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.”

Brookside War Memorial

Brookside War Memorial 10-11-2014On one of my trips to Wib’s BBQ, I finally stopped to visit the Brookside Park Memorial to Veterans of All Wars, sponsored by the Jackson Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10495 and the American Legion and their auxiliaries.

If I had been thinking, I’d have queued this up to run on December 7 to remember Pearl Harbor.

In a way, though, it is fitting that it didn’t run on that date. Since we have men and women in harms way all over the world every day, it’s appropriate not to pick a “special” day to recognize them and their families. We should remember them EVERY day.

I’ll break the photos into galleries by conflict. Click on the photos to make them larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the images.

I have to admit I’m a little confused at how the names were selected. I tried to cross reference some with The Missourian’s book, Heartland Heroes – A Tribute to Korean and Vietnam Veterans, and found names on the memorial wall that weren’t in the book and vice versa.

Approach to memorial

Revolutionary through Civil War

World War I

Brookside War Memorial 10-11-2014

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

Desert Storm

Brookside War Memorial 10-11-2014

Active Service

 Panorama of Memorial Wall

Brookside War Memorial 10-11-2014This is a panorama created from six individual frames merged into one image by Photoshop. A couple of frames didn’t match up exactly, but it will give you a feeling for the overall scope of the memorial.

Let’s hope it doesn’t need to be expanded any time soon.

Roland G. Busch, Korean POW

Ken Steinhoff Trinity Lutheran School 1st Grade Scrapbook 1953I was looking at a copy of my first grade scrapbook when the entry for September 22, 1953, caused me to scratch my head. The last sentence said, “Mother and [I] went to the parade for Roland Bushe POW. They took so long in getting ready that I went to sleep in the car.”

It took a little while to track the story down because the Korean prisoner of war was actually Lt. Roland G. Busch.

You can read the whole Missourian story here (some of the microfilm didn’t copy cleanly). In part, it said, “An estimated 3,000 persons gave Roland G. Busch, Jr., a hero’s welcome Tuesday night as the young Navy flyer returned home after 16 months in a Communist prisoner of war camp in Korea. Busch, three times decorated, presumed dead, and newly promoted to lieutenant junior grade, told a crowd in Courthouse Park he just wanted to see some State College Indian football games.

The photo caption said that Lt. Busch was greeted by Mayor Manning P. Greer and the flyer’s family: his mother; Mrs. R.G. Busch, his sisters, Mrs. Gene Olson and Miss Della Lee Busch; his brother, Elwin, and his father, R.G. Busch.The family stopped in Columbia to visit the veteran’s youngest sister, Miss Jacqueline  Busch, a student at University of Missouri.

Pilot dies in crash

A February 18, 1961, Missourian article added details about the flyer’s Korean saga, but also carried the sad news that he had been killed in a plane crash off the coast of California. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.G. Busch, 309 South Spanish, were told that his plane collided with the water and neither it nor his body were recovered.

Subject of wartime mystery

“During the Korean Wat, Lt. Busch was the object of one of wartime’s mysteries that was not cleared up until he was finally released from a P.O.W. camp.

“His parents, on May 28, 1952, were notified by the Navy he had lost his life the previous day when his plane crashed into a Korean mountainside. Yet they talked with him only a few days before in a Tokyo hospital and he said he would not be going back into combat because of burns suffered when an anti-aircraft incendiary burst in his plane’s cockpit. It subsequently developed that Lt. Busch had been dismissed from the Tokyo Hospital and returned to his carrier, The Valley Forge, but not on combat flight duty. The ship was to have returned to the States in just a few days on rotation and he was to have come back.

“But in the meantime, his shipboard roommate, now Lt. Cmdr. H..E. Sterrett, Jr., who married one of Lt. Busch’s sisters, was shot down. Lt. Busch asked for flight assignment to join search parties. It was while he was on this mission that his plane was shot down.

“He remained a prisoner of war for 17 months.”

 Here’s my “sailer hat”

Ken Steinhoff Trinity Lutheran School 1st Grade Scrapbook 1953Since it was mentioned above, I guess I should include a photo of me sporting my “sailer hat.”

Side note: Mother has been out in Austin visiting her Granddaughter Kim’s family. She called me from the airport in Austin. “I was sitting here waiting for my flight to be called when a man walked up and asked if I was Mrs. Steinhoff. When I said I was, he said he recognized my photo from the blog.”

She didn’t get his name. They should quit hanging photos of the Most Wanted on post office walls. I think we can do better publishing them here.