Louis R. Perry – WWII & Korea

The country’s pandemic lockdown kept me out of Florida for almost two years. When I returned to Missouri, I carried a van loaded with old film, prints, clips and other journalistic detritus.

Along with my stuff, Wife Lila packed a box of Perry family photos for Sister Marty. A special selection of photos will go to Brother John for his “military trunk.”

This short newspaper brief tells about all I know right now about Lila’s Uncle Louis R. Perry, who served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service during the Korean campaign.

Watching Louis grow up

You can see Louis grow up from a somewhat skinny young man to a mature sailor. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use the arrow keys to move around.

The USS Rochester (CA-124)

Louis spent a good portion of his service aboard the USS Rochester, an Oregon City-class heavy cruiser that was launched in 1945.

On Sept. 13, 1950, The Rochester provided support for the troops landing on Inchon. On Sept. 17, two Korean aircraft that were mistakenly thought to be friendly, dropped four bombs on the ship. Three of them missed, and the fourth smashed the ship’s crane, but failed to detonate. 

There were no American casualties, but the crew painted a Purple Heart on the crane.

The vessel was refitted several times during her life, but she was eventually scrapped in 1974.

Perry family has history of service

Going-away party for Wyatt Perry 07-14-2012

I made this photo at a going-away party when Wyatt Perry, John and Dee’s son, was shipping out for the marines. 

Left to right: Laurie Perry Everett, Drew Perry, Wyatt Perry, John F. Perry, Rocky Everett.

John Perry was Navy and served in Vietnam. Drew just finished up his enlistment in the Marines.

Laurie Perry Everett, joined the Army, where the diminutive blonde became a Military Police officer. She was stationed in Kitzingen, Germany, but she either visited or was deployed in France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania, Israel, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece and Switzerland, among others.

One of her jobs was processing new troops, explaining the local customs and making them aware of what they needed to know. One soldier, Rocky Everett, commented to his buddy, “I’m going to date that girl one day.”

Wyatt Perry 1993 – 2020

Wyatt Perry at going-away party before heading off to the Marines 07-14-2012

The van was packed, and we were ready to head back south to Florida after spending the Christmas holidays with our families in Cape Girardeau. Wife Lila got the word that Sis-in-Law Dee Perry was getting ready to add to the John Perry family.

She said “Florida can wait.”

Only after William “Wyatt” Perry arrived on December 29, 1993, could the wheels start turning.

The visit every parent fears

John said that when he looked out the door and saw the coroner standing there that it was going to be bad news. Wyatt had been killed in the pre-dawn hours in a car crash. He was 26.

Wyatt’s obituary

Perry family members who have served in the armed forces

William Wyatt Perry of Cape Girardeau died Monday, March 16. He was 26. Wyatt was born in Cape Girardeau on December 29, 1993. He was raised in Jackson and graduated from Jackson High School. He proudly served in the United States Marine Corps where he received an honorable discharge.

Wyatt chilling in Florida June 11, 2009

Wyatt was the baby of the family and with that came the privilege of having many nicknames. He was lovingly known as Wyatt Earp, Gah-wy, Prince Harry and Bjorn Ironsides. Though a man of many names, be was also a man of few words. He was kind, compassionate and had an amazing smile and laugh.

Wyatt with his Dad, John, 6/24/2009

He was serious and silly, and kids adored him. He was always the “cool” uncle. His joy in life was spending time with his family and riding his Harley. His leading lady was his Australian Shepherd Hot Mess Bess.

Perry family 9/5/2001

Wyatt is lovingly survived by his parents John and Dee Perry, Grandmother Fern (Maw) Douglas, brothers Drew and John David Perry and his sister Laurie (Rocky) Everett, all of Cape Girardeau. He also leaves behind his nieces and nephews Madison and Gavin Perry, Fletcher Everett, Ashlynn Perry as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins. He wi1l be greatly missed by all.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents D.L.(Paw) Douglas Jr., William G. Perry and Lucille Perry.

Memorial visitation will be held Saturday, March 21 at 11 :00 AM until service time at McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson.

Memorial service will follow at the funeral home at 1:00 pm.

In memory of Wyatt and in lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to VFW Post 3838. 1049 N. Kingshighway Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701.

Remembering Wyatt

We were usually 1,100 miles away from Cape, but we still managed to snap a lot of photos of young Wyatt. Click on any photo in the gallery to make it larger, then use the arrows on the left and right side to move to other photos.

John Perry Heads Out to Sea

John Sharpening Knives WPB Quilt Show 03-08-2013Brother-in-law John Perry was down to sharpen scissors and knives at a quilt show ramrodded by Friend Jan. We kept him busy installing vinyl siding on the house and doing other odd jobs that we save up through the year.

It turned out to be less traumatic than 2010.

Last year he had to scurry home because a tornado that went through Puxico, Mo., hit some of his wife’s family’s homes.

Deserved fishing trip

John Perry fishing trip 03-15-2013_263After doing all that work, he deserved to take some time off to stalk the wily fish. He and Son Wyatt had a blast in 2009 when they went off on a seafaring jaunt.

On a 2002 trip, Son Drew made such an impression on his fishing boat captain that the man sent him a copy of  The Old Man and the Sea.

He had hooked a dolphin that was at least 60-80 pounds, one of the largest the captain had seen that year. He fought the fish from 6 p.m. until well after 8:30 when it made a run under the boat and was able to cut the line on the motors.

Captain Neal Rawls of The Riggins Too wrote, “Though the fish got away, I hope when you think back on that fight you see it as the success I do… I’ll always remember how your family all fought that fish together. You held the rod and fought the fish while your father pointed out the direction it was running and your mother held the spotlight….

“You are a lucky man to have a family that sticks together and without hesitation faces up to challenges together. As time goes on, if you ever feel life has thrown you a curve ball, remember that fish, and that with your parents’ help, you can tackle anything.

Looking for a boat

We put out the word that we were looking for somebody who wanted to take a boat out. Son Matt hooked up with one of Son Adam’s buddies we always dubbed “My Friend Jon” because that’s the way Adam always referred to him. Jon Pauley’s brother-in-law Matt Douglass (I THINK there is a double S at the end) was available to head out Friday morning.

“Morning” to a fisherperson means middle of the night to me, so I was content to let Wife Lila take him down to Boynton for his adventure. The alarms went off at 5:15. John and Matt were at the boat at 6:10, and out the Boynton Inlet by 7ish.

Started getting hits within 10 minutes

John Perry fishing trip 03-15-2013_265They caught the first fish within about 10 minutes of clearing the breakers, John said, “and for the next three hours we hammered them hard.” They were so busy hauling in fish (and letting a few of the Big Ones get away) that they barely had time to take a tiny nibble at the sandwiches and my Cajun trail mix road food they took with them.

New Jersey in three days

John Perry Fishing 03-15-2003_4336We expected John to call for pickup by 11ish, but that deadline came and went. Then noon, then 1 o’clock.

I warned John’s Wife Dee that the lack or arrival could be caused by several things.

  • They were catching so many fish they didn’t want to stop.
  • They weren’t catching any fish and didn’t want to admit it.
  • Their engines had failed and they were on a Gulf Stream expressway to New Jersey, where they should wash up in about three days. “If they didn’t catch anything, there’s a good chance only one of them will make it to New Jersey: cannibalism usually starts off the coast of North Carolina,” I posited.

A good day for John and Matt

John Perry - Matt Douglass 03-15-2013_4335The answer was behind Door Number One. They hauled them in until “it was like someone threw a switch and they quit biting.”

The duo scored seven dolphin (not the Flipper variety) and 3 wahoo. At least that many got away, John said.

The men cleaned their catch and the boat, then brought home the fish filets in coolers. Neighbor Jacqie fired up the grill and worked food magic. It was a good day for all but the fish.

Need anything sharpened?

John Perry business card comboJohn and his sharpening equipment will be down here in West Palm Beach until March 19 if you need anything touched up. If you’re in Missouri, he’ll be back in your neck of the woods after that.

 

 

 

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