He Saw Years of War….

I think the title says it all. Click the link to learn more, readers:

‘Those are Japanese planes!’

‘Those are Japanese planes!’

By John Raughter

NOV 20, 2020

A rising sun was the first sign to Sterling R. Cale that something was off. But rather than the sun, it was Mars, the god of war, that became his uninvited and all-too-frequent companion in a military career that spanned from World War II through the Vietnam War.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Cale was a 20-year-old Navy hospital pharmacist’s mate stationed at Pearl Harbor. He’d just eaten breakfast and was walking to the receiving station when he noticed something happening on Battleship Row.

“‘How come they’re bombing the battle wagons?’” he thought at the time. “‘We don’t train on Sunday! Must be some sort of National Guard or reserve activity’ …. But then, as I was watching, a plane came by with the Rising Sun on the fuselage, and I said, ‘My God, those are Japanese planes!’”

In that moment Cale’s life, and the world, changed. Though he wasn’t a strong swimmer, Cale walked into shallow harbor waters to retrieve wounded and dead bodies over the next two hours.

“I only picked up 46 people,” he told The American Legion in 2019. “Some of those people were dead already. Some were badly burned, and I would try to pick them up and the skin would come right off their hands. Some of them were just tired because they were blown off the ship or jumped and had to get ashore.”

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