Though this may present itself a little out of order from Paul's material, perhaps he can switch things around for a better location later...
When I embarked on this trip and ultimately arrived on the Honolulu Airport tarmac, I had two overall goals for the excursion in mind: 1) Lose myself in the wide-ranging submarine history and lore of the area with sub buddy/shipmate Paul (aka: FUN); and 2) honor the memory of Forest J. Sterling, Wahoo's redoubtable yet unassuming yeoman, by attending and helping out (in my own very small way) with the Navy's memorial ceremony for the boat -- of course, the entire reason for our trip in the first place. As is already noted above -- and perhaps below -- I'm happy to report these missions both very successfully accomplished.
Certainly many reading this will be aware that "Yeo" was not lost when Wahoo went down, having been surprisingly transferred off by skipper Morton just before the final patrol. But in getting to know him in his final few years, I recognize that a significant portion of Forest's happy-go-lucky spirit DID go down with the boat (with the demise of his crewful of friends), and it is this loss I intended to memorialize by attending the event here. I must say that my memory of Sterling, now that he IS gone, was much on my mind during the moving ceremony last night, and I'm sure he would've been very pleased by all the honor and attention paid to his lost shipmates by way of the the entire week's commemoration. I think it's safe to say there were few dry eyes during the final ceremony last evening, that's for sure.
Below was my contribution to the Wahoo artifacts exhibit in the hotel's "Meet & Greet" room the night we arrived. I felt truly honored to be able to provide my own small piece of genuine crew history, inherited from Forest via his Navy retirement home buddy Hollis Hayes, for the event.
As for the "Fun" part of the trip, this: Wow! So many highlights I barely know where to begin! Paul has already posted some photos, and I'm sure more are to come as we wrap up this adventure, but the biggest thrills which come immediately to mind are of course the reverent ceremony itself (resplendent with full Navy band and dress white Navy participants all over the place); polishing, with Paul, Wahoo's actual brass ship's bell (removed and stored ashore after her commissioning, prior to her war patrols) just before its heralded, somber use in the memorial ceremony; meeting and chatting with Admiral Joe Walsh (current ComSubPac, who said he'd arrange for a base and/or sub tour for us sometime later today before our flights home); meeting and getting to know Mush Morton's son, daughter and several other relatives -- not to mention some of the family members of several others of Wahoo's crew (we only wish we'd had time for more, but setup- and bus-related duties called us away from things frequently); significant photo-op time with Paul aboard Bowfin in her restricted-from-tourists conning tower; our Arizona Memorial tour; watching that L.A. class sub exit the harbor on her way to some stealthy patrol; and of course, much more. That's about all I have time for now, but I'd like to take this opportunity to personally and publicly thank Paul for coming up with the idea of this blog in the first place, setting things up so that others can so easily share in these very special moments.
Below's a shot of the sun setting on Bowfin after last night's ceremony. Aloha, Jeff
Fair Winds And Following Seas
2 years ago