He recently retired from a 48-year career as a crusading prosecutor, first as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and later as District Attorney for Manhattan. As with so many successful men and women in the United States, Robert M. Morgenthau's career had its roots in his military service, which began in the Navy's V-7 program. Here's his story.
I can still remember exactly when I decided to join the Navy. It was June 1940, and I was driving on the West Side Highway in New York City, listening to the radio, when the newscast reported that the Navy had begun a new V-7 officers' training program opened to students with three years of college. College students who hadn't graduated yet could now earn commissions in the Naval Reserve.
That sounded like just the ticket. I wanted to become a reserve officer so I'd be ready for the war. I'd tried both the U.S. Army and the Canadian Army, but neither would take me until I completed college. And the recruiting office for the new V-7 program was at the 135th Street pier-only two exits away. I got off the highway and signed up.