By Kayla Carter
Born in Kirby, W.Va., on June 23, 1919, Poland’s biggest life mission was joining the Navy at the brink of World War II.
“As soon as Pearl Harbor happened in 1941 he joined right up that December,” said Poland’s daughter, Sandy Barker.
Barker said his service lasted through the war.
“My father was working in Washington, D.C.,” Barker said. “He had a number of jobs there. He had gone there to seek his fortune from West Virginia.”
Barker said the Navy had three training centers at the beginning of the war and her father was sent to the Great Lakes Boot Camp.
“Because they were so poor during the Depression, he had one pair of pants and one suit jacket,” Barker said. “I remember him saying that the door was so far off the ground that wind would come in. They had hammocks, and these men were not issued uniforms because the war had just started and they didn’t have uniforms yet.”
The Navy did issue Poland a green wool blanket of which Barker has fond memories. “I remember that blanket because he used it most of his life,” Barker said.
In the Navy, Poland served as a carpenter’s mate third class.
Barker said Bryan Poland, her grandfather, was the reason Poland was such a highly skilled carpenter.
“Dad learned carpentry from him,” Barker said. “My favorite thing to do was to build stuff with my dad.”