WWII sailor honored as Veteran of the Month

RAPID RIVER – World War II veteran, Gilbert Lester Pomeroy, will be honored during a Veteran of the Month ceremony Tuesday at the Walter W. Cole American Legion Post 301 of Rapid River.

Patterned after a national program established by the American Legion, a new Veteran of the Month is honored each month in a formal service at the Legion. The program will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Born in Turin on Nov. 17, 1926, the veteran was the son of Lester and Vera Pomeroy. He attended school through the eighth grade and was later self-employed as a carpenter and woods-worker.

Pomeroy entered military service on Aug. 23, 1944, and served in the Navy as a fireman first-class. He sailed the Great Lakes on board the USS Kearny (DD432) and USS Stockton (DD646).

The Kearny was commissioned in 1940 and patrolled between Eastern U.S. parts and to the St. Thomas and Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda for the next year. While escorting North Atlantic convoys on Oct. 17, 1941, The Kearny was torpedoed, killing 11 men and injuring 22. After undergoing repairs, the ship returned to service two months later.

The Kearny began escorts to the Panama Canal Zone in mid-1942 and later took part in the North African Invasion. Following the invasion, The Kearny began transatlantic escorts. At the time that Pomeroy served on board the ship, The Kearny continued its patrols and also screened for submarines. By September 1945, The Kearny was assigned to screen the landing areas for Transport Squadron Eighteen carrying the 98th Infantry Division to Japan for the Occupation. Pomeroy’s future brother-in-law, Edward Lamberg, was involved in the Occupation under General Douglas McArthur.

The following month, The Kearny was severely damaged in a typhoon at Buckner Bay, Iwo Jima, after screening patrols to Saipan and Guam. The crippled ship returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs and later went on to San Diego, Calif., with Marines that had been picked up at Midway. It ultimately returned to the east coast where it was decommissioned.

Pomeroy was discharged from the military on May 25, 1946. For his military service, the sailor was awarded the Victory Medal, American Area Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the European/African/Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.

On July 26, 1947, Pomeroy married the former Anna I. Lamberg of Ensign. The ceremony took place in Escanaba. The couple are the parents of seven children, Marvel, Alana, Edward, Steve, Keith, Gregory and Carol.

He was a member of the V.F.W.

The veteran died Oct. 20, 1982 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iron Mountain. He is buried in the Whitefish Cemetery in Rapid River.

In addition to his wife and children, Pomeroy was survived by 17 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild, brothers Kenneth and Richard, and sisters Beatrice, Dorothy and Phyllis.