I am Rob Flory,
the creator of this site. I have been an
operator since 1976, and I work at Howell Living
History Farm where my colleagues and I show circa
1900 farming to school groups and other
visitors. Not only do we demonstrate, but we
get our visitors involved in hands-on activities.
When the USS New Jersey arrived in Camden to become
a museum, I began to think about how to apply the
living history concept to Navy
The living history concept to me means trying to
learn about the past by reliving it. For me,
the idea of exploring the life of
"everyman" is more interesting than
focusing on a particular famous individual.
The process of doing this involves exploring the
mindset(s) of the individual(s), studying and
recreating the environment(spaces and equipment)
they lived in, and the methods they used.
I started out by asking myself, "What if I
was graduating from high school in
1942?". Since I was a ham for 4 years
before I graduated from high school, I can picture
myself wanting to be a radioman, naively thinking,
"I should enlist in the Navy. They
have the best equipment, I can go into combat behind
a foot of steel and I hear they have the best
food." I might be in for a surprise when
I found myself on a tin can where in addition to my radio
watch, I might be expected to be out on deck manning
an AA battery, or assigned to drag a TBX ashore as
part of a beach battalion.
My collection started with some of the
equipment used aboard WWII Navy
Ships: RBB and RBC receivers. Using them
in my regular amateur radio
activities has given me an intimate familiarity with
their operation. I have begun the process of
learning how to type on a manual typewriter, which
has involved undoing 25 years of bad habits on
computer and electric typewriting. Since every
Radioman is first a sailor, I have been studying
books like The Bluejackets Manual.
Come along with me on my study of World
Radiomen, the equipment they used, and their service
to our country.