Veterans

July 26, 2013

Former USS Solace survivor laid to rest

A Pearl Harbor survivor was laid to rest during an ash scattering ceremony at the USS Utah Memorial on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam July 24.

Family members of Yeoman 1st Class Alphonse “Al” Vanden Brul scattered his remains, along with a portion of his late wife’s, into the harbor where he will be reunited with shipmates who lost their lives during the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor Survivors liaison, Jim Taylor, started the ceremony by giving a short overview of Vanden Brul’s life.

Al, along with his twin brother John, was born Nov. 28, 1918 during a flu epidemic in Rochester, N.Y. and later both joined the Navy Reserve at the age of 17. Due to the approaching war the brothers were called to active duty in April 1941.

In June 1941 Vanden Brul and his brother were sent to join the Navy’s newest ship USS Solace (AH-5), a hospital ship stationed out of Pearl Harbor.

During the morning of the attacks he was assigned to duties in the laundry room. As he was getting ready to head out for church, some of the nurses onboard looked out of the ship and saw USS Utah get hit and roll over.

Later that day boats were pulling alongside the Solace with casualties, some alive and others dead. His job was to put his living shipmates into hospital beds and take the deceased to the stern of the ship to be identified later, along with the gruesome burning of blood drenched bed sheets.

“Vanden Brul family is quite amazing, four brothers in the Navy during World War II,” said Jim Taylor. “Herbert earned a degree in law after leaving the Navy, Robert actually retired from the Navy, John and Al worked at Eastman Kodak after receiving their honorable discharges and retired in the early 1980s.”

Alphonse passed away May 29, 2013. Family members recalled Vanden Brul always talking about the attacks Dec. 7, 1941, particularly during the last few years of his life, which is the reason they returned his remains to one of the attack sites.

“Al would tell you he was not a hero; he was simply doing his job as everyone was expected to do, nothing more, nothing less” said Capt. Lawrence Scruggs, deputy commander of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility “He embodies the spirit and tradition of our rich Navy, his life is an inspiration to us in this time of war and challenge. I stand here today to say, shipmate … we have the watch.”

Family members including his daughters attended the ceremony which included a presentation of a flag flown over the memorial, playing of taps, and a three-volley rifle salute by the Pearl Harbor Honors and Ceremonial Guard.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
WWII-MIA

Missing World War II Soldier accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced today that the remains of a missing World War II U.S. serviceman have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, acco...
 
 
stamps2

New stamp folio to honor Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients

Nearly a dozen Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients will help the U.S. Postal Service dedicate a limited-edition stamp folio honoring them and other Vietnam heroes on Memorial Day. The “Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Forever...
 
 
af-medal

American Fighter Aces receive Congressional Gold Medal

Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces Association May 20 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Emancipation Hall. The Congressional Gold Medal...
 

 
Korea-MIA

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced May 22 that the remains of a U.S. soldier missing from the Korean War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors, a...
 
 
Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold

Soldiers participate during Flags In at Arlington Cemetery

Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold Old Guard and other ceremonial units place more than 228,000 miniature flags throughout Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 21, 2015, in advance of Memorial Day, May 25. The Flags In mission has...
 
 

In memoriam

Remembering TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar, age 40, died April 13 in a noncombat related incident at an air base in Southwest Asia while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve. Salazar, a native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., was assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>