In World War II, more than two thousand citizens wanted a piece of the overseas action during the war, so they attended classes on nearby Gallops Island in Boston Harbor. The United States Maritime Service Radio Training Station graduated as many as fifty volunteer civilians per week. An excerpt from an enthusiastic article about the station from 1944 sums it up best:
“Seven miles from shore, Gallops breathes informality but it is not long before one recognizes the effortless, yet unmistakable, poise of quiet efficiency underneath its peaceful exterior. It is an efficiency that has transformed 2,830 men from all walks of life into expertly-trained Merchant Marine radio operators…”
It seems anyone could join and in a short time be ready to join the war effort - in only twenty weeks! The article explains the key to success:
“…the finely balanced training period…makes easy the transition from dryland sailor to sea-going man. A Gallups Island man makes this adjustment quickly. He possesses ‘savvy.’”
Graduates used their skills on board merchant ships, listening for warnings and communicating distress signals when their vessels were attacked. The island doesn’t allow public access anymore, so the memorial is located here for visitors to pay their respects to the citizens who died while performing their wartime duties.
Know Before You Go
The memorial is directly outside the entrance to the children's playground, adjacent to the skating rink.