Meet Mr. Shaw, an inspiration to us all
"Mr. Shaw enlisted in the Navy in May 1942 for four years; he was 21 years old. Mr. Shaw was a 3rd class Petty Officer in the Ordinance Division, a gunner mate in charge of guns. He would have the guns clean and ready for battle when needed.
Mr Shaw was eventually stationed in the Armed Guards in Brooklyn, NY after attending his bootcamp training in Northfork , Virginia (he fondly called NOB). As a sailor on a Merchant Marine ship, Mr Shaw would make trips to such locations as: Brazil, Persian Gulf, Iraq, and South America. Sometimes it would take 7 months to make one trip.
Once off the coast of Brazil, Mr. Shaw was in a convoy of ships that had to sail 90 miles off the coast to go around a large isthmus in order to make their destination. At 10pm at night, the convoy of 15 ships was fired upon and the ship ahead of them was hit and destroyed. The next ship in line pulled up to take its place and it was hit; 2 torpedoes hit Mr Shaw’s ship and 12 out of the 15 ships sunk to the bottom of the ocean. His ship was one of the 15 that went down. The ship was hit in the bow, and the violence of the hit made his body bounce around in the sinking iron ship causing severe bruising and broken teeth, but relatively little injury.
There were not enough lifeboats for the amount of people flailing in the water trying to escape their deaths. Yelling for a “life-saver” and “help” filled Mr Shaw’s ears. The lifeboats that were built for a 30 person capacity were filled double to at least 60 or more. They spent 3 days and nights picking up survivors out of the cold ocean and even those that were found dead (and body parts). Lots of sailors died that night…
After his return to the States, Mr Shaw was sent to Fort Pierce, FL and stayed there 9 months at a crash boat station, picking up crashed airplane pilots out of the ocean. He was to be transferred back to NOB, Northfolk, VA and thought about re-enlisting, but the town was less than inviting to soldiers now. Signs were posted in around town stating: “Sailors and Dogs Keep off the Grass.” Mr. Shaw was discharged at Charleston Naval Base in Charleston, SC in 1945. "
He loved the seas.
He loves his country.