by Elmer S.
I was born on October 14, 1921. I was employed at the Glenn L. Martin Company on August 23, 1940, as a riveter and assembler. Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. In June 1942, I tried to join the Navy. I was rejected because I was colorblind.
I continued to work at Martin until my deferment expired in 1944. I was called to my Draft Board. My first test was x-ray and the last test was the colorblind test. I wanted to go into the service and I was the fourth man in line designated for the Navy. I was far enough back that I could memorize the colorblind cards on the table from the other men. I passed. I was directed to the bleacher with the other approximately 25 men. We were told to bring a toothbrush, towel and a couple dollars. To my dismay, I was called from the bleacher by a Navy doctor who told me I was rejected due to a spot on my lung. I was very disappointed, especially when I was classified 4F.
I worked at Martin until 1960 when I was laid off. I then went to Boeing to build helicopters for three years. I was called back to Martin to work on the RC-135 fuel cell replacement. In January 1982, I retired from Martin Marietta at age 62. I have enjoyed my retirement.
At age 70, I had a hernia and was scheduled to enter the hospital. I was to have a physical exam prior to the surgery. I told the doctor the only problem I had was a spot on my lung. To my surprise, the X-ray of my lungs was clear. There was no spot. Did he get my X-ray mixed up with others? Then, at age 79, I fell on the ice and thought I had broken my ribs. I checked in at Franklin Square Hospital for X-rays. The doctor in emergency said "no broken ribs." I asked her if she saw a spot on my lung. She said she would check the X-ray again. She returned and said there was no spot on my lung. I began to think, "Where was the spot on my lung. Had it cleared up?"
For 37 years, I lived with the thought of having TB, thinking I would not be living a long life. After having thought about my problem, I am convinced the spot on my lung was Zinc Chromate paint that I had breathed while working in the aircraft with the spray painters. Zinc is a metal, and chrome is a metal. I am a healthy person who still enjoys hunting, fishing, boating and horseback riding. This is my true story.