By Robert E Wright Jr., President and Treasurer
To paraphrase an old song made famous by General Douglas MacArthur in his final speech to Congress, Old Sailors never die, they just fade away. During this week’s news coverage, I witnessed and at times I felt that I was even present at the burial of Senator John McCain. This former US Navy officer never sought glory or the spotlight for his actions during the years that he served his country. He exemplified one of the many traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation of men, and now woman, serving in the long history of United States Navy. For our generation of members who served on the Landing Craft, Infantry in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946, it is very much the same.
In July, I was the recipient of a heartfelt letter from Mrs. Elizabeth DuBrul, who is the widow of CDR. Donald Dubrul USN (ret) who was the captain of LCI(L)-553, on D-Day. At Normandy, his ship was lost on the beach due to fire from German shore batteries. In her letter she comments that her husband never wished to discuss the events of that war. And he is like everyone else that I have had the privilege of talking with regarding their service to this county during the difficult days of World War II. Personally, I have never heard anyone take any credit for any deed of courage or accomplishment, even when I was listening to Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, USMC, for his action on Iwo Jima. Woody, while describing the events surrounding our country’s highest award for valor, he only claimed “to be doing my duty.” How many times have I heard these words from the WWII generation, “I am no hero, the real heroes are buried over there.”
Mrs Dubrul, made a point in her letter. We serve an important role to preserve and provide facts about the actions of the men who committed their lives to defend our country. I feel that this may not be an honor that they sought in their lifetimes, but this is a tribute to which they are rightfully entitled. This is the102nd issue of the Elsie Item. It includes more stories about the deeds of the men aboard the U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Infantry, in WWII, so that our “sailors never die or just fade away”.