Senior Center honored its veterans Friday

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Shoreline - Lake Forest Park Senior Center held a Veterans Day Tribute on Friday, November 9, 2018 at its building on the Shoreline Center campus.

Attendees viewed the Center's videotape, featuring interviews with three of its veterans talking about their experiences in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

Wes Gallagher
Photo by Jon Ann Cruver
One of the vets was on a ship assigned to the first H-bomb test on the Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean between Hawai'i and the Philippines.

We knew to cover our eyes with our arms and look down at the deck. When we saw the flash reflected on the deck, we knew it was ok to look up. 
We'd just stand with our mouths open, watching that column climb higher and higher into the air. It would go straight up 11, 12,000 feet and explode in a beautiful fireball of colors. 
Then there would be an explosion, so loud. It was like being hit on the side of the head. One of the explosions broke my eardrum.

After the explosion, radioactive dust would fall for hours. It would be everywhere, on their skin, their clothing. The ship would be covered with it. The sailors would go through decontamination showers and hose down the ship.

Dr. Nola Moore talked about her
experience as a nurse in Korea
Photo by Jon Ann Cruver
A Navy nurse talked about spending a year in a quonset hut triage center in Korea. It wasn't like a MASH unit, she said, although the Army had one right down the road. Theirs was a fully equipped hospital and medical center. 

Their job was to process Navy personnel as quickly as possible and stabilize them so they could be airlifted to ships and taken to long term care. The average stay for a patient was 24-36 hours.

Sid Rouse is a Vietnam vet who was an electrician working below decks in charge of keeping the engines running. His ship was at maximum running speed when something happened - a very loud noise and the ship shuddered. The phones were out and he couldn't reach anyone above to find out the status or confirm his last orders. The hatches were battened down so they were closed off from topside.

Sid Rouse
Photo by Jon Ann Cruver
He managed to make contact with his counterpart at the other end of the ship and his was the same experience. 
He said "I'm going to stop the ship." His counterpart agreed. If they were wrong, they could be courtmartialed for not following their last orders to sail at full speed.
He had made the right decision. A plane had flown through the bridge of the ship and exploded. The captain and all the officers were either dead or in the water. 
The bridge was gone and the secondary con was damaged. No one was steering the ship.

The lunch following featured presentation of the Colors by Naval Base Everett Color Guard, presentation of The Fallen Soldier Table by Kevin Coomer, Sergeant US Army.

Capt. Davis and Col. Horner
Roger Horner, Col. US Infantry, Ret. introduced keynote speaker Capt. Michael F. Davis, Commanding Officer, Naval Base Everett.

A musical presentation by Lewis Wilburn, Air Force Training Command, and reading of In Flanders Field

Half the attendees were veterans and the rest were there to honor family members.


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