Escort Carrier Sailors and Airmen Association
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This is a picture of my dad (far left). I don’t know any of the other people in the photo but I would guess they might be other crew members of the Ommaney Bay. My dad’s name is Adolph Ruther but everyone called him Dutch. He passed away in 1985. Kathleen Ruther Haehl
Homer Roos - Joined the Navy in 1941 at the age of 17. On December 7, 1941, he was in radio school at San Diego. Two days later, he was taken to the edge of North Island and assigned a foxhole complete with a 50 caliber machine gun. His orders were, “If you see anything move on the beach, point the gun in that direction and pull the trigger.”
Battle of Leyte Gulf – “My station that day was in the communications office. I was on the ship-to-ship circuit and it was my job to record every transmission. Stan Sumara came into the office several times during the battle as his station was on the nearby signal bridge. He was the first to coin the statement, “they are shooting at us in technicolor.” During the battle the radio officer told me in the event we had to abandon ship. I was to stay with him to help destroy the cryptographic machines and coding wheels. I was glad I never had to carry out that order.
My Pop, Wally Robertson was a radioman rm/2c aboard the USS Anzio CVE -57. It was the greatest time of his life. After his death in Oct. 2003, I had located, through your site close friends of his. And what a present that was! Such wonderful men they were! To have become friends with them, as my Pop did ...to share HIS friends...was incredibly special. It's my biggest regret not finding your site sooner. Thank you for doing what you do, and bringing my Pop closer to me. I know he would of loved your website, if he had only known about it.
Anthony Potochniak - Anthony was a veteran of WWII and survived the sinking of his ship, the USS GAMBIER BAY CVE-73, at the battle of Leyte Gulf October 25, 1944.
Mr. Raymond D. Williams, age 92, of Madison, Indiana entered this life on April 15, 1925 in Trimble County, Kentucky. He was the loving son of the late Isaiah "Jerry" and Eliza Meadows Williams. He was raised in Trimble County and attended school there moving to Madison in 1952. Raymond was inducted into the United States Navy on December 27, 1944 in Louisville, Kentucky. He rose to the rank of Seaman First Class and served aboard the USS Solomons (CVE - 96) and the Air Transport Squad 12 during World War II in the South Pacific. Raymond was honorably discharged on June 23, 1946 at Great Lakes, Illinois receiving the American Area Ribbon, the World War II Victory Medal and the Asiatic Pacific Area Medal with One Bronze Battle Star. On November 27, 1947 Raymond was united in marriage to Rachel Giltner in Madison, Indiana. This happy union of 42 years was blessed with daughters, Beverly Joyce and Deborah. Raymond farmed for 30 years raising tobacco and cattle. He also worked for Storm's Tri -Point Oil Company for 25 years and retired from Rexnord Chain-Belt after 25 years of service as a welder and fitter. After the death of Rachel he was united in marriage on August 18, 1990 to Charlene May Brown. He was a faithful member of the Calvary Wesleyan Church in Madison. Raymond loved socializing with friends and family and collecting pocket knives.
Thomas C. Ahern enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January 1942 serving aboard the USS Long Island (CVE-1) during WWII. He continued his service to his country until his retirement in November 1966. Tom served with pride and satisfaction for over 23 years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Senior Chief Petty Officer.
WENDELL BIRCH 1924-2017 - Wendell Birch passed away peacefully on November 29, 2017. He was born on December 24, 1924 in Idaho Falls, Idaho to Ulysses and Winnifred North Birch and was the eighth of nine children. He grew up in St. Anthony, Idaho where he met his sweetheart, Beverley Soule. They married in 1948 after his service with the Navy in the South Pacific during WW11 on the Steamer Bay Aircraft carrier.
Here is a photo of my Dad: William Edmunds, SR. He served aboard the USS Gambier Bay from: 1937 to 1941. He was an amazing Dad and I miss him a lot! He always had time for his kids and grandchildren. Heard many stories about his service and when the ship was bombed and all was ordered to abandon. So glad the good Lord looked out for him and brought him safely home. Sincerely, Debbie Edmunds Bayer
I had spoken to you about my Great Uncle James Daniel Gilmartin who served on the USS Munda CVE-104 during WWII. We have very little information about him and his life after he joined the service. The little information we have came mainly from looking up the ship online and a few anecdotes family members who have since passed have shared. He was institutionalized shortly after his return from the war and was never spoken about. We found out later that some of his 7 siblings kept in touch with him but they never even shared that information with their children. My mother learned about him 2 months before he passed and was not allowed to meet him. We know now that it was PTSD, but back then they didn't. My father served in the Army 1st Air Calvary in Vietnam and he has PTSD, although he is of the generation that doesnt talk about it either. When I found out about my uncle I was just as outraged as my mother. We would like to find out as much as we can about him to share with my children and the rest of family. We are determined that he will not be forgotten. No soldier who served should ever be forgotten. Any and all information is greatly appreciated by my entire family. Thank you so much. Sabrina Formichelli and Colleen Gilmartin Formichelli
Rev John Goforth - He joined the U.S. Navy when he was 16 years old during World War II. Five days after his 17th birthday, his ship, the USS Gambier Bay, was sunk. He was afloat for 40 hours before being rescued.
Ralph Houseman was born to this life on July 29, 1916 in La Porte, Indiana. His earliest memories were of horse drawn carriages, Model T Fords and silent movies. During the height of the Great Depression, the family settled in Milwaukee, WI. Ralph graduated from Washington High School in 1933. He pursued his passion for journalism by enrolling in the College of Journalism at Marquette University then decided on a career in law. Ralph was an accomplished public speaker and a member of the Marquette intercollegiate debate team. He was involved in politics and, prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, an active member of the American First Committee. In 1939, at the age of 22, he graduated from Marquette's School of Law and began the practice of law in the then rural hamlet of Grafton, WI. When war broke out, Ralph answered the call to service and joined the United States Navy. In the navy, he trained at Columbia University and Harvard Business School. Ralph served with honor as a Second Lieutenant on board the USS Bogue CVE9, an aircraft carrier that engaged in anti-submarine and convoy duty. He served in the North Atlantic and the Pacific; then joined the Occupation Forces in Japan. Ralph was discharged when the war ended and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War.
Junious Elmore Parker, USS Sicily, was born in Chesterfield Co., SC to the late James and Nellie Lowery Parker.
He served his country in the United States Navy and was a veteran of WWII and the Korean War, retiring after 20 years
of service as a Chief Petty Officer.
Harvey Charles Hagedorn Sr.
Harvey was a WWII veteran and served from July 5, 1943 until April 20, 1946. Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class Hagedorn served in the Navy as an Air Crewman-Aerial Gunner. He served tours on both the USS Sangamon in the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Fleet and USS Princeton. He was assigned to Carrier Aircraft Service Units (CASU) 7, CASU 55, and CASU 21. AAM1/c Hagedorn decorations include American Area Campaign Medal, Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged at Great Lakes Naval Base April 20, 1946.
Harvey attended 2 years of high school and worked on his family farm. Harvey then worked as a landscaper, followed by a packager at a malted milk plant. Due to his father becoming ill, he returned to operate the family dairy farm of 20 cows. His patriotism and country’s call led him to enlist in the Navy at the age of 17. Upon his discharge he worked at the bar his father owned. Harvey later worked for a dry cleaner, as a chauffeur, beer truck driver, foundry worker, and salesman. He was a member of the VFW Post #10231 in Necedah
Royce Hall served in numerous significant battles including: WWII, Mariannas Campaign, Philippine Invasion and the Battle for Leyte Gulf. His last duty station was the Naval Air Station in Oceana, VA in 1946, CASU 25 (Fleet Service Squadron 5). Mr. Hall separated from Naval Service on January 21, 1947 and subsequently enlisted in the US Naval Reserve from July 20. 1950 until July 20, 1954. He was not called to Active Duty during that time.
Royce received numerous military and war related awards including: three Distinguished Flying Crosses, thirteen Air Medals, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with one Bronze Star, Navy Good Conduct Medal with one Bronze Star, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars, the WWII Victory Medal, the CV-10, National Museum for Carrier Aviation, Charleston, SC, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, the Combat Aircrewmen's Wings with three Bronze Stars, and an Honorable Service Lapel Button. In 1998, Mr. Hall was inducted to the Enlisted Combat Aircrewmen's Roll of Honor, on board the USS Yorktown and then in 2006 he was inducted to the Aviation Ordnancemen's Hall of Fame in Reno, NV. He was a Life Member of VFW Post #4092, St. Simons Island, GA, a Member of the Navy League of US, Golden Isles Council, and Associate Member of the Military Officers Association of America, Brunswick, GA. He served on the Board of Governors of the Escort Carrier & Airmen's Association from 2001-2006.
Allan Gardner - USS Bairoko CVE 115
Navy service 1944 – 1946
The Bairoko was built in the Bremerton, WA, shipyards…the commissioning crew in training nearby during the last few months of construction.
I was a QM3c in the N Division…totaling about 12 with a reg Navy full Lt. and Navigator in charge.
After commissioning and shake down and a brief stop in San Diego to pick up a flight squadron we headed West to Hawaii.
We were scheduled for gunnery practice the night prior to arrival.
A tow plane with a target would do a pass over the ship from different angles. I had a gunner friend who offered to let me have some gunnery experience. The night was moonless and the ship under blackout conditions. I slipped into the 20 mm gun harness and put on his earphones so I could get instructions from the gunnery officer.
My friend warned me to follow instructions and not to shoot until authorized. I would see a light coming into view and that would be my aiming point.
All went well…the gunnery office said…”commence tracking”…I could see a light coming into view about 30 degrees above the horizon going left to right.
I tracked …”Commence firing” came over the headset.
6 guns started firing…tracers defining the rounds path.
All of the guns except mine were shooting way off the target…I was the only gun close. How could that be? My thoughts were quickly answered: “Cease firing…Cease firing” roared over the headset…”Who is the SOB shooting at the tow plane?”
I realized I was shooting at the wrong light…my friend neglected to mention the first light would be the tow plane!
I quickly got out of the harness, gave the gun back to my friend…and went below to change my shorts. I imaged the tow pilot may have done the same upon return to base.
I am on the right…other “N” Div guys as well.