My daughter recently blogged about Memorial Day and was discussing what the day meant to my Grand son.
It is always endearing to hear thoughts from your children of their impression of their Grand father.
My father was my hero.
From a young age I remember the respect that was shown to him as an officer in the Navy. How the enlisted men at the base gate would strike into attention and salute as we pulled up.
As a young man, my father was intrigued in sailing upon water. This he said was the reason for enlisting.
After Basic Training he was sent to Hawaii to Pearl Harbor. Yes he was there that fateful Sunday morning watching the Japanese dropping bombs on the fleet from under a crane where he ducked for protection.
Shortly afterward he was assigned to the USS Grenadier a submarine.
While on patrol April 21st,1943,patrolling along the Malay and Thai coasts, the Grenadier spotted and was spotted by a Japanese plane.
The sub crashed dived to 120-130feet.
Thinking that they were safe from any attack,bombs rocketed the sub and heeled her over 15 to 20 degrees. Power and lights failed completely and the fatally wounded ship settled to the bottom at 267 feet. A fierce fire blazed in the maneuvering room.
After 13 hours of sweating it out on the bottom, the Grenadier managed to surface after dark to clear the boat of smoke and inspect damage.
At dawn April 22 the crew abandoned ship after destroying confidential materials.Under battle and air attack, the skipper scuttled the ship,reluctantly opening all vents, watching her sink to her final resting place.A Japanese Merchant ship picked up 8 officers and 68 enlisted men and took them to Penang, Malay States ,where they were questioned,beaten and starved before being sent to other prison of war camps.
My father ended up in Ofuna Prison camp in Japan and was a prisoner of war for two years.
All but four crew survived their two years in Japanese hands.
Upon return to the United States my father married my mother and made the Navy his career.
Throughout the years we moved around the United States and my father rose in the ranks to become skipper of several ASR, (Auxillary Submarine Rescue) Submaine Rescue Vessels. His last tour being in San Diego as the Commander of Submarine Support Facilities on Point Loma.
What a huge achievement for a young dreamer, who lived in Oklahoma, wanting to "get in a boat and float on the lake".
In discussing Memorial Day with my grand son, my daughter looked up my father's name and found information on his capture . There was also a remark written by one of my dad's shipmates later in his career. This brought pride and remembrance of how great a man my dad was, as written by a friend and co-worker.
He was awarded a Purple Heart.
He was most handsome when dressed in his dress white uniform with his ribbons and medals.
I always feel proud of our military and have patriotism for my country because of these wonderful men and women who protect and defend us.
Thanks dad, you truly are My Hero!