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Ronald W. Hull

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A Veteran's Story
By Ronald W. Hull
Friday, May 22, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Heroism is where you find it...

According to his son, Jack's submarine was none other than the famous, USS Bowfin


My first job after my master’s degree was with GTE Lenkurt in San Carlos, CA, in quality control. There were a many World War II vets without degrees working as engineers with their military skill training in the plant. One quality engineer, Jack Swanson, befriended me and confided how he could never live up to his father's expectations.

Jack's father was a famous inventor in the Seattle area who devised a gun and turret system protecting Puget Sound during the war. There was much more to Jack than he allowed. Everybody’s friend, Jack was quick to laugh and quick to anger. When Jack saw injustice, he acted on it. We were alike that way. A devoted family man, Jack and Lois quietly helped out those unfortunate through their church. His home was my home, and we spent evenings together with Jack trying to teach me chess until I finally beat him. I returned his favors by tutoring him in statistics so that Jack could his certification from the American Society for Quality Control.

During WW II, Jack was a submariner assigned to an attack submarine, also used to collect intelligence, the USS Bowfin. One day, Jack showed me a hunting knife that he said saved their lives. Their submarine was at a dock in a harbor in Southeast Asia when someone saw a Japanese destroyer entering the harbor. Jack took that knife and cut the rope tied to the front of the sub while another sailor cut the rope tied to the back. They got under way and submerged in the harbor. After hours of depth charges they finally escaped.

We became fast friends and he invited me over one morning to see Neil Armstrong step onto the moon while we had breakfast in his backyard. When I left California to teach at my alma mater, I took Jack and his son, Kevin, with me to Seattle where his father, in his 80s, was making sewing machine parts in a garage workshop and chandeliers with crystals from China. Shortly after retirement at 65 or so, Jack developed an arthritic spine and died young. His wife, Lois, still keeps in touch with me via e-mail and lives in Lake Havasu Arizona. Jack’s three sons live in California and Arizona. His adopted daughter lives in Texas. They can be very proud of their father, a veteran and hero of mine.  



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Reviewed by Marvin Cox Flynn 11/2/2014
A praiseworthy tribute to the memory of a good friend. Sounds like a man I would have been happy and honored to have known ...
Reviewed by Phillip Hardy 2/12/2014
Both my father and stepfather were WWII vets and there's a reason we call these men "The Greatest Generation". Their sacrifices during the war and their subsequent contributions to society thereafter have been tremendous. I am sad to see these men go and your short story reflects the same reference I have for a group of guys that did so much for our country after experiencing such a terrible conflict.
Reviewed by Ann Everett 12/7/2013
Hi Ron,
YOu were nice enough to review my story, so I wanted to repay in kind. This is a nice tribute to a service a time when those who serve our country are foremost in our minds. Especially at this time of year. Well done.
Reviewed by Kathleen Janz-Anderson 8/19/2012
A heartwarming story, nicely told. A beautiful friendship like that stays with us and gives another meaning to life. I was hoping for more.
Reviewed by CJ Heck 5/28/2011
This is a wonderful story, Ron -- an insightful look at heroism. Well done and a pleasure.
Reviewed by Carolyn Red Bear (The Bear Paw) 6/3/2009
Hi Ron, What a great commentary on what heroism is and where it is... What a dignified tribute for your friend, and yourself.... thank you for sharing this...

In Spirit,
Reviewed by Jon Willey 5/25/2009
Ron, 'tis true, "heroism is where you find it" -- the way Jack befriended you is very reminiscent of how many WWII vets befriended me in much of my working career -- all had several commendable traits, sharing, teaching, and treating others with respect -- I see very little of those traits in today's society -- a pity -- for it is truly the essence of, "men larger than life" -- thanks for sharing -- peace and love my friend -- Jon Michael
Reviewed by Michael Guy 5/25/2009
WW II's and other war's litany of unsung heroes and their stories; some dramatic, some not is legion and awe inspiring. This one is incredibly heart warming and interesting. I'm glad you had a chance to have a friendship like this...your life experience has covered a lot of ground.
A nice tribute to Memorial Day
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 5/22/2009
Great tribute to your friend, Ron; well done! God bless all those who serve, who serve now! Thanks for remembering our Veterans!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D

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