Alex Haley, best known as the author of Roots, enlisted in the US Coast Guard in 1939 as a Mess Attendant Third Class (the only ratings in the Navy and Coast Guard open to minorities at that time). When US entered the war in December 1941 he was serving on the cutter Pamlico which sailed the waters of coastal North Carolina. In May 1943 he was transferred to the cargo vessel USS Murzim and saw service in the Pacific; Haley began writing about combat conditions on board, which were published in the US. Towards the end of the war, he was assigned to edit an official Coast Guard periodical. He eventually became the editor of the Coast Guard publication ‘Helmsman‘ in New York City, advancing to the rank of Chief Petty Officer before his retirement from the Coast Guard in 1959.