“Yes, and that made up the majority of the young men who came to our camp,” Nott told me. But when they came to the Navy, they found the job market not nearly so open. The Navy, along with the Army, was struggling to find replacements for men who had been drafted or were in the pipeline. The Naval Reserve had to fill in for draftees in the field from August 1 through October 31. The Army had to pick its troops based on the demand in November, and had to recruit at least three times more men than usual. “Everybody who got into the Army during that time did not even make it to the end of the training process,” Nott told me. “Everybody was told, ‘You won’t get into the Navy.’ The problem was that there were not as many men available. So there were a lot of vacancies.” The men who got into the Navy had fewer opportunities for promotion. In a survey of the Navy and the Army in the early years, an Army colonel wrote, “In the Army there are over 3,000 positions which had not been filled since December 30, 1941, and 1,700 which had not been filled before that date.” In a survey of the Army between 1943 and 1944, the highest-qualified recruit was the second-highest-qualified member of his unit. A soldier who had served in the Pacific for four years and been promoted to captain had a higher probability of promotion to captain than the second-highest-qualified enlisted man who had done the same.
From the start, the Navy was trying to close the ranks. As part of these efforts, the Navy enlisted young men from all over the country. The Navy had an official record, which included both service records and academic records, that showed why men were called up, regardless of their occupation. To recruit the best personnel, though, the Navy relied heavily on the Army. In the early years, the Army had not been as much a recruiting force as the Navy. In 1917, the Army had 613,000 active duty draft records, while the Navy’s draft records were only 3,000. In the summer of 1920, the Navy drew heavily from the Army; 3.72 percent of its enlisted men were drafted, more than any other branch of the military. By 1931, when the Army’s draft was lifted permanently, the number of enlisted service records in the Navy was 12 times greater than in the Army. In 1932, as the number of service records increased from the Army
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