Sponsored

Search This Blog

Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Monday, November 8, 2010

Veterans' Reflections: A Life of Service

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Selby

Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity



WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2010 - If all you knew about Bill Sumner was that he joined the military during World War II a day after graduating from high school, that would say plenty about his character and dedication to his country. But it marked only the beginning of a life of service.







During an Oct. 13, 2010, interview at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., retired Air Force Lt. Col. Bill Sumner -- a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War -- discusses his military experiences. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Selby

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.



When he left for boot camp in 1942, the United States was involved in World War II, Sumner said, and he had to do his part.



"A few months later I was transferred to Pearl Harbor and was stationed aboard the USS Mahan," he said.



On Dec. 7, 1944, the USS Mahan was patrolling between Leyte and Ponson Island when a squadron of Japanese aircraft found it.



"They were heading home after bombing an invasion force, and I guess the American P-38 started to hit them," Sumner said. "So they decided [that] rather than go home, they would just destroy us."



During the ensuing battle, Sumner said, the nine twin-engine Bettys were diving into the ship one at a time, but only three of the aircraft actually hit the Mahan.



"The first one hit midship, and the second one hit us between two stacks," he added. "The third one missed us and then came back around and hit us."



The ship was exploding from all the munitions and weapons onboard, and there was nothing to extinguish the fires, because one of the planes knocked out the power to the ship, Sumner recalled. With no power and no water to fight the fires, the Mahan's skipper decided it would be best for the crew to jump overboard. But, Sumner said, there was one thing he couldn't leave the ship without.



"I had a dog onboard," he said. "His name was Butch. He was a cocker spaniel, and he was our ship's mascot. I went down below to get him, and then we all jumped off the ship into the water."



The Mahan's crew floated in the water for roughly two hours while waiting to be picked up, and eventually was sighted and picked up by the crew members USS Walke, a flat-bottomed landing ship.



Sumner said when Walke was ready to start taking sailors on board, none of the crew would go until Butch was safely aboard a fairly funny addition to an otherwise less-than-comical story. After the sailors from the Mahan had boarded the Walke, the decision was made to sink the listing ship.



The surviving sailors did not get to come home immediately, and Sumner stayed aboard the Walke. While leaving the Philippines, Sumner's ship was challenged, he said, only this time it wasn't the Japanese.



"We were on the way back from the Philippines, and we hit the edge of Halsey's Typhoon," he said. "And believe me, that was [scarier] by far than being sunk."



Sumner returned to the United States after traveling aboard five different vessels over three months, and he was assigned to the USS Steinacker on the East Coast. Soon after that, Sumner received an honorable discharge from the Navy.



Years passed, and after he earned a degree from the University of Nevada, Sumner decided to seek a commission as an Air Force officer. He served in the Air Force for 22 years, including time spent as a bombardier navigator flying combat missions in the Korean and Vietnam wars. All told, Sumner spent 27 years serving in the armed forces. He fought in three major wars and retired as a lieutenant colonel.



He said serving his country was the most important thing he ever did.



"I am deeply, deeply heartfelt about my experiences in the service," he said. "To me, I think it's one of the greatest experiences a person could ever have."



("Veterans' Reflections" is a collection of stories of men and women who served their country in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and the present-day conflicts. They will be posted throughout November in honor of Veterans Day.)

No comments:

Advertiser

NETC LRC News and Information

Advertiser

Technology Headlines

The TSA Blog

FEMA Blog

White House.gov Video Feed

NYSDOT Recent Press Releases

Indian Point Press Releases

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant EAS Messages

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

New York State-Wide RSS

Department of Homeland Security News

Department of Homeland Security Podcasts

Erie County RSS Feed

Erie County Emergency Management

The Weather Channel: Your Local Weather Outlook--Niagara Falls, NY (14304)

FEMA: New York Federal Disaster Declarations

Niagara County RSS Feed

National Weather Service

Albany County RSS Feed

Allegany County RSS Feed

Bronx County RSS Feed

Broome County RSS Feed

Cattaraugus County RSS Feed

Chemung County RSS Feed

Cayuga County RSS Feed

Ontario County RSS Feed

Warren County RSS Feed

City of Toronto News Releases

US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Recent Recalls and Product Safety News

Center for Missing & Exploited Children: NY Missing

Lead Photos - U.S. Dept. of Defense

CBP.gov: Alert - Maritime - Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Contract - U.S. Dept. of Defense

Speech - U.S. Dept. of Defense

Transcript - U.S. Dept. of Defense

The Grill Sergeants

FBI Extra

NASA Breaking News

NASA Ames Research Center News and Features

NASACast Video

USGS Earthquake ShakeMaps

City of Toronto news releases, Emergency Medical Services

City of Toronto news releases, Fire Services

Speeches

Advertiser

City of Toronto news releases, Fire Services

Visitor Snapshot

Royalty Free Music.com News

RoyaltyFreeMusic.com Music Reviews

Automobile RSS Feed

Speed and Accuracy Statement

The information you find here is in the form of raw data, usually delivered via RSS feeds. The information is delivered via website in the most rapid manner possible. Usually this is the manner of delivery of information to media. Therefore, this service gets the audience information to the public more rapidly then any media outlet that has to re-write the information for their email club or SMS feeds.

In some cases, cases, from time to time, updates and correctons are offered by the authors of this information, Motioncenter.info is not responisble for the content of RSS feeds, press releases, or any other content. The content of the information presented is the responsiblity of the producer of the content.

There are many reasons for presenting the information as the page does. The public really never has had a view of the raw data before now. Most cases we see news packaged, polished and prioritized. This blog network offers a wide audience a variety of news, some of it is produced by Motioncenter and some by the government or other sources.

Read what you like, ignore what doesn't interest you, but at least Motioncenter doesn;t tell you what the news is, you choose.

Material Connection Disclosure

You should assume that the owner of this website has an affiliate relationship and/or another material connection to the providers of goods and services mentioned on this site and may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the internet or offline. THIS IS A BLOG. A NON-COMMERCIAL WEBPAGE At no time does commerce transact on this site. If it had then it would require a Secure Sockets Layer certificate and a merchant account. Being a non-commercial site there are some licensing privledges that this site will participate in. Mystuffnow is an online radio station broadcasting twenty four hours daily. This station can be bet described as a hybrid format of adult contemporary, international and ad popular music. In a sense it may, be compared to compared random radio format, but mystuffnow has three dedicated day parts. These day parts include a morning, evening and overnight separate music selection. The morning and afternoon have a selection of classic rock and current hot hits. To make the station more unique a new track, or tracks from the overnight day part have been added to make the station stand out from traditional stations that broadcast locally. The overnight day part is called “After Hours” and mimics the general principals of a quiet storm programming style where as there are fewer commercials and the music is more adult in nature, not just in lyrics but the music is more unique, offering international and slower tracks. This is meant for relaxation or whatever you may be doing in the late night hours. This station is run by computerized traffic software. At any moment a live deejay can broadcast and a morning show or news programming is possible, all playlists are run automatically. One positive of this is the fact that the software ensures that all artists get paid their royalties and this station avoids any fines for digital media issues. Update: Mystuffnow is currently off the air.

No Endorsement Statement

No endorsement is implied nor should it be inferred. No government agency, or organization has endorsed Motioncenter.Info. Motioncenter.info is a media organization with a mission of offering unbiased information as it becomes available, without any form of bias.

Privacy Policy

This is a website run by Group Speeddog Results Marketing, L.L.C... We take our readers privacy very seriously. Promotions through Third Party Merchants While this site is not endorsed or owned by any of the third party merchants appearing on this site, this site may at times receive various types of compensation when a viewer makes a purchase or clicks on a link appearing on this site. This site is not responsible for any claims or warranties associated with any third-party merchant link or website. This site does not directly collect any information regarding its viewers without your prior knowledge and permission; nor does it share their information with third-party vendors or merchants . It is not now, nor ever will be, our practice to sell your information to any third-party under any circumstance. We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. Google Advertising Cookie and Privacy Policies What is the DoubleClick DART cookie? The DoubleClick DART cookie is used by Google in the ads served on the websites of its partners, such as websites displaying AdSense ads or participating in Google certified ad networks. When users visit a partner’s website and either view or click on an ad, a cookie may be dropped on that end user’s browser. The data gathered from these cookies will be used to help better serve and manage ads on the publisher’s site(s) and across the web. *Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on your site. *Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it and its partners to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and/or other sites on the Internet. *Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.