No. 1113



You know, fate has a way of bringing people together who may otherwise never have met in a million years. Such was the case for me a few months ago when a man by the name of Bob Sowell and his wife, Bessie, stopped by our Fudge Shop on a return trip from Branson, Mo.
I know fate had something to do with it because I was there, which is not usually the case. It turns out that the Sowells live in Hot Springs, and Bob has been reading my column in the Sentinel-Record for the past several years. As Christians, we share the same values, and while he is some older than I am, what I have been saying in my columns just resonated with him. After our visit that day, we exchanged signed copies of our books, had prayer and he and Bessie went on their way home. A few days later, Bob called me and wanted to purchase copies of my book “Learning, Earning & Giving Back” to give to family members and all the staff, deacons and Sunday school teachers at his church.
Now, when I said earlier that fate had something to do with our meeting, it was revealed when I read the signed book that he gave me. I am a strong believer in our nation’s military, but there is one branch of service that I knew very little about, and this is the United States Submarine Service.
His book is titled, “A Georgia Farm Boy: From the Great Depression Forward.” It told about his early upbringing in rural Georgia and about his service on a submarine during the Korean War. The book was written at the urging of his late wife, their children and grandchildren, to preserve the memories of his great service to our nation. When I finished reading the entire book, I put it down as a grateful, better informed, and inspired American. It was so impressive, and informative that I decided to pay tribute to this branch of service known as the Silent Service for the contribution they have made to our freedom.
While Bob’s service on a submarine did not begin until October 1949, his duty over the next few years took him to the same locations where much of World War II had taken place, and he pays tribute to those who served before him. Quoting from his book, “The World War II effectiveness of our submarine force, known as the Silent Service, needs to be remembered, especially for their role in our country’s defeat of Japan’s navy and taking control of the Pacific Seas. Although the total force of our World War II submarine personnel was only 1.6 percent of our total U.S. Navy enlistment, our submarines sank more than 50 percent of all the enemy ship-tonnage that was sunk by our Navy during the entire war.”
Just think about that and the American lives it saved. To be sure, a submarine torpedo in the side of an enemy ship is bad news. There is far more good information than I can cover in this column, but the thing that touched me most is when he told about the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Here is what was reported by historian Yahani Kamrudin as an eyewitness account: “In April 1944, 69,000 surrendered at Bataan, of the 12,000 Americans, only 2,000 made it home, less than 17 percent. Over 60,000 were crowded into a camp built to accommodate 10,000 and there was little food, water or medical service. A total of 20,000 Filipinos and 1,600 Americans died in the prison. Guards locked over 100 American POWs in a building and burned them alive.”
Most Americans today have no idea of the cost of our freedom. If they truly did, they would be proud to salute our flag and stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Thanks Bob. God bless you and all who served in our submarine fleet, as I pay a real TRIBUTE to all of you.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)