The US Navy’s 1951 recruiting comic book, Dick Wingate of the United States Navy, opens with a young sailor participating in a secret military test aboard the U.S.S. Merrick somewhere in the Pacific.[^] Dick reflects on his current position, working on top secret Navy weapons, and traces the steps from playing football at Centerville High to this “mighty important” mission.[^] The story then goes back to the final football game of Dick’s senior year of high school. Dick and a friend are discussing their futures in the locker room. Dick cannot afford to attend college, but is interested in a career in, ”…flying, electronics, radar – all this new stuff…”[^] Throughout the opening pages, Dick illustrates that he desires a fulfilling career in new technology, and the financial security that comes with it. Although the comic goes on to show the adventure and intrigue one could possibly experience in the Navy, it first establishes Dick as emerging as a financially secure Big Wheel through his time in the Navy.
The opening portion of the story illustrates that the Navy is an excellent place for a young man to establish himself as a Big Wheel in the workplace. It provided a good job one could be proud of, as well as longterm security. When Dick’s friend Joe suggests that the only jobs in the Navy were scrubbing decks, Dick rebuffed him, adding that there are lots of specialist positions where men can learn technical skills.[^] Dick also speaks to the longterm benefits and financial security a career in the Navy can provide, informing Joe that he could retire at thirty-eight and receive half of his base pay, and then get a job afterwards.[^] Dick tells his father that training and working in the Navy would be a “swell break” for him to attain the advanced career he was hoping for.[^] Although Dick mentions the sense of fulfillment in contributing to the national defense of the nation, his focus throughout the opening is the skills training and financial security that comes from service.[^] The story then moves forward to his Navy training, the beginning of the process toward, ”…Dick’s goal of an interesting, well-paid career…” and the adventure and intrigue he encounters while enlisted.[^] The final page of the publication returns stress the financial security that comes from service in the Navy. The page features the headline, “The Navy offers you a career–plus security!” followed by a pay chart showing different personnel rankings and the base pay for each given years of service.[^]