Owen “Obie”, 87, of the Chambrel at Williamsburg, served in the US Navy during WWII from 1943-1946. He was the Gunner’s Mate First Class on a Patrol Torpedo (PT) boat. He recently discovered that a PT boat exactly like his that was originally built in 1945 was recommissioned in Portland, OR, and sets sail throughout the summer. Obie’s Wish was “to get my feet on that deck one more time and take that thing for a spin!”
After Obie left the service, he used his training and experience in navigating and worked for a charting and mapping company. He did surveying and this eventually led to a career in Geodesy. He worked at the head of a laboratory for the Air Force teaching Geology, Seismology, Geodesy, Biology and Geophysics. He lectured in these topics all over the world–spending time in Russia, France, Lebanon and Turkey.
Obie says that he loved his career. It was delightful and challenging, and he feels very fortunate to have had it. To keep his mind active, he still belongs to American Geophysical Union and Earth, Science and Technology Association.
His favorite part of his service and his career was teaching others. On the boat, his job was to teach the rest of the crew how to use the guns and where to keep them. The reason he wanted to be on the boat again is to remember his memories with clarity: the engines, the way the ship felt, but most importantly, the crew he considered his family.
On September 21, 2012, Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living sent Obie and his son to Portland, OR to set sail on the PT 658! They took a ride on September 22, including a tour of the boat and they even let Obie steer it into the boathouse!