Life on the ship didn’t suit John. He skipped his duty assignment one day, and as punishment, the Navy docked him nearly a month’s pay and placed him in the brig ( jail). He skipped duty a second time, landing himself in trouble again, but he absconded when the ship docked in Boston. That let him avoid punishment, but it resulted in the first time he had a bounty placed on his head. The U.S. Navy offered $50 for his capture. The military put little effort into finding him, though, and after a few months, the Navy simply issued him a dishonorable discharge. Dillinger returned to Mooresville, where he romanced Beryl Ethel Hovius. The two dated briefly before John proposed marriage. The pair married in 1924 after Beryl turned 16. They lived with his parents briefly. Neither could find work, and John got caught stealing chickens. His father smoothed things over with the farmer from whom Dillinger’s time in the Navy did not suit him. Failing to arrive at work one day, he was placed in the brig (jail) and was denied a month’s pay.


John Dillinger

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