddin said.

Gone are the buildings, the barracks, mess hall and hospital. Back in the day, there were 43,000 inhabitants, making it the largest urban area in Idaho.

But at Farragut State Park Memorial Plaza, near the Museum at the Brig, there were lifetimes of memories recalled.

Noddin, now 86, said he remembers the different training activities, including swimming, rifle practice and shoveling coal out of railcars.

"We also rowed boats on Pend Oreille in the middle of winter," he said with a smile.

Noddin said there were thousands of trainees on the "grinders" (marching grounds) at a time.

Veteran Duane Kock (pronounced Cook) of Sandpoint admits he was a bit scared of what would happen when he went to boot camp in 1944.

"I kept my nose clean," he said. "I didn't even know there was a brig until I came for the reunion."

Kock said he did get into trouble once, but it was due to a fellow trainee wiping his shoes on Kock's towel.

Kock said the overall training station experience made him grow up in a hurry.

Kock, who has been coming to the reunion since 2000, said fewer veterans are around each year to attend the gathering. But he's thankful that it's still held.

"This makes me feel proud and have a love for our country," he said. "It's great that they have this."

Veteran Doug Coleman, from Kansas, has made it to the reunion every year except one since 1987.

"It brings back a lot of old memories," he said. "I remember marching to the bay for training and the spray was coming off the lake because it was so cold."

Randall Butt, Farragut State Park's manager, said he learned early on that Farragut veterans want to have the reunion continue as long as possible. It has been held for nearly 30 years.

"We take it seriously because they want their story to continue to be told," Butt said.

About 25,000 people visit the station's museum at the park each year. Butt said the park hopes to add at least one new feature to the grounds each year so the veterans and visitors can be proud.

"You folks are the history," Dennis Woolford, a park ranger, told the veterans. "You are the folks who forged the grounds for us to be here today."

Veteran Robert Allender rings a ship bell before singing the Navy hymn on Saturday during the reunion for the Farragut Naval Training Station veterans.

 

Maxine Kock (promounced Cook), right, and her husband Duane, of Sandpoint, listen to speakers during the Saturday's reunion at Farragut State Park.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Whittle urges Idaho GOP to join ‘Revolution X’

July 22, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — It was a great midday break. Part entertainment and part call to push Idaho on an uber-conservative course, nationally known speaker Bill Whittle reached the dais at a perfect tim...

Comments

Read More

Three for GOP

July 22, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — The top three candidates for Idaho’s open governor seat in next year’s election came racing out of the blocks Friday night. Well, let’s say they were trotting. U.S. Rep. Raul Labrad...

Comments

Read More

Have engine, will train

July 22, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press It’s a fire engine to most people. It’s red, long, with sirens and lights — all the bells and whistles. To Bill Deruyter, it is an apparatus, and that’s what his students at the North Idaho Colleg...

Comments

Read More

A true karate kid

July 22, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press He's a black belt in defense karate, a brown belt in competition karate and he's on his way to competing in the West Coast Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games. Did we mention he's only 10? ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X