Pearl Harbor 75th and Happy Birthday Sterling R Cale SGM

 

It is not very often you meet a 3 war veteran let alone a Pearl Harbor survivor but that’s what the kids got to do yesterday as we toured Pearl Harbor. sterling-calesterling-cale-2

Usually vets who wear their service at older ages tend to be chatty and affable. There’s all types of vets and I’m grateful for all of them but it’s nice for kids to be able to approach the chatty type. We started our vacation driving over Donner Pass to SF and had dinner at Max’s in Auburn, CA where we met a 101 yr old WW2 vet who shook our kids’ hands and received a hearty thank you from us all. 

Sterling was born 11/29/1921 and spent his 95th where he was 75 years ago on a gruesome burial detail. He was a pharmacists mate who spent WW2 with the Marines at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Saipan. He was with the Army in Korea and had various assignments during the Vietnam war.

He asked what I did and where I lived which transitioned in to the old west of the 30’s. In his teens he broke mustangs in Wyoming and had a gray one which would only be ridden bareback. During the 50’s he was in Laos and was friends with a Dr Tom Dooley who apparently was a famous anti-communist person who devoted much of his time to stamping out disease in south east Asia. Sterling talked about Dr Dooley riddled with cancer and in too much pain to sit yet still figuring out ways to help kids. I think the man was an inspiration to Sterling. Sterling helped open up the pharmacy at Tripler Army Hospital here in Oahu many decades ago. Not every soldier has to charge a machine gun to contribute, some need to be competent and conscientious about mundane items like drug dosages and med allergies.

oil

The USS Arizona still leaks a few quarts of oil each day that sometimes flow right on to the USS Missouri, an odd alpha and omega of battleships intertwined here and this wasn’t lost on the boy as he stood on the Japanese surrender spot later on. 23 pairs of brothers perished on the Arizona and one father/son team, Thomas and William Free.

free

Quite by accident I was here for the 50th anniversary and somehow I ought to be here for the 100th should I be alive.

After the tour we saw 3 survivors giving a speech and had the pleasure of meeting them. I have a tremendous love for old vets of all flavors but my heart swelled as my kids shook these soldiers’ hands and said ,”God Bless you”.

ph-75

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  1. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Doc, I have not been to Oahu for a few decades, we usually go to the Big Island. I last remember seeing the Arizona with a large contingent of Japanese tourists who were having a grand old time. Not overtly disrespectful, but a contrast to the sober looks of the Americans. I need to go back and see the work of the brave and smart soul who decided to park the Missouri in eyesight of the Arizona. I expect the scene evokes a different mood.

    I had stood on the deck of the Missouri when it was in Bremerton. A magnificent ship in almost every dimension. My dad’s destroyer sailed alongside her in 1945.

    The vets you met are special folks indeed. A privilege to be in their presence.

    • #1
  2. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Those are the type of men who made America great, and will make her great again.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Thanks, Doc.

    • #3
  4. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Wow.  What an honor to be in their midst.  I always choke up when I thank heroes like these for their service.  We owe so much.

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    DocJay: Quite by accident I was here for the 50th anniversary …

    Yeah, sure. Absentmindedness.

     

    • #5
  6. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    TKC1101:Doc, I have not been to Oahu for a few decades, we usually go to the Big Island. I last remember seeing the Arizona with a large contingent of Japanese tourists who were having a grand old time. Not overtly disrespectful, but a contrast to the sober looks of the Americans. I need to go back and see the work of the brave and smart soul who decided to park the Missouri in eyesight of the Arizona. I expect the scene evokes a different mood.

    I had stood on the deck of the Missouri when it was in Bremerton. A magnificent ship in almost every dimension. My dad’s destroyer sailed alongside her in 1945.

    The vets you met are special folks indeed. A privilege to be in their presence.

    I was there in ’05 and the attitude was overtly disrespectful.

    Great to hear from you @docjay – thanks for sharing your day with us.

    • #6
  7. John Park Member
    John Park
    @jpark

    Thank you, Doc! In DC, they commemorate the victory at Midway each year. One year when I was working there, going into work on the Metro, all the Navy guys were in their whites. That was unusual, so I asked and learned. It’s at the Navy Memorial for those in that town blessed with northern charm and southern efficiency.

    • #7
  8. nandapanjandrum Member
    nandapanjandrum
    @

    Howdy, thanks and RAH!, Doc…Hugs and Hang Loose to all!

    • #8
  9. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    Amazing career. Thanks.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    John Park: that town blessed with northern charm and southern efficiency.

    I had never heard it put quite that way, but yes it is. The worst invention in the history of the US government was the air conditioner, which made that swampland inhabitable all year long.

    • #10
  11. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Annefy:

    TKC1101:Doc, I have not been to Oahu for a few decades, we usually go to the Big Island. I last remember seeing the Arizona with a large contingent of Japanese tourists who were having a grand old time. Not overtly disrespectful, but a contrast to the sober looks of the Americans. I need to go back and see the work of the brave and smart soul who decided to park the Missouri in eyesight of the Arizona. I expect the scene evokes a different mood.

    I had stood on the deck of the Missouri when it was in Bremerton. A magnificent ship in almost every dimension. My dad’s destroyer sailed alongside her in 1945.

    The vets you met are special folks indeed. A privilege to be in their presence.

    I was there in ’05 and the attitude was overtly disrespectful.

    Great to hear from you @docjay – thanks for sharing your day with us.

    Tourists tend to act stupidly but I have seen that too during prior visits.  The Japanese were not present two days ago so someone must send out a memo.

    • #11
  12. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    uss-mo-kiss

     

    I found this random woman at the USS Missouri.  Lucky me.

    uss-mo-guns

    16 inch guns that can fire 23 miles.

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    DocJay: I found this random woman at the USS Missouri. Lucky me.

    I hope that just happens to be your random wife and that your kids were saying, “Eeeewww!” as you did that.

    • #13
  14. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    I love your photos. What an honor to meet a Pearl Harbor survivor. Very pretty “random” wife/woman.

    • #14
  15. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    DocJay: I found this random woman at the USS Missouri. Lucky me.

    Those shoes need some shine, sailor.  Very good photo, it made me smile on a rainy morning.

    • #15
  16. John Park Member
    John Park
    @jpark

    @arahant

    That line comes from President Kennedy.

    • #16
  17. Trumpus Maximus Meridius Decimus Abacus Inactive
    Trumpus Maximus Meridius Decimus Abacus
    @Pseudodionysius

    Salve.

    • #17
  18. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    John Park:Thank you, Doc! In DC, they commemorate the victory at Midway each year. One year when I was working there, going into work on the Metro, all the Navy guys were in their whites. That was unusual, so I asked and learned. It’s at the Navy Memorial for those in that town blessed with northern charm and southern efficiency.

    I spoke at the Navy Memorial in 2010 (naturally my subject was GPS). It has a wonderful auditorium which I fear is underutilized.

    • #18
  19. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    75 years ago my great-grandfather was a cook on the Phoenix. He was standing on the deck thinking about what he was going to do with his day when the Japanese, as he told my dad, decided what he would be doing for the next 3 1/2 years. His daughter, my grandmother, was eleven, and they didn’t hear from him for a few days.

    I looked up the Phoenix a while back and saw that it was near Papua/New Guinea later in the war. Not sure if he was on it at that point but probably so. I do have a couple of copies of logs that show which ships he was on at certain points.

    William Alexander Vance (1898-1974).

    • #19
  20. Paula Lynn Johnson Inactive
    Paula Lynn Johnson
    @PaulaLynnJohnson

    Very nice post. My family moved to Auburn in 1972 from LA — quite the culture shock. But that’s where I grew up and the parents are still there.  Now there’s 4 Starbucks and a wine bar . . . fancy!

    Why didn’t you stop at Ikeda’s? :)

    • #20
  21. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Doc,

    What a fabulous vacation trip. Your family must be loving it.

    Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #21
  22. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Paula Lynn Johnson:Very nice post. My family moved to Auburn in 1972 from LA — quite the culture shock. But that’s where I grew up and the parents are still there. Now there’s 4 Starbucks and a wine bar . . . fancy!

    Why didn’t you stop at Ikeda’s? ?

    mmmm  pies.

    • #22
  23. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    Thanks Doc!

     

    And great shot off the bow.

    • #23
  24. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    dscf3017

    For something of a view of what the Arizona was like, you can still visit the Texas – these are her 14″ rifles.  She a few years old than Arizona was, but similar in some respects.

    • #24
  25. nandapanjandrum Member
    nandapanjandrum
    @

    Went to Oahu w/Mom P. for 1o days in ’95, for a niece’s Baptism.  Stayed on base w/my sis and her Navy then-husband. Missed visiting the Memorial; no tickets available.  Brother-in-law drove nearby to give us a view of the site.  Moving and solemnly beautiful.  Thanks again, Doc!

    • #25
  26. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Good to see you around here again, Doc.  Beautiful post.  More words when brain works.

    • #26
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