Sailor Recalls Loss of Only US Carrier
By David Barber
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Quilt of Valor Presented to Dean Moel
American Legion Auxiliary of Johnson County
On January 28, 2017, Dean Moel was honored for his service in WWII with a Patriotic Stars, Eagles and Flags Quilt, which was quilted by Kym Ward
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William Dailey Dugan
A Daughter’s Story
Wasn’t he so darn cute, my dad, William Dailey Dugan, who served on and survived the sinking of the USS Gambier Bay. He was running along the walkway (I don’t remember what he called it) with a group of other men, one his best friend, when he saw another sailor down. He stopped to help him while the others ran on. Seconds later a shell hit just ahead of him, causing him shrapnel injuries, but all those who had been running with him were killed. My Dad’s, typical selflessness, compassion and kindness in stopping to help a shipmate saved his life. He and others floated in the vast ocean for three long days, fighting off sharks drawn by blood in the water; watching others lose their senses from drinking sea water and delirium from injuries. He told of a sailor who was “out of his head”, letting go of the rope to go down to get something from his locker. The sailor disappeared under the water, never to resurface. Besides sharks, thirst, pain, and exposure, they lived in fear of a Japanese ship coming by and either killing them, or worse, taking them prisoner. Mercifully, the first ship to come by was a US destroyer (I belief, or maybe a U boat, I can’t remember, but couldn’t take them on, but they contacted a larger ship to rescue them. It would be more long hours of waiting before it finally arrived to free them from their watery prison. I’m so very proud of my late Dad (passed 1/22/2006), for his courage, but mostly for the man he was; ever gentle and kind and loving. A devoted, loving husband to my dear late mom and devoted, loving dad to his five children. He rests in peace at the national cemetery in Canonsburg, PA.
Story submitted by Cheryl Cunningham, daughter of William Dailey Dugan
William crossed the bar in January 2006
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Cletus R. “Clete” Ring
PLAIN – Cletus R. “Clete” Ring left this world a better place than he found it on February 3, 2017. Just shy of his 91st birthday, he was born February 15, 1926, in Plain to Raymond and Emma (Blau) Ring.
Clete enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II at the age of 17. He served on board the USS Gambier Bay CVE73, serving as a motor machinist in the engine room. On October 25, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, his ship was sunk by enemy gunfire. Wounded badly, Clete survived two days in shark infested waters, clinging to a life raft. He was subsequently awarded the Purple Heart.
Returning to Plain after the war, Clete married Anna M. Schmitz in August of 1947. Subsequently he built and ran the Skelly Service Station in Plain for over 20 years. He also was a member of the United Steamfitters Local 601. Following retirement Clete could most often be found at his sons’ business, RingBrothers, where he would keep staff and visitors regaled with his stories and advice to all, (and on all subjects).
Clete is survived by what he undoubtedly would say is his greatest legacy, his seven children, Steve (Nancy) Ring of Scottsdale, Ariz., June (Charlie) Drott of Scottsdale, Ariz., Gail Byrne of Madison (Tim Byrne of Middleton), Betty (John) Kraemer of Paradise Valley, Ariz., Karen (John) Heinz of Scottsdale, Ariz., Mike (Nancy) Ring of Plain and Jim (Peggy) Ring of Spring Green; 16 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; six sisters, Caroline Weiss, Elvy Weiss, Bernice Weber, Alice Swinehart, Charlotte Dischler, Audray Gerber and a brother, John (Jack) Ring.
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Clarence Harold Seever – Purple Heart