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Omaha World-Herald
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska
Saturday March 7, 2009

THE GREATEST GENERATION

EARLE M. SCHAD

American Flag.jpg Earle M. SCHAD, age 91, hometown Mount Ayr, Iowa; Service with U.S. Navy, Chief Gunners Mate

In the war: He joined the Navy in January 1941 and took his training at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. He left there by troop train in April 1941 for San Diego, where he boarded the USS Bridge. The Bridge, based out of San Francisco, was a fleet store ship with a cargo that consisted of fresh, frozen and dry foods. The crew's job was to keep the battle fleet and shore stations supplied with food. He later spent nine months on occupation duty after his ship was damaged by a mine. The ship was repaired but then was decommissioned, and SCHAD was honorably discharged in January 1947. He had served most of his Navy career on the USS Bridge.

In his words: "We loaded stores from Pier 56 at the foot of Third Street, had a lighter loaded with construction equipment as a tow and left for Honolulu where we parted with the lighter and then proceeded to Pearl Harbor, loaded some more construction equipment and proceeded to get underway for Midway Island. Unloaded some cargo, then to Wake Island, where we unloaded more stores and construction equipment, and from there to Guam. On this trip, I was treated to an encounter with the first of several typhoons that we went through. Also on this trip, we had our first experience of the coming war with Japan. We were advised to shoot to sink any vessel that did not properly identify itself. After several more trips to Pearl Harbor, we went into major overhaul at Mare Island in October 1941. We finished overhaul the latter part of January and on February 4, 1942, we were loaded with provisions and proceeded to Pearl Harbor in a convoy, and from Pearl we left in convoy for Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa. Encountered our first sub attack and our destroyer escort fired depth charges and reported the sub as sunk. This trip was the forerunner of many trips to the many Pacific islands.

"I am proud of my service to my country. I got back to the U.S. long after the war was over - no crowds, no band, no one met me at the station, no one ever mentioned anything to me of my six years' service. It was almost as though I had never been gone! I have a granddaughter that always calls me on Veteran's Day and thanks me for my service, and that means more than all the accolades I could have gotten."
- DeDra ROBB, Omaha World-Herald

U.S.S. BRIDGE, Supply Ship #1, later AF-1, 1917-1947

Courtesy National Archives

  • Earle's obituary


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