Stanley Gromkowski, from Beacon NY, got word in February 1939 he was able to join the Navy. This was after a nine month waiting period – only a certain number of recruits from any given area were allowed to join.
By October, 1939 he arrived at Pearl Harbor aboard the U.S.S. Colorado. He spent the majority of his service (6 years) patrolling the Hawaiian Islands aboard the U.S.S. Minneapolis.
By a twist of fate, Stanley’s ship was one of the very few out to sea during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His ship was doing some target practice for the filming of ‘The Shores of Tripoli’.
One event I found most amazing during the time he spent serving the United States was when Stanley’s ship had been torpedoed (twice). Stanley’s ingenuity helped get the ship moving again. There were holes in the boiler tubes , and it wouldn’t hold pressure. He took sticks wrapped in canvas, dipped in red lead, and stuck them in the holes. The steam sealed it, and the boiler was able to build up pressure again. He was told it couldn’t be done, but indeed it was done!
I met Stanley when he was nearly 90. The thing I find most impressive about him, was after all he had seen in his lifetime, he still looked for the joy in things. He loved to laugh, was always a gentleman, and was a caring individual.
Thanks to Stanley, and all our service men and women, for the sacrifices they made, and continue to make.