A Sailor’s Dying Wish

When EM2 Bud Cloud reconciled himself to the fact that he didn't have much longer to live, all he wanted to do was go down to the Navy shipyard and see the USS Dewey, his old ship when he was in the Navy himself, back in Hawaii in 1941. His daughter, a Marine Corps veteran, called to arrange a visit. It was much more than she expected.

After we were all out of the van directly in front of the Dewey, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries, Petty Officer Simon introduced himself and said as the ship’s Sailor of the Year he had the honor of pushing Bud’s wheelchair for the day. Unbeknownst to us, they’d decided to host Bud aboard the Dewey, not at the Dewey. And so they carried him aboard. None of us expected him to go aboard the ship. I’d told him we were going down to the base and would have the chance to meet and greet a few of the Sailors from the new Dewey. He was ecstatic. The day before, he asked every few hours if we were “still going down to visit the boys from the Dewey,” and “do they know I was on the Dewey, too?”

Once aboard, we were greeted by the CO, CDR Jake Douglas, the XO and a reinforced platoon-sized group of Sailors. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. These men and women waited in line to introduce themselves to Bud. They shook his hand, asked for photos with him, and swapped stories. It was simply amazing.

They didn’t just talk to him, they listened.

When Cloud left, they piped him ashore. It was a day Cloud talked about for the rest of his life -which was 13 days. The Sailors of the USS Dewey were there to provide a burial with honors. Go read the whole story, but take a hankie. -via Metafilter


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