A World War II veteran who served on two mighty battleships and was present at the surrender of Japan was honored by active duty US Navy sailors outside of his home in California.
California resident Jonathan Williams posted a video earlier this month of US Navy Chief Petty Officer candidates marching to the home of World War II battleship veteran Ernest “Ernie” Thompson, who served aboard the USS Missouri during the famous surrender of the Japanese in 1945.
Thompson -who is now in his early nineties and has worked to preserve the California-based battleship Iowa- sat on his porch earlier this month as the CPO selectees of the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Centre came to sing “Anchors Aweigh,” the US Navy’s march song.
“My grandfather joined the Iowa Museum Crew with other WWII veterans (such as Bob Despain from the USS Hoel) to come to the ship on Sundays and meet the public and tell their story,” said Williams, who is the CEO of the Battleship Iowa Museum in Los Angeles. “These public interactions have greatly influenced future generations, the public, and current Navy personnel on the importance of history, patriotism, and military/veteran appreciation.”
According to grandson Williams, FLEASWTRACEN heard that Thompson’s health had been failing of late and wished to show their appreciation.
“The Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center has made it part of Chief Select for 2 years to meet these WWII veterans,” Williams said. “When they found out that my grandfather was unable to visit the ship lately due to health reasons, they decided to take it to him. They worked with the Iowa Volunteer Coordinator to arrange the surprise visit and when the day arrived he was surprised!”
When the sailors had finished singing to Thompson, they each walked up and shook his hand, with one sailor remarking that he had recently re-enlisted.
Prior to World War II, Thompson had served on the USS Tennessee, eventually switching over to the USS Missouri once the conflict broke out and eventually serving as the supervisor in one of the Missouri’s boiler rooms. During the famous surrender of the Japanese aboard the ship, Thompson recalled that he stood at attention for “about three and a half or four hours,” and that he was more concerned with getting back to his family than the gravity of the historical moment.
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