In the still-early days of the National Park Service right after World War II, those aspiring to have a “Permanent/Non-Seasonal” position within the NPS had to be creative because there was no way to directly apply for employment opportunities back then.
My father, Doug Hubbard, had always been smitten by the allure of the national parks and the mission of the NPS to be stewards. He worked his summers away from school at California Berkley as a seasonal ranger at Yosemite National Park and then at Sequoia, where he met my mother. But that is for another time.
With the outbreak of war, Dad entered the Navy as an ensign on a Destroyer Escort. Those familiar with the ships in service with the United States Navy back then realize that the Navy Destroyer was small.
It was SO small that it was commonly referred to as a “Tin Can.” The job of this Tin Can was to form the perimeter picket-line around the larger more important ships of the fleet. In addition to slowing down any incoming enemy aircraft with anti-aircraft fire, the Tin Can’s job was to position itself between any submarines or aircraft that might launch torpedoes. Similar to the Secret Service, they were to take the bullet or torpedo in this case.
You can IMAGINE with this in mind, how expendable the small Destroyer Escort and her crew were!
Now there is a reason for all of this Navy history, bear with me. The point is that there was certainly no certainty that Dad was going to survive this duty, but he had a strategy nonetheless.
His thinking was that if he returned from the Pacific in one piece, he would be in a good position to be accepted to a Federal Government post. From here it was his dream, with perseverance and luck, to eventually transfer internally to the National Park Service.
Well as it turned out, he did survive the War, he was accepted for Federal Service by the Border Patrol, and did transfer later into his dream career with the National Park Service. He is probably most recognized today for the job he did during his almost 15 years in Yosemite National Park.
He was very proud of his time with the NPS, and as he got older it seems that I heard him tell this story more and more frequently. But I didn’t mind…I was proud too!
About the Author: Dave Hubbard was born in Yosemite National Park where he lived with his family for 13 years. He later worked summers as a seasonal employee for the National Park Service while earning his degree in Recreation and Parks from Texas A&M University. During the summer of 1975 he was instrumental in launching the Living History Program at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida. In commemoration of the country’s Bi-Centennial, he portrayed a British “Private of the 60th Regiment of Foot”. Dave now lives in Oregon where he continues to pursue his interests in writing and photography, and is building a Yosemite-themed website at www.undiscovered-yosemite.com.