Hawaii Loses a Great Patriot – Harold B. Estes, U.S. Navy (ret.)

32
12294

BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D. – Harold B. Estes and many of his peers are part of a generation that is known as “The Greatest Generation.”  Estes, a World War II veteran credited with helping bring the USS Missouri and Bowfin museums to Hawaii, and who gained Internet fame with a letter written to President Barack Obama telling him to “shape up and start acting like an American,” died Tuesday May 17, 2011.

Bringing the battleship Missouri to Pearl Harbor started as an idea tossed around in 1994 by Estes, retired Adm. Ron Hays and Navy veteran Edwin Carter, according to the museum.

It was a day in mid-February 1994 when Ronald Hays, a retired four-star admiral who had headed all U.S. forces in the Pacific, said to Estes, a retired chief boatswain’s mate, something like: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the Missouri here?”.

Anyone who has served in the United States Navy knows that the people who get things done in the Navy are chief boatswain’s mates.  This includes four-star admirals.

Estes,  who had been out of the Navy since 1954, had worked with Carter to arrange for the deactivated submarine USS Bowfin  to be brought to  Pearl Harbor as the centerpiece of a submarine memorial complex.

Estes served over 20 years in the Navy.  He took to the Navy like the proverbial duck takes to the water. Estes loved the Navy and the Navy returned that love.  His first ship was the battleship California, later sunk at Pearl Harbor.

When Estes called Carter about the Missouri, Carter arranged for Estes and Hays to meet with him for lunch at the Waialae Country Club. “Cheap lunch,” Carter has been quoted as saying.  “Nobody ordered booze.”

All three – the admiral, the chief boatswain’s mate and the naval reservist – agreed it should be possible to get the deactivated Mo here. Hays, who was going back east on a business trip, said he would  talk to our congressional delegation (all approved) and to the vice chief of naval operations, Stanley Arthur, who had been a fighter pilot over Vietnam with Hays.

Arthur approved, too. Interestingly, he shared a story about a Japanese delegation that  had startled him by asking to have the Missouri towed to Tokyo Bay in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the surrender ceremonies on the battleship.

“Why?” Arthur asked them. The Japanese delegation told him that the Missouri represented a new beginning.  It turned the rhetoric of democracy, freedom and prosperity into reality for Japan.

This idea was welcomed by the three. As it has turned out, the Japanese have become major visitors to the Missouri.

It’s interesting to note that when the Missouri opened as a museum ship at Ford Island, it become a “bookend” to the Arizona Memorial. The beginning and end of the Pacific war is dramatically portrayed by these two ships.

This Author of this article had the pleasure of meeting Estes. I can attest that he was a true gentleman. He didn’t have a political bone in his body, and  he loved America and his fellow veterans.  I have no doubt that Harold Estes and Fred Ballard are sitting together with the Supreme Commander talking story.

A letter critical of Obama penned by Estes several years ago went viral on the Internet and references to it are still numerous. Estes began his letter with these words, “One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.”

Estes will join his wife Doris at Court 11, niche 129P,  at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Advertisements

Comments

comments

32 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, I wish I could have met this man. He has said how it is and the only way to honor Mr. Estes is to vote for Mitt Rodney and not just because I am a replublican but because it is the right thing to do. We can't take another four years.

    • Haha, you said Mitt Rodney. Is that some kind of joke? As an Obama supporter I can say with confidence that he is leading our country in the right direction. This man can be an inspiration to us all, I love him too, but that does not mean we should all be disappointed with the election results. The people have decided. It does not mention Romney anywhere in the letter, and who knows where that disaster would have taken us!

      • yah, he's leading us in the right direction.. If you don't want to be an American any more. Obama is a terrorist in my book. America is doomed and I'm fighting myself daily to learn how to accept not having freedom anymore.

      • So what you are saying is you are thrilled to be paying more taxes on everything you need or want? Down-sizing our military so we have no protection from other coutries must be a fantastic idea for you. Shall I keep going on about how he is using our budget for foreign aid when we, The United States, have poverty here. You make no sense!

      • Spoken like a true liberal: Nothing but kissing Obama's buttocks and giving no proof of him helping. 🙂

      • are you fucking kidding me? OBAMA is a fucking joke think about it he doubled our deficit in half the time it took bush to do so…..and hes digging us deeper into the ground…..he says hes making all these jobs FOR WHO where are they….maybe upper class jobs for upper class people but for people like me HA he doesnt give two shits about people like me who actually need the fucking job…..i have a family to raise and support i have bills to pay but That pos obama doesnt care at all…alls he cares about is taking his million dollar vacations for him and his family FUCK OBAMA he will be impeached!!!!

      • WTF?? The economy is better that it was when he took over…REALLY?? Everything is better…the unemployment rate and everything that was in the trash after 8 years of Bush…. OH MY GOD!!! I CAN NOT BELIEVE YOU PEOPLE WILL BITCH NOW!!!!

      • Seriously???? Go apply for a job instead of waiting on a check!! There are more jobs for people that WANT to work than there has ever been. Don't bash Obama unless you have you facts straight. There has been no other President taken into the white house and debriefed on what was going on 6 weeks before he ever took office!! This shit was created by BUSH and left for OBAMA to clean UP!!!! You CAN'T TAKE A BOWL OF SHIT AND ASKED TO MAKE ICE CREAM OUT OF IT!!!

      • "As an Obama supporter I can say with confidence that he is leading our country in the right direction." Would you want to revisit that claim?

    • Kathy I agree with you. I wish I could have met him. He knew what America really stood for. I'm glad he didn't have to see it actually destroyed.

  2. […] BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D. – Harold B. Estes and many of his peers are part of a generation that is known as “The Greatest Generation.”  Estes, a World War II veteran credited with helping bring the USS Missouri and Bowfin museums to Hawaii, and who gained Internet fame with a letter written to President Barack Obama telling him to “shape up and start acting like an American,” died Tuesday May 17, 2011. (continued here) […]

  3. I would've loved to meet this wonderful man. He spoke the truth to Obama. I JUST read the letter last night. I had never heard of him or the letter he wrote until then. I wish he could've kept on living but I hope he's in Heaven and is at peace.
    Thank you Sir for all your years of service to this country and I pray Obama doesn't kill it [our country] and your dream of not seeing it die in these next four terrifying years. Again, Thank you Mr. Estes!

  4. I just read his letter tonight. What a reminder from the Greatest Generation of how we've skidded off track. God I miss these people (like Mr. Estes) with a steel backbone! May you rest in peace sir.

Comments are closed.